According to SCMP, two former senior U.S. officials told the outlet that Bolton is willing to risk a military conflict with China to achieve U.S. President Donald Trump’s goals for the United States. From SCMP:
“John Bolton, who is fond of quoting the ancient Roman battle philosophy, ‘If you want peace, prepare for war,’ would use military force to coerce compliance from China – which an increasingly hawkish White House has painted as a competitor, if not an adversary, the former officials who worked with Bolton said in interviews.”
Bolton, who commenced his new role on Monday, coincidentally in tandem with Donald Trump’s renewed hawkish stance on the Syrian conflict, is allegedly also seeking to challenge Beijing over its “one China” policy on Taiwan, a move that is sure to irk China amid the growing U.S.-China trade dispute.
According to the Economist, there is speculation that Bolton may end up visiting Taiwan in June when the new American Institute on the island is scheduled to open. The institute will serve as a medium to advance U.S. interests in Taiwan without requiring formal ties between the two countries.
Surprisingly, there are indications that Donald Trump is opposed to the idea of hostilities with another nation (despite the new national security policy that paints Russia and China as enemies of the United States). This opposition may lead to a disruptive relationship between Bolton and Trump in the future.
SCMP notes that Bolton’s extremely militaristic views will ultimately be subject to Trump’s final decision. According to the anonymous officials, if the president were to reject his security adviser’s recommendations, Bolton would be “utterly powerless.”
Any decision to reckon with China independently will always have to take into account America’s other major Cold War foe, Russia. This is important because it comes at a time where the U.S. is looking to open up fronts to attack both Russia and China, particularly with this week’s talks of bombing the Syrian government, Russia’s key ally. China’s new defense minister has reportedly said that the U.S. should take notice of China’s support of Russia and that China will support Russia against the United States.
“I am visiting Russia as a new defense minister of China to show the world a high level of development of our bilateral relations and firm determination of our armed forces to strengthen strategic cooperation,” Gen. Wei Fenghe reportedly said at a meeting with Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shogiu.
“Second, to support the Russian side in organizing the Moscow International Security Conference. The Chinese side has come to show Americans the close ties between the armed forces of China and Russia, especially in this situation. We’ve come to support you,” Wei added. “The Chinese side is ready to express with the Russian side our common concerns and common position on important international problems at international venues, as well.”
In early April, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi was also quoted as saying that relations between Russia and China were at “the best level in history.”