< Distinguished speaker series

John Bolton

Former National Security Advisor

“Threats Facing the United States”

DATE: September 7, 2022 6:00 pm

Event information


John Bolton has been called the Republican Party’s “most militant foreign policy thinker” and “an advocate of aggressive force who ridicules anyone who disagrees.”  But that description in a New Yorker profile pales compared against the view of the two countries where he’d like to see regime change. A North Korean spokesman called him “human scum” and “a bloodsucker.” As for Iran, as you know from the legal filing, a member of the Revolutionary Guard has just put a $300,000 price on his head.

He’s certainly a hawk, who helped convince Trump to disavow Obama’s nuclear limitation agreement with Iran and an outspoken opponent of the International Criminal Court.

But in the 17 months he served as Donald Trump’s national Security Advisor, the third of four, by the way, critics say he performed heroically. Graeme Wood in the Atlantic described him as the “brakeman trying to keep Trump from conducting his train straight off a half-built bridge.” His was “the most thankless job in Trumpworld.”

Here’s how it worked: “Trumps says something, Bolton says he agrees, then Bolton reinterprets Trump to mean the opposite of what he said and pushes to implement his reinterpretation, presumably with Trump’s blessing.”

Bolton, says Wood, “sometimes sounds less like a national security adviser than a lawyer clawing back the utterances of an uncontrollable client.”

After leaving the White House, Bolton contributed some vital information to the first impeachment, though he didn’t tell all until he wrote his best-selling memoir, The Room Where it Happened.

John Bolton will speak to the Baltimore Council Sept 7 at the Maryland Club. This is his third appearance before the Council, and the two earlier ones in 1999 and 2006 are worth looking up on our YouTube channel.

As many of you know, John Bolton is a Baltimore native and a graduate of the McDonogh School. He graduated Yale Summa Cum Laude and received his J.D. from Yale Law School. He’s practiced law in Washington practically ever since, interspersed with public service under every Republican president since Ronald Reagan.  He was General Counsel at the Agency for International Development from 1980-82, Assistant Administrator at USAID 1982-83; Assistant Attorney General 1985-19889, Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs 1989-1993, Undersecretary of State for Arms control and International Security 2001-2005.  President George W. Bush named him U.N. Ambassador in 2005, an interim appointment, where he served 16 months.

We are pleased and honored to welcome Ambassador John R. Bolton back to the Baltimore Council.