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Bolton’s memoir may be stepping stone to discuss openness in policy making, says expert

As the analyst noted, Bolton’s memoir reinforced the issue of political openness and the establishment simply has to react

MOSCOW, June 26. /TASS/. A book by Trump’s ex-National Security Advisor John Bolton is an important reason to discuss the degree of openness in the process of political decisions. This opinion was conveyed to TASS by Oleg Barabanov, MGIMO professor and Program Director of the Valdai International Discussion Club on Friday.

As the analyst noted, Bolton’s memoir reinforced the issue of political openness and the establishment simply has to react. "John Bolton in this context is hardly calling for open diplomacy and foreign policy decisions. Bolton is unlikely to be ready to make his decision, for instance, on the US withdrawing from a nuclear deal with Iran through open civil consultations. He only talks about closed political decisions post factum on a fresh track. But this was enough to make his publication a global information bomb."

In his opinion, the book by Trump’s ex-advisor becomes good material to discuss the issues of the degree of openness in diplomacy. "The closed nature of politics and diplomacy is one topic for discussion." Another topic inspired by Bolton’s book is "the cynicism of politics and diplomacy."

Rejection of anonymity

The expert noted that the material submitted by Bolton does not represent anything absolutely new as far as the analysis of the White House decision-making process goes. Thus, journalist Bob Woodward in his book Fear: Trump in the White House emphasized the same thing and stressed "the same chaos and unpredictability in Trump’s political kitchen."

"And Bolton, not in specific details, but in his general style and tonality, did not say anything new in comparison with Woodward. But if Woodward built his whole book on quoting unnamed anonymous sources and, accordingly, posed a dilemma for the reader to believe or not to believe in everything written, then Bolton speaks in the first person, and even if he does not possess the merit that would lead one to believe in him, it is necessary to accept his opinions and judgments as direct source, rather than a retelling of anecdotal evidence from anonymous sources," the expert pointed out.

Libertarian irony

The professor thinks that the fact that Bolton’s memoir at the moment of publication immediately ended up freely available on the Internet is particularly nuanced. "There is an ethical irony that Bolton, who revealed the details of many confidential diplomatic negotiations, himself was the victim of "freedom-loving hackers" and experienced the same absolutely libertarian approach to freedom of information that he himself cynically used in relation to others," the expert continued.

"If Bolton makes less money from this endeavor, then this is a significant asymmetric response to his own actions. Libertarian ethics in all their glory. After all, we agree that the destruction of diplomatic confidentiality and the destruction of intellectual property are actually caused by the same phenomenon: the real global demand for freedom of information," the expert concluded.

About Bolton’s memoir

Bolton’s book The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir came out on Tuesday. Earlier, the US Department of Justice sought to block the publication of Bolton’s book by filing a lawsuit. The US government claims that the ex-White House official violated his confidentiality agreement by disclosing state secrets. Trump had picked Bolton as his National Security Advisor in March 2018 and 18 months later, the US president asked him to resign.