This morning, Paddy Power shared the above tweet, encouraging people to use the bookmaker to bet on who the next Secretary of State will be. As I have previously discussed, Paddy Power offers inferior odds to the competition, and I recommend viewing odds and/or placing wagers at Betfair’s exchange).
Though Betfair is not offering contracts on the next Secretary of State, PredictIt, a US-legal alternative, is offering contracts on the outcome. As seen below, with a total possible value of a full dollar if you are correct, most candidates offered by Paddy Power will pay out much better on PredictIt, with the notable exceptions of Rudy Giuliani and John Bolton.
Unfortunately, if you trust the deeper pockets of Paddy Power and the odds listed there, the favorites (Romney, Petraeus, Bolton, and Corker) are all neocon warmongers who should not be representing the United States in the role of top diplomat. Trump was elected in part because he opposed endless wars and warmongering; why should the nation’s representative on the world stage be someone who promotes more military action?
In particular, John Bolton, who was the US Ambassador to the UN during the George W. Bush administration, is a known warmonger who supported the war in Iraq, as well as many other prior military campaigns. Rand Paul, whose anti-war credentials are exemplary, stated the following in regards to Bolton in a recent OP-ED for Rare News:
Bolton is a longtime member of the failed Washington elite that Trump vowed to oppose, hell-bent on repeating virtually every foreign policy mistake the U.S. has made in the last 15 years — particularly those Trump promised to avoid as president.
John Bolton more often stood with Hillary Clinton and against what Donald Trump has advised.
Bolton was one of the loudest advocates of overthrowing Saddam Hussein and still stupefyingly insists it was the right call 13 years later. “I still think the decision to overthrow Saddam was correct,” Bolton said just last year.
Trump, rightly, believes that decision was a colossal mistake that destabilized the region. “Iraq used to be no terrorists,” Trump said in 2015. “(N)ow it’s the Harvard of terrorism.”
“If you look at Iraq from years ago, I’m not saying he was a nice guy, he was a horrible guy,” Trump said of Saddam Hussein, “but it was a lot better than it is right now.”
Trump has said U.S. intervention in Iraq in 2003 “helped to throw the region into chaos and gave ISIS the space it needs to grow and prosper.” In contrast, Bolton has said explicitly that he wants to repeat Iraq-style regime change in Syrian and Iran.
Trump has blamed George W. Bush, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton for helping to create ISIS — but should add John Bolton to that list, who essentially agreed with all three on our regime change debacles.
In 2011, Bolton bashed Obama “for his refusal to directly target Gaddafi” and declared, “there is a strategic interest in toppling Gaddafi… But Obama missed it.” In fact, Obama actually took Bolton’s advice and bombed the Libyan dictator into the next world. Secretary of State Clinton bragged, “We came, we saw, he died.”
Clearly, he is not what the voters want in our next SoS. We must hope the odds are incorrect on him, like they were on Hillary’s odds to be our next President.
Earlier this week, I wrote about why David Petraeus should not be considered for the SoS position. Though I focused on his leaks of classified information to his mistress and his stance on gun control, he too is a neocon warmonger. One of my readers shared the following article, and it does a great job of demonstrating why Petraeus is indeed not the right choice:
“After America comes North America,” Petraeus said confidently in answering the question about what comes after the United States, the theme of the panel discussion. “Are we on the threshold of the North American decade, question mark? I threw that away — threw away the question mark — and boldly proclaimed the coming North American decade, says the title now.” He also boasted about how the three economies have been put “together” over the last 20 years as part of the “implementation” of the North American Free Trade Act.
He demanded “immigration reform,” for example, perhaps linked to what he termed the “unique” demographics of the three NAFTA countries. Turning to Iraq and the escalating crisis there, Petraeus also cautioned against air strikes without a more coherent strategy. “The United States cannot be the air force for the Shia militias,” he said. Separately, he claimed that Washington, D.C., politics was the biggest threat to U.S. national security.
Again, he is not what the voters want in our next SoS. And again, we must hope the odds are incorrect on his chances of getting the job.
Finally, Mitt Romney has been in opposition to Trump since he began his campaign. Importantly, when he was running for President in 2012, he also had a consortium of neocons around him, and ran on a platform of endless wars and warmongering, which the National Interest detailed at the time:
Romney’s comments were themselves in response to President Obama’s mic gaffe in Seoul when he indicated to Dmitri Medvedev that he needed a breathing spell on the issue of missile defense in Europe, one that should last until after the conclusion of the American election.
Romney, by contrast, appears to be intent on depicting Obama as a wimp and seeking out a “No. 1” foe, which can evidently be Iran or China or Russia, depending on Romney’s mood that week. But it won’t work. If he clings to neoconservatism, Romney won’t doom America’s adversaries but his own campaign.
Romney ran on a pro-war platform in 2012, and campaigned extensively against Trump this past election; how can Trump trust him to make the right decisions on his behalf as Secretary of State? We must really hope the odds are incorrect on him, because he is currently the favorite to be the next SoS, and does not belong in a Trump administration at all.
So, who do I think are better choices? Dana Rohrabacher is perhaps my personal favorite, and Tulsi Gabbard is another good choice. I’m not the biggest fan of Giuliani as SoS, but he is still a much better option than the warmongers listed above.
Finally, there is something else in play to consider. Perhaps Trump is going to give Romney a role in his administration for the purpose of marginalizing his political influence. Trump is a sharp guy, and knows how best to position his enemies so that they cannot get the best of him.
Still, given the importance of the position of Secretary of State, arguably the most important position in any President’s cabinet, this role must not go to Romney. As Trump demonstrated at his recent dinner discussion with Romney, he is holding all the cards here. He must be careful not to give some of his aces to Romney, and if he is going to nominate him for a cabinet position, he must choose one which marginalizes his influence as much as possible.