John Bolton benched by Trump — National Security Advisor sidelined on Afghanistan
John Bolton appears on CNN (screen grab)

National Security Advisor John Bolton is facing questions about how long he will remain in the administration after being sidelined by President Donald Trump.

"As the president’s top aides prepared for a high-stakes meeting on the future of Afghanistan earlier this month, one senior official was not on the original invite list: national security adviser John Bolton," The Washington Post reported Friday. "The attendance of the top security aide would normally be critical, but the omission was no mistake, senior U.S. officials said. Bolton, who has long advocated an expansive military presence around the world, has become a staunch internal foe of an emerging peace deal aimed at ending America’s longest war, the officials said."

Bolton, a leading neoconservative, has sought to continue the war in Afghanistan, which has been being going on for almost 18 years.

"His opposition to the diplomatic effort in Afghanistan has irritated President Trump, these officials said, and led aides to leave the National Security Council out of sensitive discussions about the agreement," the newspaper noted.

Irritating Trump has raised questions about how long Bolton will last.

"The sidelining of Bolton has raised questions about his influence in an administration that is seeking a troop withdrawal from Afghanistan as well as an ambitious nuclear deal with North Korea and potential engagement with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. Bolton, U.S. officials said, stands in opposition to those efforts but he does so increasingly from the periphery," The Post reported. "At the zenith of his influence, Bolton enabled the president to act on his most aggressive instincts and outmaneuvered other Cabinet officials with less experience in the interagency process. But his tough management style and bellicose worldview have frayed relations with some colleagues."

Tom Wright of the Brookings Institution was shocked by the developments.

“I can’t think of another example where a national security adviser was sidelined like this,” Wright said. “One thing that makes this different from normal bureaucratic infighting is that Bolton has pitted himself against a policy the president clearly supports.”

Bolton has lost Trust within the administration.

"Bolton’s isolation on Afghanistan became particularly apparent this month when the president’s top officials descended on Trump's New Jersey golf resort to discuss the peace deal that would be presented to Afghan and Taliban officials in Kabul and Doha, U.S. officials said," The Post noted. "Bolton was not originally invited out of concern that his team would oppose the agenda and leak the details later, several officials said."

“His team has a reputation for losing and leaking,” a senion administration official explained.