The story, imparted by the Washington Post, that John Bolton, President George W. Bush’s ambassador to the United Nations, was denied the office of the secretary of State because of his formidable mustache struck many as bizarre, to say the least. Bolton tweeted recently, “I appreciate the grooming advice from the totally unbiased mainstream media, but I will not be shaving my #mustache.”

Bolton was controversial during the second Bush administration because he was considered a too hard line a Reaganite, especially where Russia was concerned, for the Democrats to feel easy with.

The early 21st Century was a time when the left thought that opposition to Russia was considered dangerous, a view that persisted as late as 2012 when President Barack Obama mocked Mitt Romney for suggesting that Russia was a threat. Fast forward four years and the Democrats are yelping like put upon cold warriors thanks to the hacking scandal blamed on Russian Intelligence.

Bolton was likely passed over for secretary of state because he is too hard line against Russia to suit President Elect Donald Trump.

Trump, who thinks he can make nice with Russian President Vladimir Putin to make him an ally. His choice for secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, is said to be a friend of Putin, hence the sort of person needed to coax the Russian strongman from being a nuisance to being an asset for American foreign policy.

Bolton still has a chance to be a deputy secretary, either at State or Defense. That way he will be well positioned to rise higher when, inevitably, Putin spurns Trump’s advances and proves that he will not be put off with blandishments.

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Donald Trump

Then the incoming president is going to need a hardliner who understands Russia’s role as an antagonist to the United States.

In the meantime, Bolton shows his moral fiber by not agreeing to shave his facial hair. His mustache, as much as his policy preferences, make him stand out. As for the slander that he doesn’t know how to position himself, it should be pointed out that Bolton has taken up residency on Fox News.

If he is not presenting himself, then the phrase has no meaning.

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