On Tuesday morning, John Bolton, US Security Secretary Donald Trump's security adviser, was still in a conference with senior White House security officials - as if nothing had happened.
Washington has been discussing its possible resignation for weeks, but Bolton has continued to serve by regulation. Finally, through Twitter, he learned that his expulsion is official. "I informed John Bolton last night that his White House services are no longer needed," Trump wrote. Shortly thereafter, Bolton packed his things (read here what is behind Bolton's departure).
Bolton's come is not surprising. The relationship between him and Trump had been shattered for a long time. Although both share an American-centric view of the world, they derive different conclusions from it: Bolton is a hawk who considers military intervention as a tried and tested political means. Trump, on the other hand, wants to keep the US out of war, if possible.
Surprising is at best the "brutal suddenness" ("New York Times"), with which Trump has made the break. Following Michael Flynn and HR McMaster, Bolton is already the third security adviser to have been worn out by the US president during his term in office. It is a fluctuation, as they did not exist in the White House (photo gallery: The prominent departures of the Trump government).
Carlos Barria / REUTERS
The debate on Bolton's successor has already begun in the American media. Inter alia, Richard Grenell, US ambassador to Berlin, is in discussion. Staffing is likely to impact US security policy in countries around the world.
Afghanistan - everything at the beginning
Since Bolton took up his post as a security adviser 17 months ago, he was always with his boss together. The issue that ultimately escalated the dispute may have been Afghanistan.
Trump has promised voters to withdraw US troops from Afghanistan. His government has been negotiating with the Taliban for months. Recently it was said that the talks were close to completion.
Last weekend, Trump wanted to receive Taliban representatives at Presidential Camp David, just days before September 11, the anniversary of the World Trade Center attack. The White House canceled the call in the short term, according to US media allegedly at the urging of Bolton.
For Trump, the reports were doubly annoying: First, his peace efforts with the Taliban are more or less at the beginning. For another thing, it looked like he was being driven by his security adviser.
Iran - signals of approach
In no other policy area were Trump and Bolton so far apart as in the question of how Iran can be prevented from building a nuclear bomb. In no other policy field has the crashed security advisor used so much time and energy. Bolton has spent half his working life convincing US governments of the need for a military strike against Iran.
In July he saw his goal as close as never before. Iranian Revolutionary Guards fired a US spy drone in the Gulf. Trump spoke of a "hostile act". However, he retorted at the last minute. Nevertheless, for weeks it looked as if a new war in the Middle East was just a matter of time.
With Bolton's departure, the American-Iranian relationship could relax a bit. Trump has just signaled his willingness to meet with his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo reiterated that such a meeting could take place on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York at the end of the month.
Trump pursues a strategy of "maximum pressure" on Iran. Under him, the US left the nuclear deal with Iran, which had negotiated its predecessor Barack Obama. Instead, the regime in Tehran should be held, inter alia, by sanctions from the construction of a nuclear bomb. So far this policy has been unsuccessful. There is little to suggest that Trump would get the deal he wants through an abrupt change of direction. At least, however, a further escalation of the conflict with the personnel decision of Tuesday has become less likely.
North Korea - the dictator loses an opponent
One should be especially pleased about Bolton's retreat: North Korea's dictator Kim Jong Un. For while Trump has ennobled Kim through repeated meetings, Bolton has always been a vocal opponent of an approach to Pyongyang. When Trump unexpectedly met Kim at the inter-Korean border in June and then passed as the first incumbent US president, the demarcation line to North Korea, Bolton remained demonstratively far from the appointment.
It is still questionable whether Kim will meet the US in the negotiations on denuclearization. Earlier this week, the regime tested a new missile system - in the presence of Kim.
Venezuela - Bolton's departure strengthens the ruler
The clear loser in Washington's recent recruitment decision is Juan Guaido, opposition leader in Venezuela. For months Guaido tried in vain to overthrow dictator Nicolas Maduro. For a long time Venezuela's opponents of the regime were the US, Bolton was their loudest advocate.
Trump, meanwhile, seems to have lost his interest in the Latin American country. Maduro has consolidated his power. A change of government seems more unlikely than ever with Bolton's departure.