John Bolton, President Donald Trump's third national security advisor in just over a year, started his new job Monday and already he has his plate full of crises and global tensions to deal with. The most pressing is Syria, given the developments over the weekend.
Since Bolton accepted the job two weeks ago to replace H.R. McMaster, the Trump administration has ratcheted up its already extensive array of national security challenges, including a diplomatic row with Russia, a brewing trade war with China, ongoing negotiations to set up nuclear talks with North Korea, and the president's order to send National Guard troops to the U.S. border with Mexico.
Over the weekend, Trump helped push Syria back to the forefront of U.S. foreign policy debates. In a tweet, he hinted at retaliating against a deadly chemical weapons attack believed to be carried out by supporters of Syrian President Bashar Assad, warning of a "big price" to pay.
In the tweet, Trump also singled out Russian President Vladimir Putin for backing the Assad regime. The remark was especially significant since, despite repeated accusations of malfeasance against the Russian leader, Trump has often refrained from directly and publicly criticizing Putin.