A year ago, an article by Lawrence Kaplan in The New Republic profiled Bolton, calling him a "walking repudiation of neoconservatism." Here's some excerpts:
Within the first year after his State Department appointment,
he had engineered America's withdrawal from the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty, established a harder line against North Korea and Iran, scuttled a draft protocol on enforcing the Biological Weapons Convention, waged a successful campaign to oust the chief of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, and set the stage for America's abandonment of the International Criminal Court (ICC).
What makes him so capable?
The secret to Bolton's record is that, in a foreign policy team divided roughly between ideologues with no managerial skills and managerial types with no ideas, Bolton is that rare commodity: an operator and an ideologue.
There's nothing "neo" about him:
Rather than echoes of Daniel Patrick Moynihan, one hears from Bolton echoes of the postwar conservatism of the early National Review, of Barry Goldwater (who Bolton campaigned for), of Jesse Helms--who once boasted, "John Bolton is the kind of man with whom I would stand at Armageddon."
What separates Bolton from the neocons is that he doesn't share their idealism:
"I am pro-American," Bolton has said. "That means defending American interests as vigorously as possible and seeing yourself as an advocate for the U.S. rather than as a guardian of the world itself." Like his neoconservative counterparts at the Pentagon, he believes that, absent the robust assertion of U.S. power, a fundamentally Hobbesian international scene will erode. Unlike them, he does not believe the spread of American ideals can ameliorate this condition.