To “Make America Great Again” requires stable leadership on national security…..so far we have nothing even resembling stability on the NSC.
There are two factions within the Oval Office…..the stability faction and the wannabes….chief among the waanabes is Bannon while he does not have a security clearance any more he does have something better….the ear of Trump.
All fingers are pointing to Bannon when the subject of White House dysfunction is mentioned….
New White House chief of staff John Kelly certainly has his fair share of challenges ahead of him—and one of them might be mitigating a coordinated alt-right attack against President Trump’s national security adviser. The Wall Street Journal editorial board weighs in on what appears to be a faceoff between HR McMaster, a well-regarded Army general who took over for Michael Flynn, and Trump aide Steve Bannon, whose policy preferences are in stark contrast to McMaster’s. The national security adviser wants a more fleshed-out strategy in Afghanistan (including with more troops), is wary of any overtures from Russian President Vladimir Putin, and advises caution on haphazardly turning away from the Iran nuclear deal.
All of which has apparently incited the ire of Bannon’s allies outside of the White House, including those in the ultra-conservative media such as Breitbart, which Bannon used to oversee. The Journal acknowledges that Trump has publicly stood by McMaster, but adds that McMaster maybe isn’t the one the president should be turning a critical eye toward. Bannon “has been a White House survivor, but his warring habits have also been responsible for much of the White House dysfunction,” the editors write. They note that Trump may fear the repercussions of getting rid of Bannon, “but if his minions continue to vilify [Bannon’s] colleagues inside the White House, how can anyone tell the difference?” Editorial appears here.
The question now is can the generals…McMasters, Kelly and Mattis save us from a nat sec meltdown?
There was a palpable sigh of relief when General John Kelly was selected as White House chief of staff and when National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster finally began purging the nationalist Pepe-fanboy Bannonites from the NSC. Combined with the presence of SECDEF Jim Mattis, Nikki Haley’s star turn at the UN, and a more assertive Rex Tillerson, there was almost a sense that the Axis of Adults would help mitigate the crazy. When news broke that North Korea was close to mounting a miniaturized warhead on an ICBM capable of reaching U.S. territory, there was a hope that the experienced military team around Trump would turn this crisis into a foreign policy win.
Then came “fire and fury.”
Never thought I would put my confidence in generals over career diplomats.
Then there is a “deputy assistant secretary” and most of us foreign policy geeks still cannot figure on what this person does beyond an offensive mouth. But the Rolling Stone tried…..
The Breitbart News headline, back in November 2014, rang like a five-alarm fire bell: MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD OVERRUNS NATIONAL CATHEDRAL IN DC. Its author, Breitbart’s national-security editor, was Dr. Sebastian L. v. Gorka, who currently occupies a top White House post as “deputy assistant” to President Donald Trump. And like just about anything Gorka has said or written, the Breitbart headline was wrong in every way. It wasn’t the Muslim Brotherhood at all, and no one overran anything. Despite his characteristic hyperventilation, the event in question was a dignified, interfaith prayer service organized jointly by the leaders of Washington National Cathedral and five mainstream Muslim organizations seeking to unite “voices of moderation.”
Like I said…in the hands of idiots.