Moon of Alabama — Feb 22, 2017
President Trump’s first National Security Advisor Mike Flynn got kicked out of office for talking with Russian officials. Such talks were completely inline with Trump’s declared policies of détente with Russia. (I agree that Flynn should have never gotten the NSA job. But the reasons for that have nothing to do with his Russian connections.)
Allegedly Flynn did not fully inform Vice-President Pence about his talk with the Russian ambassador. But that can not be a serious reason. The talks were rather informal, they were not transcribed. The first call is said to have reached Flynn on vacation in the Dominican Republic. Why would a Vice-President need to know each and every word of it?
With Flynn out, the war-on-Russia hawks, that is about everyone of the “serious people” in Washington DC, had the second most important person out of the way that would probably hinder their plans.
They replaced him with a militaristic anti-Russian hawk:
In a 2016 speech to the Virginia Military Institute, McMaster stressed the need for the US to have “strategic vision” in its fight against “hostile revisionist powers” — such as Russia, China, North Korea, and Iran — that “annex territory, intimidate our allies, develop nuclear weapons, and use proxies under the cover of modernized conventional militaries.”
General McMaster, the new National Security Advisor, gets sold as a somewhat rebellious, scholar-warrior wunderkind. When the now disgraced former General Petraeus came into sight he was sold with the same marketing profile.
Petraeus was McMaster’s boss. McMaster is partially his creature:
He was passed over for brigadier general twice, until then-Gen. David Petraeus personally flew back to Washington, D.C., from Iraq to chair the Army’s promotion board in 2008.
When Petraeus took over in the war on Afghanistan he selected McMaster as his staff leader for strategy,
McMaster’s best known book is “Dereliction of Duty” about the way the U.S. involved itself into the Vietnam War. McMaster criticizes the Generals of that time for not having resisted then President Johnson’s policies.
He is the main author of an Army study on how to militarily counter Russia. McMaster is likely to “resist” when President Trump orders him to pursue better relations with Moscow.
Trump has now been boxed in by hawkish, anti-Russian military in his cabinet and by a hawkish Vice-President. The only ally he still may have in the White House is his consigliere Steve Bannon. The next onslaught of the “serious people” is against Bennon and especially against his role in the NSC. It will only recede when he is fired.
It seems to me that Trump has been rolled with the attacks on Flynn and the insertion of McMaster into his inner circle. I wonder if he, and Bannon, recognize the same problematic development and have a strategy against it.