Trump makes a great choice and we’re safer
February 20, 2017 1 Comment
Seriously! Well, you know what they say about broken clocks. I’ve known about Trump’s choice to be National Security Adviser, HR McMaster, since this terrific This American Life episode ten years ago.
Here’s Andrew Exum in the Atlantic:
Let me be as clear as I can be: The president’s selection of H.R. McMaster to be his new national security advisor is unambiguously good news. The United States, and the world, are safer for his decision.
McMaster is one of the most talented officers the U.S. Army has ever produced. That sounds like hyperbole but isn’t. In the Gulf War, he led an armored cavalry troop. At the Battle of 73 Easting—a battle much studied since—his 12 tanks destroyed 28 Iraqi tanks, 16 armored personnel carriers, and 30 trucks. In 23 minutes.
In the next Iraq war, he led a brigade in 2005 and was among the first U.S. commanders to think differently about the conflict and employ counterinsurgency tactics to pacify Tal Afar—one of the most wickedly complex cities in Iraq. He excelled at two different echelons of command in two very different wars.
In between, he earned his Ph.D. in history and wrote a best-selling book, Dereliction of Duty. With great foresight, I neglected to read it until three months ago, so the book remains fresh in my memory today. One thing that stands out in the book is the way in which McMaster criticized the poorly disciplined national security decision-making process in the Kennedy and Johnson administrations, and especially the way in which the Kennedy administration made national-security decisions by a small group of confidants without a robust process to serve the president.
When you compare McMaster to the human disaster that was Michael Flynn, this is like upgrading from a Yugo to top-of-the line Mercedes Benz. For a guy as smart and thoughtful as McMaster, I can only assume he recognizes the danger Trump presents and recognizes that he (McMaster) can therefore potentially do some great good in advising him on security policy. The biggest concern is whether Trump will be smart enough to take that advice. There, I have my doubts.