National Security Adviser Michael Flynn is in the hot seat. But the real target is President Trump and his foreign policy. Donald Trump was elected as a change agent by Americans unhappy with the trajectory of the country and with the cozy concord that exists between political adversaries in a Washington where the politicians find more in common with each other than with the American people. Donald Trump ran on a foreign policy platform that explicitly repudiated the disastrous bipartisan consensus of moral imperialism and international “busybodyism” that has prevailed for the last quarter century and that has cost the country dearly in blood and treasure.
Predictably, the defenders of the old regime are fighting a vicious rearguard action to undermine and discredit President Trump and the policies he represents. It is a shadow war waged with off the record leaks to media sources eager to damage the new administration and to staff the national security infrastructure with individuals hostile to Trump’s America First policies.
The allegations against Flynn arising from his conversation with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak in late December amount to nothing. But for D.C. insiders, establishment media types, and Progressive Left activists (but I repeat myself) who still have not accepted the reality of a Trump presidency, Flynn’s communication with Russians—any Russians!—represent the apotheosis of the Russian hacking theory they use to explain why the unlikeable and demonstrably corrupt Hillary Clinton lost the election. The narrative goes like this: Trump won the election because of Russian hacking (unproven but accepted as a self-evident truth) therefore any communications with Trump appointees amounts either to payback for the election or an example of nefarious Russian influence on the government.
This is, of course, ridiculous. But for those prone to confirmation bias—the tendency to seek out or interpret information to support one’s preconceived conclusions—the Flynn-Kislyak conversation was catnip. The obvious explanation for the communication—that the incoming National Security Advisor would have good reason to communicate with the Russian Ambassador as a part of his job—seems to have escaped anti-Trump observers. More likely the accusations an example of more Leftist projection. Recall that in 1984 Senator Ted Kennedy approached the Soviet government about aid in defeating Ronald Reagan’s reelection. He offered them diplomatic and arms control concessions if they would help install Walter Mondale in the White House. Not surprisingly, Kennedy gets a pass if not a conspiratorial wink of assent from the guardians of democracy in the press. Naturally, they assume all partisans work with foreign governments to achieve their electoral aims.
The central question framed in the media has been whether or not Flynn discussed sanctions with Kislyak. And he may have practical problems with his boss if it is proven that he misled the Vice President about the conversation with Kislyak. But the central questions about Flynn’s discussion with Kislyak are asked in a way that implies such a discussion amounts to prima facie evidence of wrongdoing. But that’s not true. There is nothing untoward about the nominee for National Security Adviser communicating with foreign officials during the transition. The argument is that Flynn was exercising due diligence in preparation for assuming the top national security job in the White House
Unanswered is this: What would be wrong with Flynn discussion sanctions with Kislyak? What law could he have broken? Over the weekend the know-nothing press, eager to pound General Flynn with any rhetorical weapon at hand, made breathless references to potential violations of the Logan Act—a 1799 law that prohibits American citizens from negotiating with foreign powers without authorization. No one has ever been convicted under the Act and Flynn most certainly did not violate it. But that wasn’t the point of the allegation and it’s not the point of the coordinated attack on Flynn. This is the politics of personal destruction as practiced by the Left since the Clinton ascendancy in 1992. It’s a scorch the earth, burn the huts and salt the fields strategy used to intimidate and silence adversaries: use an allegation or smear no matter how far-fetched or unfounded in order to gain a tactical advantage in the news cycle. Wash, rinse, repeat. And if you string together enough little wins maybe you get a major victory.
In this case, representatives of the foreign policy establishment of both parties are unified against President Trump and they are focused on taking out General Flynn. The same people who brought us the failed wars for democracy in Iraq and Afghanistan, the implosion of Libya, the Syrian Civil War, the rise of ISIS, and the concomitant international refugee crisis want Flynn’s scalp so they can reassert some control. General Michael Flynn is a voice for change in American foreign policy—a change that the American people voted for when they elected Donald Trump. The campaign of half-baked allegations and innuendo is the latest battle in the Washington establishment’s insurgency against the President. By seeking to plunge the National Security Council into chaos for partisan political gain with false attacks on Flynn undermines our national security. Worse, it represents an attempt at a palace coup to overturn the results of the last election and that cannot be allowed to succeed.