McMaster and Mattis Are Rare Assets—Not Deep State Liabilities

By | 2017-06-02T18:30:05+00:00 August 5, 2017|
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There is a larger context concerning the recent controversies among the architects of Trump’s national security team and agenda, and the criticism of National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster. Recall first that the foreign policy of Barack Obama, Ben Rhodes, Susan Rice, and Hillary Clinton could be best termed “provocative appeasement,” and it logically led to the present tensions around the world.

The approach combined the most unfortunate traits of carrying a twig while speaking loudly: vociferous remonstrations about human rights, occasional bombings, and drone-targeted assassinations, lots of sermonizing and faux red lines, deadlines, and step-over lines—all without either real consequences or accountability.

The result by January 2017 was that our foreign policy could be summarized as a complete inverse of the Roman general Sulla’s ancient admonition: the United States was seen by neutrals, rivals, and opponents as no worse friend, and no better enemy.

An Iranian deal was kept alive by stealthy side agreements and a blind eye to Tehran’s provocations. North Korea offered a new existential threat to the U.S. mainland. China redefined navigation in the South China Sea and assumed commercial cheating was its birthright. Syria became a genocidal wasteland. Allies like Israel, Egypt, and the Gulf States were scorned; enemies like Cuba and Iran were courted. A reset and provocative Putin (both appeased and talked down to at the same time) was now invited into the Middle East. Europe was flooded with mostly young, male Muslim “refugees.” A medieval ISIS was on its way to carve out an unhinged caliphate of sorts.

The list of failures could go on.

In the short-term, appeasement always wins praise for its pacifism and good intentions, and in the long term it ensures crises for those asked to clean up its messes (e.g., Stanley Baldwin and Neville Chamberlain were not in power during Dunkirk, though it was the natural reification of both men’s earlier appeasement). Deterrence is easily shed and only with danger and time reestablished.

Into this labyrinth of appeasement came Trump and his advisors.

Don’t-Tread-on-Me Deterrence
When Trump picked James Mattis and H.R. McMaster respectively as his Defense Secretary and National Security Advisor, along with notables like Rex Tillerson at the State Department, Gen. John Kelly at Homeland Security (and now chief of staff), and Mike Pompeo as CIA director, he apparently preferred soldiers and businessmen to Washington establishmentarians. Trump also understood that the prior eight-year status quo could not continue without a likely war.

Weaker states abroad would inevitably try something stupid on the theory that the United States would not react (we forget that less powerful nations often start wars, as they wrongly conclude that the appeasing stronger powers are acting foolishly because they must be without military capability). We see the wages of the last eight years, most notably with North Korea’s decision to test missiles that soon may reach the West Coast, a dare that has forced redefinition of some 70 years of U.S. strategy on the Korean peninsula.

Yet Trump also ran as populist. He understood that the instincts like those of Steve Bannon were critical in destroying the blue wall—and for not draining U.S. resources abroad in cul de sacs while a revolutionary economic and social agenda was needed at home.

Thus Trump was loud about ending optional wars and interventions that did not serve perceived U.S. interests—and whose costs often, in a tragic sense, came at the expense of a working class that was both a loser in the new globalization and yet asked to fight and pay for a globalized United States.

But paradoxes naturally arose. Not starting new optional wars (cf. the disaster in Libya) was not quite the same thing as getting out of them without doing more damage (cf. the catastrophe following the Obama pullout from Iraq).

Trump seems to be trying to square that circle of restoring deterrence without a major cost in blood and treasure. In the current controversies at the National Security Agency and the attacks aimed at McMaster—along with debate and acrimony over how best to salvage some sort of stable government from a 16-year long war in Afghanistan—we are now entering a weird and suicidal internecine administration war. Oddly, the acrimony comes at the very moment when the Trump economic, national security, and immigration agendas are working and paying real dividends. Obviously, the last thing needed now is another Sessions-like threatened firing.

Jacksonians like McMaster and occasionally Mattis (and I speak of them in concert not because they are predictably in agreement, but only because their long careers were similarly unconventional) are somehow this week caricatured as being protectors of the Deep State Beltway. Perhaps such mischaracterization is because they are, in Augustus’s words, “making haste slowly”—or trying to prepare the world for post-Obama changes without either turning inward or starting a war. Such cautiousness can be, of course, naturally viewed as obstructionism by a populist base.

Yet if Trump wanted iconoclastic generals, both outspoken, and sometimes abrasive, who nonetheless put a high priority on loyalty, he could not have picked two better representatives. McMaster was often unfairly passed over for generalship because he was a bother to hierarchies. Mattis was sidetracked by Obama because he had a rare habit of speaking the truth, sometimes bluntly, and identifying with the warriors under his command rather than with his superiors in Washington.

So the idea, to take one example, that McMaster is soft on Islamism or is anti-Israel is absurd. I cannot think of a more obdurate opponent of the Iranian regime, perhaps because so many of those he served with in Iraq were killed by shaped charges brought into Iraq by Iranians, who subverted the U.S. effort with impunity. Nor was McMaster a neoconservative in matters of post-9/11 interventions, but instead he served an agenda that he likely would have preferred was more punitive and realist than inspired by idealistic nation-building.

Faultlines
One can have legitimate arguments over bad and worse choices concerning Afghanistan and Syria. Or how best to dismantle North Korea’s new missile arsenal. Or the most effective way to coax or force Putin away from Russia’s new hostility.

But what remains again inexplicable is the suggestion that anyone heading the Pentagon or the NSC is either disloyal to Trump, in thrall to the status quo, or too soft on our enemies. They are not.

So far the entire Trump foreign policy is naturally characterized by disagreements over how best to reflect both global realities and responsibilities and populist concerns—in the larger context of cleaning up the Obama mess. But on closer examination, almost all internecine fighting in the Trump administration has to do with the Middle East, no doubt because it is hard to swear off engagement where we are already deeply engaged—in contrast to likely unanimity in approaches toward North Korea or China. And it is problematic to tell veterans of the wars of the Middle East what wars of the Middle East are really about.

To take an example of disconnects: if it seems we are going too slow in refuting the Iran deal, the disagreement is probably over a matter of tactics: an Iran emboldened by appeasement will inevitably violate and doom its own sweetheart accords, rather than having us do it first and get into a kerfuffle with profit-mongering European opportunist allies. I don’t think anyone thinks the status quo has worked in Afghanistan. But the challenge is to come up with a comprehensive strategy first that “Afghanisizes” the war without losing it and millions of innocent Afghans à la Vietnam—and to do so without sending another surge of troops. In contrast, I would doubt there is much difference between Trump appointees regarding the best way to deal with North Korea.

Process and Temperament Matter
Whether we like it or not, Trump was not going to be able to implement Jacksonian changes in foreign policy with an array of firebrand Mike Flynns in all the major national security agencies. Flynn is an impressive and honorable American who was done a terrible disservice by a media lynch mob. But he was not the sort of pilot to ensure that Trump’s doctrine of “principled realism” was going to get enacted and implemented. Mattis and McMaster, by contrast, bring a sense of order and discipline to national security in the manner that the esteemed John Kelly does to the White House staff in general.

Doing so is not selling out or watering down the message, but allowing the very structures in which Trump can freelance and bring his needed unpredictably and, yes, even occasional volatility to foreign policy. The sober and judicious Dean Acheson established the proper structure in which the often brash, loud, buck-stops-here Harry Truman could create a credible policy of containment against the Soviet Union. Acheson was no more a sell-out than Truman was a buffoon. One could not have been successful without the other; neither felt that the other was either too crude or too refined; both saved us from a prior disastrously naïve approach—once embraced by themselves—to Soviet expansionism.

I think we, the uninformed of the general public, can still understand the ground rules of these three quite different mavericks: Mattis and McMaster have been given rare latitude by Trump to re-establish serious national strategies, and doing so requires using some levers of traditional U.S. power and influence. In exchange, as non-politicos and representatives of the military establishment, they remain loyal servants of presidential policy, and that means the advancement of Trump’s nationalist agenda—but also a 19th-century noble insistence on order, respect for chain of command, and obedience to the dictates of superiors.

No doubt a few NeverTrumpers and neoconservatives were associates of Mattis and McMaster. And they were not shy about expressing bewilderment at both the appointments and the acceptance of those two nominations, as if the two were “the adults in the room” and must be exasperated by Trump.

But such speculations are more the media’s self-serving efforts to advance an adversarial narrative of why supposedly serious thinkers went to work for a supposedly unserious Trump—and so cannot be taken as evidence that either general leaks to the press about the “real” story of their service.

It is understandable that Trump’s base grows irritated with the weekly D.C. swamp story written on spec about the “axis of adults” like Mattis and McMaster, who purportedly put up with Trump to “save” the country, without any mention that Trump’s political genius won the election and not only put them in positions in power but also allowed them to correct a disastrous foreign policy trajectory under Barack Obama. But that said, again it is more likely that Washington liberal journalists and NeverTrumpers who write such “inside” narratives are using the generals as referents for their own larger agendas of discrediting the entire Trump project—rather than any proof the generals are venting their frustrations in order to discredit their boss and provide an oiled pathway of escape with reputations intact if Trump is neutralized.

McMaster’s firings at the NSC were, as in the case of John Kelly’s firing of the talented but otherwise profane, erratic, disruptive, and often naïve Anthony Scaramucci, likely process-driven rather than ideological.

Could McMaster have been more sensitive that his dismissals of some Trump supporters would be interpreted as a deep-state sellout, or could Mattis be more attuned that some of his centrist appointees do not make good political optics and thus make it harder for Trump to reassure his base that he needs such pros to reverse both a disastrous past eight years and to cease major but optional ground interventions? Perhaps.

But, once more, these are matters of political strategy and public relations—not fundamental issues of restoring American power and influence in the world without resorting to either nation-building or endless interventions of choice.

So far this unconventional arrangement at the Pentagon and the NSC has worked to Trump’s advantage. It should be kept. If one were to pick the five most effective U.S. generals of the last generation, both Mattis and McMaster, with their respective lifetimes of experience in the world’s godforsaken hell holes, would be placed in such select company.

Trump is lucky to have the service of both men. And both men, in turn, are lucky to be chosen to serve Trump. Both are valuable strategists in peace—but indispensable, God forbid, if we ever get into a war.

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About the Author:

Victor Davis Hanson

Victor Davis Hanson is an American military historian, columnist, former classics professor, and scholar of ancient warfare. He was a professor of classics at California State University, Fresno, and is currently the Martin and Illie Anderson Senior Fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution. He has been a visiting professor at Hillsdale College since 2004. Hanson was awarded the National Humanities Medal in 2007 by President George W. Bush. Hanson is also a farmer (growing raisin grapes on a family farm in Selma, California) and a critic of social trends related to farming and agrarianism.

Dr. Hanson is the author of The Second World Wars – How the First Global Conflict was Fought and Won. It is coming out in October 2017 by Basic Books.

  • NYY32311

    Fire McMaster and Tillerson, keep Mattis.
    McMaster’s failure to drain the NSC of the previous administrations holdovers continuing to push their ME vision instead of POTUS vision is obvious and a dereliction of duty. E.G. McMaster wants to escalate in Afghanistan, Trump campaigned on leaving. Syria too. And let’s not forget the ayfkm revelation of continuing Rice’s security clearance.

    Tillerson is no different at Foggy Bottom with the holdovers he allows to stay.

    • Warren Dew

      Tillerson has purged an entire level of Obama holdovers.

      • Michael Silver

        And more Prez Putt holdovers need to be removed…the enemy from within.

        • Gray Panther

          It’s a process that cannot be done overnight.

      • Dorothy Post Shelton

        McMaster and Mattis NEVER won a War…Afganistan and Pakistan have fought for Eons. Trump is Listening to Generals that are Political Hacks….We Need Our Internet Back From the UN so We Can NOT be Censored by Governed NWO Public stranglehold in America.!

    • aimeslee

      No, Tillerson stays. You way too purist.

  • Whiskey Sam

    I’d be more sanguine had they cleaned house of the Obama holdovers (the likely sources of many of the leaks).

    • Stick

      I’ve wondered if they let it happen to identify the risks. Trump does not come with a cadre of old Washington hands – so it is very possible that they had to build their own inside the Beltway list of who and who not to trust. Remember, Hillary as First Lady had an opposition outfit in the basement of the WH creating such a list using FBI files. Given they had about a 20 minute honeymoon and they had destroyed both Bush and Clinton Inc, finding good help was going to be, and still is, a slow process.

  • Derek Pandamonium

    I hope you’re right.
    The media poodles are trying to sow as much chaos as they can.
    We’ve been conditioned over the years to trust them. Big mistake.

  • Panope Vreeland

    Victor is showing here the unfortunate remains of his old neocon leanings. American generals are weird creatures; they get routinely over-praised and are often more shallow and easily duped by evil than the average American civilian. They almost always disappoint. Petraeus anybody?

  • I rarely disagree with VDH, but the weight of evidence is against his thesis here, particularly in the case of McMaster. Making the entire case against McMaster would take more time than we have here, but we might consider just a few points:

    1. McMaster’s insistence on maintaining the Iran agreement cannot be explained by his supposed calculation that “an Iran emboldened by appeasement will inevitably violate and doom its own sweetheart accords, rather than having us do it first” because Iran is already in violation and has been since the Obama administration, and the agreement was a bad one in any case.

    2. McMaster was in charge of Army training and indoctrination during the period the Obama gang was insisting on purging training materials of references to Islamic terrorism. The most favorable interpretation of this fact is that he went along with a policy he knew to be suicidal (ignoring the nature of the threat) because it came from the Commander-in-Chief; the least-favorable is that he agreed with the policy and the Left’s view of Islamic terrorism.

    3. McMaster appears to have been the one who insisted no Israeli accompany Trump to the Western Wall. This was a capitulation to Islamist elements in the Middle East.

    4. McMaster has in fact purged anti-Islamist personnel from NSC and replaced them with Obama holdovers. This is extremely troubling and not to be glossed over.

    5. McMaster extended Susan Rice’s access to classified information – why? What possible benefit can their be to the Trump administration to allow Rice, who told all those Benghazi lies, to have continuing access? We surely don’t need her “expertise”.

    Now maybe despite all this, McMaster is very pro-Israel and understand the nature of Islamic terrorism, i.e. that Islam itself is the prime motivator of the terrorism, but when all the indicators are pointing the other way, I don’t see how we can safely reach that conclusion.

    • John

      Dead on, and it’s disappointing that the eminent VDH seems unaware of these extremely troubling facts.

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      • Gray Panther

        I am sure he is fully aware of those troubling facts. It’d be great if we could all have a roundtable discussion with the esteemed Hanson & delve into why he doesn’t seem to be alarmed over this. Judging from his perspective laid out above, it has much to do with not starting yet another needless war.

        • Warren Dew

          But continuing existing needless wars, like Afghanistan.

          • Gray Panther

            I don’t get it. We don’t belong over there but whenever things like this don’t make sense, follow the money. The poppy industry probably has a lot to do with the whole thing.

        • John

          Nonetheless, the embrace by McMasters of establishment dogma re the jihad threat is extremely troubling—their strategy of demographic infiltration is ongoing, and seemingly unstoppable. Even Trump’s ban is utterly inadequate to address this issue. We need a full-scale moratorium—yeah, good luck with that.

      • stephen duval

        McMaster is a disaster of the highest order.

        McMaster is a proponent of “Islam is a religion of peace”. This is the approach that has led to 15 years of losses to Islamists. Islam is a religion but it is also a totalitarian political ideology that advocates violence to implement sharia law. McMaster has purged from the NSC the people who understand Islam and kept the “Religion of Peace” people.

        McMaster’s answer to losing the war with the Islamists, is more of the same. He want to put more troops into Afghanistan. Iraq was worth fighting over. Afghanistan is a pile of rocks.

        Meanwhile McMaster and Mattis are threatening to start WW3 over NKorea nukes. This is ridiculous. NKorea is a Chinese puppet state. The Chinese will use NKorea to intimidate SKorea and Japan. The correct approach is not a military strike but to threaten China with a nuclear SKorea, Japan, and Taiwan if China does not disarm NKorea. They could also announce a policy that a NK strike on any of them would be treated as a nuclear strike by CHINA against all of them.

        MAD kept the peace in Europe for 50 years. There was US nuclear deterrence but the Russians also knew that if the US chickened out, the UK and France stood ready to strike Russia to defend their homeland.

        McMaster also seems to be asleep at the switch regarding the
        confrontation between India and China over the Doklam Plateau that has
        strategic value because it provides the Chinese with the ability to cut
        India in two. The US should offer support for India and increased
        military cooperation.

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    • Clark Kent

      Maybe he’s keeping Obama people on to give them rope to hang themselves with. Maybe he’s setting them up.

      • I don’t think so, because he’s not just keeping Obama’s people on, he’s getting rid of the better people and hiring Obama retreads as replacements. See Daniel Greenfield’s article over on Frontpage Magazine.

    • OkiefromMuskogee

      I have to agree,usually I am very appreciative of VDH’s opinion and find him to be very informative but this article baffles me. I think I have to align much more with Daniel Greenfield’s article at Front Page website. It seems to me McMaster is pulling the wool over Trump’s eyes or there is some reason(s) the president has that we cannot know at this time for trusting him.

    • Walter Thomas

      Very well said. Also, McMaster is insubordinate. He contradicts Trump’s positions in public. He said that Rice did nothing wrong in unmasking yet Trump was calling for investigations of Rice. Rice should be investigated.

      McMaster wants a Surge in Afghanistan. Trump doesn’t. How do I know this? See above, insubordination. McMaster holds the same soft on Islam views that took Bush into Iraq. No more of that, please.

      • GaryMcGuane

        As far as “clearing” Rice, what law school did McMaster go to again? At least when Comey pretended to be Attorney General and re-wrote the law to protect Clinton, he had a law degree to back his lies up.

      • Paula Kinziger

        I haven’t read he said Rice did nothing wrong. He gave her security clearance for past history only, that must be read at the NSC. A very standard procedure.

        • Gray Panther

          Why I give Dr. Hanson the benefit of the doubt. There are so many salient details, I believe, that we are simply not privy to & we can no longer trust most in the media to be truthful.

        • stephen duval

          Rice was operating a political espionage operation using US Intel agencies. She belongs in jail, not with access to all the nation’s secrets. McMaster is either dumb or part of the effort to sabotage Trump.

    • new MarcH

      In addition to VDH, LGEN McMaster has received endorsements and support from the following Iran expert-hawks and men of honor: Sen. Tom Cotton, Mike Doran author of the seminal 2015 article “Obama’s Secret Iran Strategy”, Mark Dubowitz (CEO of FDD, http://www.defenddemocracy.org/about-fdd/team-overview/dubowitz-mark/), as well as President Donald Trump (for whom I campaigned and whose opinion I trust) . That, and McMaster’s devoted and distinguished career of Army service and combat should give pause to the cyber-lynch mob. Caroline Glick, Michael Ledeen and Paul Mirrengoff are analysts whose opinions I respect and who are concerned/opposed to McM. I’d like to hear more from them. But a lot of the hoopla is being pushed by self-promoters such as Roger Stone, Pamela Gellar and Mike Cernovich, none of whom I would rely on for an informed opinion on Iran or for anything more than click-bait.

    • Done With It

      I agree. This is the first time I’ve read an article by him that seemed as though he was saying something he’d been asked to say rather than what he thought.

      I always presume that he’s well-informed, so that isn’t his excuse. He’s toeing the line for some reason, and I’ve lost a measure of faith in him. Sell-out.

    • Great points, none of which were addressed by VDH, who is apparently doing double-duty as a mind-reader: “Nor was McMaster a neoconservative in matters of post-9/11 interventions, but instead he served an agenda that he likely would have preferred was more punitive and realist than inspired by idealistic nation-building.” So neoconservatism only means nation-building now, not just “interventions” that destroy countries and blow back onto the U.S. and Europe like Syria and Libya did? For an erudite historian, this article was exceptionally disjointed, airy, and unconvincing. VDH (Conservatism Inc.) appears to be covering for two Hoover Institution Fellow colleagues (neocons). I have no faith in McMaster, Mike Cernovich (who McMaster has held multiple meetings about with his staff) has been all over this for months: https://www.pscp.tv/Cernovich/1nAKEeoEOmRKL

    • sarai

      I recommend this instead
      McMaster, The Ultimate Holdover: Why President Trump needs to fire his national security advisor by Jed Babbin
      https://spectator.org/mcmaster-the-ultimate-holdover/

  • JWM

    Sorry Mr. Hanson, I disagree with you on this. McMaster is not who he says he is and is a danger for the Trump Presidency.

  • ne14a1e

    Keep your friends close. And your enemies closer.

  • John

    Mr. Hanson: many of us admire your learned writing. But you really must—must—examine the criticism of McMasters from Caroline Glick, and the perspective of Daniel Greenfield of Frontpage. Maybe there’s no one better, but if that’s the case, we’re in deep trouble. McMasters evidently buys the libtard line on Islamism, that it originates from poverty and can be addressed through nation-building. Deeply deluded, at best, and suicidal at worst.

    • vladdy

      And please…this writer has covered islamic terrorism and the obama hold-overs thoroughly. For those who want to know more: Scroll down and look at a few of her headlines.

      https://adinakutnicki.com/

  • DonnieZen

    So, VDH has given up. Not surprising.

    McMaster and Mattis are rare asshats, not rare assets.

  • Mark Pulliam

    Exonerating Susan Rice? Condemning Israel? Supporting the Iran deal? Stinks to me.

  • Tom

    Odd contradiction here; Dr Hanson implies that the Iranian deal was unprincipled appeasement, but he admires McMasters who supports that deal and is purging anyone who disagrees with it. Strange.
    We also have this unprecedented (or unpresidented if you prefer) deluge of leaks coming from McMasters shop. That does not seem admirable to me.

  • Notsure

    Potentially excepting Hugh Hewitt, no one consistently gets it wrong more often than VDH. That he simply does so eloquently doesn’t mitigate the failure.

  • Jon Carry

    VDH is a brilliant writer and a gifted historian. I shall not allow myself to be too disappointed with the fact that he is wrong about McMaster. Allowing Susan Rice continued access to confidential information is all I need to know.

  • Gefilte Fisherman

    McMaster is a huge asset to Trump.

    He sees ISIS for what it is, the Israeli Secret Intelligence Service which hired thousands of Mercenaries to fight a Proxy War in Syria over an Oil Pipeline.

    Israel is a duplicitous partner at best and an enemy at worst.

    • JamesDrouin

      You should change your witless avatar to “Jew Hater” … it’d be so much more accurate.

    • Notsure

      Da Jooooos! Da Jooooos!
      Da Jooooos!

  • Marty

    It is difficult to get to the truth these days due to false stories and a biased media. But results of actions of people in authority cannot be hidden or lied about. Such is the case with Gen. McMasters, who just drained the security swamp of those – with proven conservative backgrounds and accomplishments – who’s past efforts helped in supporting and defending a constitutional America. Why would someone get rid of these type of people in mass in positions that control the security and well being of the United States, is a legitimate question to ask especially during a period when the nation’s security is apparently unraveling. It is difficult for me to keep an open mind as VDH suggests when the results of McMaster’s action can only help the continued deterioration of a constitutional America.

  • Bill Robbins

    Walks like duck. Talks like duck. Duck.

    • Word Warrior

      Yep.

  • CosmotKat

    As an avid reader of all your posts, VDH, this one perplexes me greatly. I am in total disagreement with your positive view of McMasters. He is demonstrating disloyalty to his current president by continuing loyalty to the failed former president. McMasters is allowing the chaos internally to continue by giving the criminals of the Obama administration cover. This is insane.

    • Dave Hunter

      OMG, don’t believe anything you read about what is supposedly going on in the WH. If PDT says McMaster is pro-Israel then I believe it, as opposed to whatever Breitbart publishes.

      • Ray Runge

        Ultimately, this is not solely about Trump. Granted, political acumen and sheer grit has provided POTUS to Trump. In regard the policy that was campaigned on, Islamic Terrorism and engagement in foreign wars only when true USA interests are at stake is at the core of Trump presidency. When Trump feels free to disregard those core tenets then a component of his “Basr” will quickly dissolve.

  • Clark Kent

    Why doesn’t Trump really wise up and hire VDH?

    • D4x

      Possibly because POTUS did hire Michael Anton, who is possibly talking with Dr. Hanson.

      Anton must be talking with someone, from his seat on NSC: Deputy Assistant to the President for Strategic Communications, the seat previously occupied by Ben Rhodes.

  • Yuri Justo

    I most heartily agree with Mr Hanson. When I read the criticism of McMaster — some of it is minor things — not wanting Trump to pray at the wailing wall with Netanyahu. Somehow this is a proof of horrendous advice — it’s contrarian advice and good too. The focus of that photo is on Trump and the wall. It is a show of American support for Israel — not for a particular Israeli politician. Thus no matter what party is in government there, there is a powerful symbol of US Israeli unity.

    • honey

      Interesting point.

  • Dave Hunter

    As a retired military man I believe that McMaster must have had a very good reason for firing members of his staff – and make no mistake, NSC staffers are HIS staff. He would not have done it merely for disagreeing with his own beliefs, they would have either been leakers or sought to undermine his authority in some way. I do not believe anything I have read in the media, either right or left.

    I think Kelly will right the ship of state within the WH, and McMaster was emboldened by having the new CoS at his back.

    Finally, I think these firings have a lot to do with the departure of Priebus, who is a Paul Ryan acolyte RINO and a serial leaker, IMHO.

  • JamesDrouin

    “McMaster and Mattis Are Rare Assets—Not Deep State Liabilities”

    One of VDH’s better, and more accurate, analyses. However, it is clearly undeniable that the swamp simply isn’t being drained in any appreciable manner.

  • Attila_the_hun

    Anyone who kowtows to Palestinians/Islam doesn’r understand or see the world as is. Rather sees it as s/he wanted to be. . McMaster is one of those people who the world from pink color glasses.

  • rayward

    VDH, You really need to read and weigh Caroline Glick’s recent list of McMaster’s anti-Israel actions.
    http://carolineglick.com/mcmaster-purges-pro-israel-anti-iran-deal-trump-loyalists-from-the-nsc/

    • D4x

      This time, Glick is wrong.

  • mike

    I am very glad we have VDH to tell us what we cannot find out from any other source.

  • Bill

    I read comments from folks who couldn’t competently shine the shoes of these patriot generals and just shake my head in amazement.

  • Sandy Daze

    Trump is an American patriot, a “true-blue” American, a man who would never conceive in his wildest imaginings, that a General or an Admiral in the US Military would be anything other than as true-blue, America-first patriotic as he is. INCONCEIVABLE.

    And yet, and yet, that word–inconceivable–what was that phrase from Princess Bride; I don’t think it means what you think it means…

    These days most, perhaps all of our GoFos (General Officers Flag Officers) are leftist internationalists. Its the truth. They may be warriors, even good ones, but on the policy side, they are virtually all on the left in their political outlook. Today’s crop of GoFos were field grade or company grade during the clinton presidency, they came of age–got their stars–during the obama presidency. You could say they’ve all been groomed to the left.

    What do I mean? To become a flag, O-6s (Colonels/Captains) are thoroughly questioned about their views on any number of issues. Aspiring Flags learn very soon what the right answers are for particular questions. Those potential flags who speak their mind, their unvarnished opinions; they don’t get promoted. NOPE.

    Both Mattis and McMaster are very happy; even more happy to be in the leftist camp than in the conservative camp. This has been displayed over and over this year alone. Mattis refuses to accept any input from the WH for appointments, has ‘blacklisted’ conservatives from any appointment. Hell, he even wanted pro-muslim brotherhood Anne Patterson as his Undersecretary for policy. YGBSM.
    Meanwhile, McMaster leaves in place the entire Ben Rhodes NSC team, and forces out solid, solid appointments.

    I understand GoFo’s prerogatives to pick their own teams, but this is insane. They need to have teams that relfect the CINC’s agenda, not their own.

    McMaster should be promoted “UP” to American ProConsul in Afghanistan, shipped off to Kabul and told don’t return until VICTORY is achieved. Then, someone like John Bolton or Jack Keane should be appointed as National Security Advisor.

    • honey

      Yes, why is Bolton not on Trump’s team?

      • Gray Panther

        This points to all the details we don’t know & doubtless will never know.

      • Word Warrior

        I would suspect that the Kushners don’t want the competition for Trump’s ear. Bolton is a staunch Conservative and a fierce teller of Truth who will not bend or obfuscate it. He is not tolerant of those who do.

    • Word Warrior

      I agree that Afghanistan would be the best place to reposition McMaster. I don’t trust him at all. He can still be watched in Afghanistan. Trump needs to avoid any more high profile firings for awhile. He may yet have to deal with Rosenstein and Mueller.

      As far as the mixed assessments of McMaster go, I say; watch what he does. Don’t listen to what he says.

      He makes me afraid, deep down in my primitive brain, which does not listen to explanations.

      Fear is a gift. I always trust it. A life lesson learned the hard way.

  • buybuydandavis

    “But, once more, these are matters of political strategy and public relations”

    Personnel is policy. If you’re hiring avowed enemies of Trump (what part of “never” don’t people understand?), and firing Trump loyalists,

    With the Deep State on the warpath against Trump, with both leaks and investigations, don’t tell me that personnel doesn’t matter.

  • swek

    Crazy bedbugs of the Bannon school of lunacy and dissembling will ultimately need to realize that the military establishment will not let them turn the country into a propaganda machine.
    Matthis & McMasters have far more support in Congress than the so-called president. If they try to interfere with either of them, or with Kelly, they will feel the weight of the entire Senate bear down on them with a force greater than Bannon’s self-fellating can withstand.
    Bannon, Miller, and the entire cadre of pseudo-patriots are courting a swift kick down the stairs of the Pentagon. Wise up, putzes, and confine your antics to ginning up hatred for unions and for immigrants.

  • Warren Dew

    Mattis is no doubt valuable. McMaster is probably not. It is a rather major act of political stupidity to permit Susan Rice to retain her security clearance when she has no need to know and is implicated in illegal leaks of confidential material that have been highly detrimental to national security.

    There isn’t a good solution to Afghanistan. We survived a pullout from Vietnam; we can survive a pullout from Afghanistan. It’s simply not realistic to expect a win there. Let Russia deal with that quagmire.

    The balance to date has indeed worked well. However, the balance to date included Trump loyalists on the National Security Council. McMaster’s removing them changes the balance, and allows the military industrial complex too much opportunity to pursue their parochial interests to the detriment of the United States of America.

    • Gray Panther

      This article offers a deeper look at why Rice was able to keep her clearance: http://www.weeklystandard.com/the-real-reason-mcmaster-let-susan-rice-keep-her-security-clearance/article/2009158

      • Warren Dew

        That’s pretty much as expected: deep state traditions that keep bad actors in the loop. McMaster shouldn’t be seeking advice from her so there’s no reason to extend her security privileges, especially without a need to know.

        • Gray Panther

          There is probably far more to this than us “little people” know.

          • Warren Dew

            Speak for yourself. I doubt Hanson knows any more than I do.

          • Gray Panther

            I think he knows quite a bit through whom he knows.

  • chris_zzz

    I think Trump’s base would be smart to give Mattis and McMaster a chance to serve without all the amateurish second guessing. National security is more complicated than domestic policy for the average voter to assess. As an independent, I worry that our country’s national security would be jeopardized by personnel changes. Come on Trumpers, attack Congress, Dems, Mueller, or the press, but leave the national security team alone. Kelly will fix the problem if one exists.

  • GaryMcGuane

    “I think we, the uninformed of the general public….”

    I find it hard to square this admission of relative ignorance, which we almost all share (except those actually working at the highest levels of these agencies), with the absolute certainty that Mr. Hanson has in the loyalty of McMaster in particular.

    I don’t know the truth of the matter, and I think any leaker from either side of this debate who is caught should be fired, and if appropriate, prosecuted. But there is simply no question that there are those in the intelligence agencies, bureaucracies, military and even the White House who are doing everything they can to undermine Trump, if not destroy him. The rapid firing of three such staunch loyalists of Trump is problematic, whatever rationalization is given.

    • chris_zzz

      What’s problematic about Trump loyalists being fired? Just because they’re loyal doesn’t make them competent. The generals are the best thing going for Trump, perhaps except the economy, so why get all weird and suspicious and agitate for McMaster’s firing? That’s risky and disruptive. Trust Trump and Kelly to figure out if there’s a problem… and so far, they say there isn’t one. Move on.

  • RIP_UN_1945_2017

    VDH is usually right on the money, but unless he has impeccable sources that we are unaware of, his assement of McMaster is off the mark. I just don’t see how you can square his staffing decisions and lranian policies with loyalty to the president’s agenda.

  • John Velisek
  • John Velisek

    The Deep State continues to undermine the President’s policies with the intention of returning the country to the failed policies of the past administration. They have no agenda other than an approach to consider Islam a “religion of Peace” and without any agenda meant to lead to a successful outcome for our country.
    One of these Deep State actors is H.R.McMaster, the National Security Advisor. McMaster continues to pursue the failed Obama policies that the American electorate rejected. McMaster also allowed leaks to continue at an unprecedented rate to attempt to take down the Trump new policies for the Middle East.
    McMaster has declared political warfare on President Trump and the wishes of the American people. McMaster is targeting Trump supporters in the National Security areas of this administration. It is another way for the Deep State to remain entrenched in the failed policies, decision making and to create impediments to “draining the swamp”. This purge of those that want to implement the policies of the Trump administration will continue under an Obama sycophant such as McMaster who views Trumps policies as wrong and in conflict with what McMaster believes is the correct outcome.
    The leak of strategic national security issues are being attempted to delegitimize the agenda of the Trump Presidency, and running through all the holdovers from the Obama administration and some Never Trumpers to promote what could turn out to be an axis of Marxist/Islamist outcomes on a global scale. The swamp is real, and flourishing by those like McMaster who will destroy all the agendas that do not suit the agenda of the Obama past failures.
    President Trump, requested McMaster to fire a list of Obama holdovers at the NSC who were suspected of leaking to the press. McMaster refused, and is in the process of putting those same people incharge.
    Part of McMasters agenda is the purging of all Trump supporters from the National Security Agency. Rich Higgins who served in the NSC’s strategic planning office as director was fired on July 21st. The reason was a memo that Higgins wrote showing the globalists, bankers, deep state and the Islamic cartel and the threats to the Trump presidency. Also in the memo it was shown clearly that the Russia “collusion” story as a way top thwart Trump’s agenda. After discussing the memo with the White House Higgins was informed by McMasters deputy Ricky Waddell, a deputy named by McMaster without obtaining authority from President Trump, and forcing his way into the Executive Office building to set up an office. that he was fired. The President was not informed of the firing until after the firing and was described as a “lasting victory” for McMaster. Higgins was also instrumental in attempting to declassify the “Presidential Study Directive 11”, a classified report produced in 2010 by the Obama administration which has possible Obama administration ties to the Muslim Brotherhood. Higgins also wrote a memo to discuss how the Trump administration was losing control of policy making to careerists hostile to Trump. It was McMaster who looked to evidence of the e mailed memo through the NSC files to determine the name of who wrote the memo and used the information to fire Higgins.
    NSC officials such as Ezra Cohen-Watnick and others have discussed the 2015 Iranian deal and the evidence that Iran continues its missile activity. McMaster along with Tillerson have pushed for the maintenance of the deal and this lead to the firing of all those who worked on a comprehensive plan to scrap the deal that has caused such turmoil in the Middle East.
    McMaster is also purging those who are pro-Israel, putting in place holdovers who are deeply hostile to the pro Israel that are part of Trump administration. McMaster continually talks of Palestine and how it is his understanding that Israel is an illegitimate occupying force and declares that Palestine was an existing entity until 1948 when it was taken over by the Jewish nation .McMaster does not recognize Jewish independence or the Western Wall, and assigns key positions such as the Israel-Palestinian desk to people such as Kris Bauman, an Obama holdover who is anti-Israel and a Hamas supporter. McMaster is in a position where he has done and will continue to do a great deal of damage to the Trump administration is relation to improving the alliance of the U.S. and Israel.
    It started with the removal from the National Security Council of Steve Bannon, K.T.McFarland, Adam Lovinger and Tera Dahl, all strong pro-Israel supporters. They were replaced with personnel with no security background such as Dina Habib-Powell an Egyptian-American immigrant who attended an Iftar dinner with members of the Muslim Brotherhood. McMaster has also refused to work with Israel on counter-intelligence efforts and shut down the joint US-Israel project to counter Hezbollah.
    National Security agents have been forced to turn away from factual understanding of the Islamic threat and are tasked with working with Muslim Brotherhood advisors. In McMasters first all staff meeting McMaster discredited the use of the term “radical Islamic terrorism” because he claims the terrorists are “Un-Islamic”. At his first staff meeting at the NSC was to order all staff to cease discussing the “Obama holdovers”. This was ordered to keep the media and the citizenry from understanding that after the purge planned by McMaster, that these would be the people in charge. This would lead to the Obama loyalists being able undermine the Trump administration and increasing the leaks moving forward. These loyalists include key NSC personnel who work for Ben Rhodes who is one of the central suspects in the leaking of national security classified information to the press.
    McMaster also sent an undated letter to Benghazi liar and unmasking threat Susan Rice allowing her to keep her security clearance for any and all reasons. The question is, why does she need a security clearance when she is no longer in government? And how many others from the past Obama administration continue to have security clearances to further leak information? The ability of this woman to continue with a security clearance, under investigation for numerous legal and ethical concerns going all the way back to Benghazi is a national security concern and may border on treason.
    Another career NSC member, Derek Harvey, senior director for the Middle East for Trump was also let go. He was fired for making a list of obama holdovers who were leaking to the press, the same personnel that McMaster is now putting in positions of authority.
    Robert Malley who served as “Obama’s ISIS czar” continues to push the strategy of the Obama administration that cost the blood of our fellow citizens. Now in a position of authority at the NSC, Malley was fired from the Obama first campaign for meeting with Hamas.
    This can n ot be allowed to stand, the National Security agency is to the point of being a national security threat. While the media will go on blaming the Trump White House for leaks, is it any wonder that the NSC may be doing the majority of the leaks, including discussions between Trump and the major heads of State.
    The swamp will not go away willingly, the worst of the Obama administration are still running a vast amount of foreign policy. Between McMaster and Gen Mattis attempting to move Anne Patterson, the foremost apologist for the Muslim Brotherhood into a position of authority is a slap in the face to American patriots and this administration.
    One final point. H.R.McMaster was made the head of the NSC on the recommendation of none other than John McCain, the establishment RINO :

    If H.R.McMaster will not abide by the policies of the Trump administration and continues to hold the idea that the Islamic State is not Islamic it will be highly detrimental to the future of this country. No longer can we allow the Obama holdovers and the allies that have made in the Muslim Brotherhood to operate with impunity and ignore the risks e face by a failed foreign policy that the Deep State is attempting to continue. The Deep Staters, Obama holdovers the media, and the Rino GOP establishment who continue to claim Islam is a religion of peace can not be allowed to continue to populate the swamp with lies and innuendo against the wishes of the American people. The sunlight must be shone on the denizens of the swamp and every last one pushed out.
    With H.R. McMaster the first to go.

    • Word Warrior

      Indeed.

  • Gorgar Tilts

    Gorgar could take tenured hoplites such as Hanson more seriously if he would come out with an unqualified apologia stating that he got the single most important foreign policy question of our day (Iraq) unequivocally, and catastrophically, wrong.

    Until then, he is to foreign policy what Robert Reich is to trade policy: fundamentally compromised and ultimately suspect, and his judgement is not to be trusted.

    • honey

      Gorgar may not be correct.
      The jury is still out about GW’s liberation of Iraq.
      But there is no question that Obama’s taking the troops out was disastrous.

  • strathead

    McMaster is to the administration what a police captain who suppresses charges against the officers underneath him is. A believer that the institution he is in deserves more loyalty than the people he is hired to represent. This is not necessarily good or bad. It is all in how you look at it and the people he defends. But it sets the stage for huge abuse. Letting a fellow officer go when he was racing down the highway is different than letting one go who is twice the legal limit on alcohol, but once you let the speeder go… where do you stop.

  • eagle59

    Victor, you are simply wrong! These two ARE the Deep State! Why was Flynn the first victim of this coup taking place as we speak? Because he was not one of them and had to go first. Trump is being led by the nose by members of his close inner circle and these globalist traitors will destroy him. McMaster and Kelly are both Trojan Horses.

  • Darryl Harb

    “[McMaster] served an agenda that he likely would have preferred was more punitive and realist than inspired by idealistic nation-building.” As I recall, at one time you yourself could be counted among the believers in nation-building in the ME. What changed?

  • SolidCitizen

    Is this really that Hard.

    WANTED: The Leaker of XYZ information.
    REWARD: $10,000,000 for information leading to the capture and conviction of the Leaker of XYZ information.
    NOTICE: Your name will be kept in confidence. And we also have a secure way to submit information and collect your reward anonymously.

    Evaluate each leak, and offer rewards based upon the degree of damage they have done to the Office of the President, the assists of the Military and Intelligence Community, and the interests of the American People.

    The Rewards should be sufficiently large, life changing, so that the Journalist, Congressional Staffer, or Secretary can be insulated from the career ending, (life threatening Seth Rich), risk they are taking to reveal the leaker.

    My guess is the leaks would stop pretty quick after a few trials, and convictions.

  • Melida Stinson

    As much as I admire Mr. VDH I believe this time he is wrong in his assessment of Gen. McMaster. What I have read in the past about this General, and continue to read, is very disturbing. My uneducated and simple mind tells me that if Congressman Schiff and all the Dems are overjoyed at having Gen. McMaster in the White House, then it is bad news for Pres. Trump.

  • Shannon Colt

    The Mueller investigation is the driving force behind this battle. It is seen as an existensial threat to the republic, driven by politics and an attempt to take out a lawfully elected president through non-democratic means. Everything is seen through this ens, as a potential threat to the president and secondarily as a threat against the rule of law and the ramifications for the rest of us if that order collapses. The grand jury investigation needs to end and end now because it is hobbling our ability to unite behind an effective national defense.

    • jw456

      Really surprised that all you “patriots” don’t care if Putin is running Trump.

      • Shannon Colt

        I would care, hypothetically, if Trump had given Russians access to a large supply of U.S. uranium and then there appeared large sums of money into Trumps Foundation from Russia. I would care about that.

      • SolidCitizen

        I would care if Trump had ties to a “Media Group” … FUSION.. that had solicited and received a Russian Inspired dossier of salacitious lies about Hillary, that feed into the worst stereotypes about what rich and wealthy senators do on vacation, that despite its obvious falsehoods, managed to appear in all Mainstream media in the weeks and months prior to the election.

      • CosmotKat

        and your evidence is?

    • Word Warrior

      Amen!

  • D4x

    O44 doubled NSC staff to 400, many were ‘borrowed’ from their jobs elsewhere. It IS possible the re-organization of NSC, State, and DoD, will involve a lot of firings that turn into re-assignments elsewhere. One key reason why Ambassadorial confirmations are so obstructed is the obstructionists do NOT want to see State reorganized.

    As the Senate obstructs so many confirmations, I expect many non-confirmable jobs to be used to get stuff done, and undone, to shift policy from ‘small twigs’ to ‘principled realism’.

    POTUS’ official signing statement on HR 3364says much more than it seems:

    “Further, certain provisions, such as sections 254 and 257, purport to direct my
    subordinates in the executive branch to undertake certain diplomatic
    initiatives, in contravention of the President’s exclusive constitutional
    authority to determine the time, scope, and objectives of international
    negotiations.”
    https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2017/08/02/statement-president-donald-j-trump-signing-hr-3364

    https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/3364/text#toc-H5FBB78983EFE4260941D047337501428

  • Dr. Hanson: We shall see. Judgement withheld with much hope.

  • Gray Panther

    Thank you, Dr. Hanson, for providing this perspective as we all struggle to separate the wheat from the chaff while we look on such a concerted effort to destroy Trump’s presidency.

  • Burst On Target

    Thank you Dr. Hanson for your accurate, cogent, and thorough analysis of the contributions made by Generals Mattis and McMaster. If you happen to survey the reader contents for this piece you may note that many comments reflect continued dissatisfaction with LTG McMaster. To this I can only offer the observation that – no matter how well you explain the blueprint to the gorilla, he cannot build a house from the plans. That appears to be the situation regarding this hostility towards the President’s national security advisor.

  • WilliamRD
  • GeneRodgers

    Once again, Victor Davis Hanson shows that he’s one of the few writers who have adapted to the new realities of political commentary. Other commentators–even leading lights such as Krauthammer, Will, and Goldberg–have remained at sea, able to provide few insights in large part because they insist on seeing the political landscape through yesterday’s lenses. The adaptable Hanson and Byron York have emerged as the new leaders of the commentariat.

  • Ted PA

    The real question is whether Mattis, McMaster and Kelly ARE or ARE NOT Washington Establishmentarians. Do they guarantee the continuation of McConnell, McCain (and Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski) and the ultimate control of our government by those who are more interested in protecting the ensconced Washington bureaucracy than MAGA?

  • elixelx

    Victor, your admiration and respect for generals is undoubtedly informed by a deep and wide historical perspective, but no amount of whitewash can hide the grime on McMaster’s CV.
    There are some VERY respectable voices questioning his actions, actors with skin in the game, (Carolyn Glick, Times of Israel, Jerusalem Post) as there are on your side (which unfortunately also include HaAretz and J-Street)
    At the very least McM owes us an explanation of his past dealings (collusion?) with Soros-funded NGO’s, his unexplained and unjustified firing of the Iran hawks (all Jews!) and an open and above-board exegesis of his true points of view on the Iran Deal, because this last is the burr under the saddle.
    Defend him if you must, Victor, but he must surely, sooner or later, be made to defend himself. We hear that he’s good at that…

  • John Milton

    indispensable, God forbid, if we ever get into a war”

    We’ve been at war for 16 years! This is the perfect opportunity to discuss where VDH has been wrong since 9/11. The great Mencius Moldbug said it best:

    “Meanwhile, competing branches of the US government still engage in Third World proxy wars, in which the Defense Department and its political allies and satellites (the Republican Party, the arms and energy industry, Israel) face off against the State Department and its allies and satellites (the Democratic Party, the NGOs and universities, Europe, Palestine). The true nature of these conflicts, which would end instantly if the US was under unitary leadership, or even if both American factions could agree to cut off all ‘aid’ to all their foreign satellites, is admitted by no one. It is considered entirely normal that the US often arms, and always talks with, both sides of these bizarre, incurable pseudo-wars.”

    It is not so much a question of whether McMaster is on the Blue Team (probably is), but that the whole point of the Greatness Agenda is to STOP this sort of thing.

  • John Milton

    “Meanwhile, competing branches of the US government still engage in Third World proxy wars, in which the Defense Department and its political allies and satellites (the Republican Party, the arms and energy industry, Israel) face off against the State Department and its allies and satellites (the Democratic Party, the NGOs and universities, Europe, Palestine). The true nature of these conflicts, which would end instantly if the US was under unitary leadership, or even if both American factions could agree to cut off all “aid” to all their foreign satellites, is admitted by no one. It is considered entirely normal that the US often arms, and always talks with, both sides of these bizarre, incurable pseudo-wars.”

    – Mencius Moldbug

  • BillyBatson

    The fact FACT that “Actions Speak Louder Than Words” is abundantly clear in McMaster’s conduct rather than his words….Which are also, to say the least… Suspect!
    If nothing else, McMaster is a threat that cannot be tolerated in this situation of the success or failure of Trump’s agender to “Make America Great Again”.

  • Left Coaster

    As Trump becomes weaker, those around him will either become leaders or they will become scapegoats.

    Thus far, Mattie and McMaster are ignoring Trump’s doctrine, if any doctrine even exists.

    • Sandy Daze

      silly.

  • Left Coaster

    Trump is a weak President and becoming weaker quickly.

    Trump can either change himself (won’t happen) or

    Trump can do what his Generals tell him to do (works until his Generals start ignoring Trump completely) or

    Trump can just keep tweeting (likely) until he is no longer President.

    Weakness is hard to change.

    • Sandy Daze

      wrong.

  • JMIII

    I know LTG McMaster from his academy days. I find it hard to believe him as a deep state disruptor. He is a professional soldier and patriot. He may not agree 100% with the President, but we don’t need a bunch of yes men working for President Trump. If there is hard evidence that he is deliberately undermining the President, then he will have to go. But so far, it seems he wants “his people” in place and he is trying to do a difficult and important job. The security of the US should not be a political football to generate clicks and ratings. Lets give the President and his security staff the opportunity to tackle the very serious security situation left behind by Presidents Bush and Obama.

    • Left Coaster

      Fortunately, these generals will ignore Trump.

      That’s all that matters.

      • JMIII

        The generals should not ignore the President. However, they should keep out of the political BS going on and focus on giving the President the best advice and faithfully executing their tasks. It is not the role of the military to decide the national policy. However, it is the role of the President’s advisers to give him their best, honest advice and allow the President to make the decisions. Then faithfully execute, even if they don’t agree. If they can’t do that, rip of the stars and go home. This is not South America.

  • Left Coaster

    Trump is a very weak President.

    And it shows.

    • gda

      I can see you’re all dazed and confused. Obama’s gone, old man, and just because the new POTUS’s name has the same number of letters, and an “M” in the same position doesn’t mean he’s weak like the O man.

    • BillyBatson

      So it’s a “weak” President that has the liberal-progressives running so scared they create and publish ‘fake news’ rather than truth.
      What a bunch of spineless, mindless twits you are!

    • Sandy Daze

      no.

  • Bloviating Ignoramus

    So appeasement works as long as it is accompanied by an unhinged “process and temperament”, to the point where the other loons on the world stage are gaslighted into submission. Damn good thing the Russians don’t have your brain.

    • gda

      I’m confused. Obama was the appeaser. Are you just being true to your moniker here? Or what?

      • Bloviating Ignoramus

        Read the article. if it seems we are going too slow in refuting the Iran deal, the disagreement is probably over a matter of tactics: an Iran emboldened by appeasement will inevitably violate and doom its own sweetheart accords, rather than having us do it first and get into a kerfuffle with profit-mongering European opportunist allies

        • Varian

          VDH is talking about Obama’s appeasement, which “works” only to make waiting for Iran to violate the accords the more effective strategy.

  • new MarcH

    Besides VDH, LGEN McMaster has support from the following Iran expert-hawks and men of honor: Sen. Tom Cotton, Mike Doran author of the seminal 2015 article “Obama’s Secret Iran Strategy”, Mark Dubowitz (CEO of FDD, http://www.defenddemocracy.org/about-fdd/team-overview/dubowitz-mark/), as well as President Donald Trump (for whom I campaigned and whose opinion I trust) . That, and McMaster’s devoted and distinguished career of Army service and combat should give pause to the cyber-lynch mob. Caroline Glick, Michael Ledeen and Paul Mirrengoff are analysts whose opinions I respect and who are concerned/opposed to McM. I’d like to hear more from them. But a lot of the hoopla is being pushed by self-promoters such as Roger Stone, Pamela Gellar and Mike Cernovich, none of whom I would rely on for an informed opinion on Iran or for anything more than click-bait.

  • gda

    Blah, blah, blah. Bottom line for me? I trust in Trump. He will keep McMaster as long as he is useful, and squeeze all the juice out of him before discarding.

    Just Trust in Trump.

    • Paul52

      When confronted with the fact that Putin is a killer and massive kleptocrat, trump’s response is to defend him and say that America is no better.
      And you want us to trust a man with those instincts? The way people who maxed out their credit to pay for “Trump University” did?
      If a liberal had said that America is no better than Putin’s Russia, you’d call for the death penalty for treason.

      • CosmotKat

        When he gives $1.5B to the Muslim Brotherhood like the Obama administration did then I will be concerned, but your hyperventilating over Russia is moronic and tiresome especially in lieu of the fact the only collusion occurred between the Clinton’s and the failed former president Obama.

        • Paul52

          This isn’t about collusion, or interference.
          It’s about admiration of an authoritarian, murdering, racketeer.

          • CosmotKat

            You mean the same murdering, racketeer and authoritarian the failed former president, Obama, said he would be more flexible with in his dealings with him once re-elected? Please spare my your hypocrisy.

          • +1

      • Brother John the Deplorable

        There’s a difference between a liberal saying something and an American saying the same thing.

  • LastBestHope

    Dr. Hanson is telling patriots to calm down about media “leaks” that portray infighting, dysfunction and aimlessness inside the Trump WH. Not true.

    * It’s disinformation. (Pence not planning a 2020 run)
    * It’s meant to undermine this administration. (Tillerson is not walking away)
    * Russiagate is a slow drip coup attempt (not gonna succeed)

    If McMaster is a problem, Trump will move him out.

    Ignore state media

  • Paul52

    Agreed that babysitters are good things when a 7 year old has run of a 200 year old building with about 65 rooms.

    • CosmotKat

      He still beats the three year former occupant who decided that criminals and deviants should be on the invite list especially if they were the right skin color, gender or ethnicity.

      • Paul52

        Ted Nugent has the right skin color?

        • CosmotKat

          I don’t recall Obama inviting Ted Nugent to the white house, Paul. Your deflection didn’t work, boy.

  • Varian

    VDH makes a good try at portraying Trump’s weaknesses as strengths, but such efforts invariably go too far. Trump’s “political genius in winning the election” steals credit (blame) from a brain-dead primary electorate that left us to choose between the 2 worst candidates in US history. Unpredictability and volatility are not “needed” to improve on a foreign policy that made us “no worse friend or better enemy.” Intelligence and backbone would serve.

  • sly311

    McMaster has the Susan Rice millstone around his neck.

    • FeralCat

      Siblings from another mother. Peas in a Pod. Birds of a Feather.

  • FeralCat

    What an absurd article this is. But then VDH also wrote a book calling Petraeus a Savior General. The same Petraeus who, among so many other things, lied before a congressional subcommittee 3 days after the Benghazi 9/11 and blamed some video.

    McMaster has said that Islamic terrorism is not Islamic. McMaster has said that the Taliban (and ISIA and al Qaeda) have no religion. I guess he must think they are atheists. The Afghan Army numbers in the hundreds of
    thousands of Muslims, at least that many are being paid by us. So, here is they plan. Remove all remaining American and NATO troops from Afghanistan. Put McMaster in charge of the Afghan Army. Once he tells
    them that the Taliban have no religion they will be highly motivated to kill them all as Infidels, for Allah and Mohammad. Now if McMaster is right, he should be back home in almost no time. If it takes longer, well, he can just stay there
    until he gets the job done.

    If Herbert “Islam Denier” McMaster actually believes that Islamic terrorism is not Islamic and the Taliban (and ISIA and al Qaeda) have no religion, he is more insane than 99% of the people in America who are confined to insane asylums. If he does not believe it, he is on a level with Joseph Goebbels himself as a purveyor of the Big Lie.

  • NoUsurpers

    Old saying: personnel is policy. When Trump officials are comfortable operating with Obama political holdovers (or trying to hire liberal Democrats or Hillary supporters), it’s a very bad sign– of political disloyalty. Attacks on the generals are not coming from the “liberal media” or Never-Trumpers, as Hanson claims. If Daniel Greenfield’s latest assessment is accurate, then McMaster is purging the NSC of staff with realistic views about Islam, and inconsistent with those his boss holds. Wonder if Hanson knows any of the staff mentioned in Greenfield’s article? http://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/267473/mcmasters-nsc-coup-against-trump-purges-critics-daniel-greenfield

  • WRBaker

    I’m struck by the irony. McMaster, Mattis and Kelly have no Vietnam service and Afghanistan still confounds all the powers that be.
    McMaster has been heralded for his book on Vietnam, yet he wants to send more troops to the Vietnam-look-alike (just pretend Pakistan is NVN) that Afghanistan closely resembles.
    On another tack, I can’t recall a single flag officer resigning due to Obama’s ineptness either.
    Further, wonder if the intel at CENTCOM is any better now or are the constraints still in effect?

  • vladdy

    Thanks to everyone for putting down the facts as they exist about the ultimate obama hold-over. (Well, too, there is Rosenstein…and Mueller. There’s a sort of contest going on for that title). Anyway, it’s been stated repeatedly, by too many sources, that, along with Dina Powell and yes, others, in the security strongholds of our country, these few are NOT aligned with the wishes of the American people and have proven that their ties/affinities/appeasements to/with/of the muslim brotherhood are a danger to the country. Neither we nor PDT is as safe as we should be because of this.