Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Will New NSA McMaster Shake Things Up?

A Russia hawk and a Russian peace proposal that perhaps wasn't

A week after Donald Trump asked Mike Flynn to resign from his post as national security advisor, the president has announced another Army general, H.R. McMaster, as Flynn’s replacement. If there are any worthwhile objections to McMaster's appointment among the broad national security, military, and political realms, I have yet to read them. The universal admiration for Trump's pick is reminiscent of his selection of Neil Gorsuch for the Supreme Court vacancy—something conservatives, moderates, and even a few liberals are happy about.

McMaster's military service and leadership are well known and well regarded in national security circles. His 1998 book Derelicition of Duty about the mismanagement of the Vietnam War at the top of the command chain was a popular read among commanders in Iraq. McMaster was one of those commanders, leading the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment to take back the northern Iraq town of Tal Afar from al Qaeda in 2005. He was instrumental in developing the surge strategy with David Petraeus. McMaster is also perceived as fairly hawkish on Russia, which contrasts him greatly with Flynn and the president himself.

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