President Obama ran his 2008 campaign on the redistribution of wealth. After eight years in office he closes with redistribution of power.
This transfer of power was picked up by Russia in Ukraine and Syria, China in the waterways from northern Japan to Australia (including this week’s stealing of an American underwater drone), North Korea which benefited from the Clinton Administration’s nuclear weapons deal, and Iran which now rewarded by Obama’s weapons deal.
From claiming ISIS was junior varsity team to drawing red lines with disappearing ink, to supporting Morsi in Egypt and Maliki in Iraq while both were committing genocide against their own people, Obama and his foreign policy have been a complete failure.
Now we have ISIS members embedded with the refugees trying to escape the horror of the Middle East, migrating to Europe and North America. There should be no doubt the source and type of terrorist attacks currently happening in Asia and Europe will be coming in force to the United States.
Obama did inherit a mess from his predecessor. Now Trump inherits an even bigger mess. He will not succeed unless he surrounds himself with the right people. The president-elect has already done well with his selections of retired Marine General James “Mad Dog” Mattis as Secretary of Defense and former Airborne Ranger Vincent Viola as Secretary of the Army. If the morale and spirit of the armed forces are to be recognized as an indication of these selections, then Trump did right. Service-members of all ranks are looking forward to having leaders dedicated to national defense instead of managers focused on social experimentation.
Another position that needs a desperate fix is the National Security Advisor. The current advisor, Susan Rice, still believes combat deserter Bowe Bergdahl “served with honor and distinction.” A failed National Security Advisor is not just a Democratic Party problem. It was Condoleezza Rice who neglected to support Secretary of State Colin Powell’s position of “Let diplomacy work.”
With no independent broker serving as the National Security Advisor to the president, the United States entered a country in which we had no business being. For decades, Pentagon leaders knew the fine balance of power between Iraq and Iran had to be maintained. Had Rice done her job right and convinced President Bush to stay out of Iraq, the Middle East would not be in meltdown, and 4,488 American service-members would still be alive.
For National Security Advisor, Trump has made another good decision with retired General Michael Flynn. Battle-seasoned in Grenada, Iraq, and Afghanistan, Flynn became the 18th Commanding General of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA). This was the same agency that gave in to Donald Rumsfeld and reverse engineered reports that wrongfully justified the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq. The command needed to be fixed and mindsets needed to be changed. Despite the complaints of the entrenched bureaucrats, General Flynn brought DIA into the 21st century.
General Flynn also continued with his long-term goal of fixing another problem. As the Senior Anti-terrorism Officer for all Coalition Forces in Iraq, I was more hostile than anyone else to the intelligence community hording information from the warriors who really needed it. To our relief were Generals like Mike Flynn and Rick Zahner who pushed their subordinates to work with the ground warriors and get critical information out to the field.
These two lead a culture change that saved a lot of lives. This was the anchor of Flynn’s paper, “VISION2020: Accelerating Change through Integration.” Flynn looked to the future and recognized the need for the entire intelligence community to innovate and integrate. He also recognized that technology was useless if the information produced did not get to the people who needed it.
Then came the down side. Against the Obama Administration’s desires, General Flynn refused to claim Al Qaeda was nearing defeat as Obama himself claimed. Flynn also raised the concern of Turkey ignoring ISIS activities in Syria. Adding fuel to the flames of the Oval Office, Flynn pointed out that the administration’s lack of support to the Syrian rebels was working to the advantage of Islamic Extremist elements.
Like Jack Nicholson’s line out of “A Few Good Men,” President Obama could not handle the truth. Obama wanted the same thing as Rumsfeld – reports to justify his predetermined agenda.
General Flynn was doing what he had been trained to do for years: exercising the harder right over the easier wrong, and delivered accurate assessments. He followed the example set by General Shinseki in the disagreement with Rumsfeld over the number of troops necessary to invade and stabilize Iraq. Like Shinseki, General Flynn was pushed out by a senior who wanted only reports supporting misinformation being presented to the American people.
Once again, General Flynn is being called to duty. President Trump will have a National Security Advisor dedicated to presenting the unvarnished truth about national security and international threats. President Trump has made a good choice and our nation will be the benefactor.