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Foreign Affairs

White House Leaks Target National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster

Written by Philip Hodges

According to leaks reported by Bloomberg and The Hill, there’s significant infighting between President Trump and his national security advisor Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster who replaced Michael Flynn.

At the heart of their contention is a fierce disagreement over foreign policy, and in particular the prospect of endless Middle East wars. McMaster is an establishment-friendly, D.C. insider. Naturally, he loves the idea of never-ending wars and constant intervention, specifically in weak, mostly defenseless nations half-way around the world who pose absolutely no threat to the United States.

Trump, on the other hand, doesn’t like that idea, according to these rumors. (I hope these ‘leaks’ are true.) He campaigned on a more humble foreign policy, and one with no nation-building. As president, he’s wanted to maintain that stance, but has been as of yet unable to completely follow through.

The recent development that we reported on recently was the prospect of sending some 3,000 additional troops to Afghanistan. Apparently, that decision comes at the advise of McMaster. And Trump isn’t too keen on the idea. Here’s The Hill:

“[Steve] Bannon is a core architect of ‘America first’ unilateralism and has no interest in continuing forever-wars that lack support among the base in the region,” said Ian Bremmer, the president of the international consulting firm Eurasia Group. 

“Afghanistan is pretty much the last U.S. intervention you’d want your name attached to. If Trump ends up going with the generals’ recommendation and increasing troops there, the America first-ers will want to make sure McMaster takes the fall when it — inevitably, in their view — goes badly.”

On Tuesday, anonymous White House officials opposed to the proposed Afghanistan offensive described the plan to The Washington Post as “McMaster’s War.”

[…]

And while Trump has given his generals and military advisers more autonomy, McMaster could have difficulty convincing the president to spring for more troops in Afghanistan.

Trump ran on an “America first” platform that is at odds with the U.S. becoming further embroiled in Afghanistan.

Eli Lake with Bloomberg reported:

White House officials tell me Trump himself has clashed with McMaster in front of his staff.

On policy, the faction of the White House loyal to senior strategist Steve Bannon is convinced McMaster is trying to trick the president into the kind of nation building that Trump campaigned against. Meanwhile the White House chief of staff, Reince Priebus, is blocking McMaster on a key appointment.

McMaster’s allies and adversaries inside the White House tell me that Trump is disillusioned with him. This professional military officer has failed to read the president  — by not giving him a chance to ask questions during briefings, at times even lecturing Trump.

[…]

Trump was livid, according to three White House officials, after reading in the Wall Street Journal that McMaster had called his South Korean counterpart to assure him that the president’s threat to make that country pay for a new missile defense system was not official policy. These officials say Trump screamed at McMaster on a phone call, accusing him of undercutting efforts to get South Korea to pay its fair share.

This was not an isolated incident.

Lake continues with narratives showing the contention between the Commander-in-Chief and his national security advisor.

Obviously, White House officials are not going to make this supposed infighting publicly known. If the ‘leaks’ represent reality, there’s no way Sean Spicer is going to acknowledge that.

The official word is that things are great between Trump and McMaster. “I couldn’t be happier with H.R. He’s doing a terrific job,” Trump said in a statement over the weekend.

But that is at odds with numerous White House ‘informants.’

Trump is the Commander-in-Chief. If he doesn’t like the idea of needless military intervention and endless wars, then he can put a stop to it. H.R. McMaster is not in charge.

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by EagleRising.com


About the author

Philip Hodges

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