McMaster and Mattis Are Rare Assets—Not Deep State Liabilities

Deep state liabilities or rare assets? Conservatives do not lack for published opinion and analysis to decide what they believe. One of the crazy parts of our side continuing to fail in the information war is the sheer volume of good material they produce.

The political right, conservatives, and Republicans are obviously not a monolith. Whatever label you want to affix, disagreement on the right has never been as loud as it has been since Donald Trump started his presidential campaign two years ago.

One recent intramural debate on the right has been about President Donald Trump’s choice for National Security Advisor, H.R. McMaster.

Here is a sampling of articles I came across (they are not in any particular order):

Trump Could Have Foreign Policy Accomplishments If He Fires McMaster

5 Reasons H.R. McMaster Is the Right Leader for a Tough President

“Everything the president wants to do, McMaster opposes,” say former NSC officials

Trump, McMaster meet amid purge of national security staffers, Susan Rice revelation

Time for Trump to Get Rid of McMaster

Brigitte Gabriel: ‘Politically Correct’ H.R. McMaster ‘Doesn’t See Eye-to-Eye’ with Trump on How to Defeat Islamic State

Added on the 7th: In Defense of Trump’s Generals (David French HATES! Trump).

Even after this back and forth, I decided I still didn’t know enough. Unfortunately, I respect people on both sides (so I had to stay neutral). But I also knew more opinions and information would follow. Sure enough, Victor Davis Hanson has now weighed in — here is the title of his article and an excerpt from it (if you make me come down on a side, count me with VDH):

McMaster and Mattis Are Rare Assets—Not Deep State Liabilities

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.

. . .

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.

Read more: American Greatness

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