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Should we be reassured by President Trump’s choice of National Security Advisor?
Whether one loves or hates the people that President Trump appointed to be the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of State, or any other member of the Cabinet, one ought to approve of his choice of National Security Advisor. The new National Security Advisor is General H.R. McMaster, a very intelligent man who is willing to tell some difficult truths. Not a huge amount of information is known about him, but some evidence has emerged that he believes in waging war only cautiously and defensively.
How warlike the Trump administration will turn out to be is not easy to predict – will he be more warlike even than George W Bush was, or is he an isolationist that will stay out of foreign conflicts? Some of those who voted for Trump justified their decision is part based on the fact that he does not intend to antagonize Russia, but he has undoubtedly also made some very warlike comments.
His choice for the National Security Advisor does suggest that the Trump administration may not end up being very warlike. McMaster is certainly no warmonger. His doctoral dissertation argued that the Vietnam war was lost before it began, as the war was based on deception. The Joint Chiefs of staff, in particular, were criticized for turning Vietnam into a confused and unwinnable war.
McMaster is also very worried about the military-industrial complex – the alliance between the nation’s military and the nation’s arms industry, which gives the arms industry the power to make political decisions. He claims that the military-industrial complex may be more dangerous today than at any other point in the history of its existence. He points to the existence of reports published by the arms manufacturing companies, essentially argue for war. McMaster also claims that the overall approach to war in the modern era is out of date, and does not accurately predict how enemy forces will react to military decisions. While the amount of power that McMaster will have to prevent needless military aggression as the National Security Advisor is limited, the appointment of someone so critical of the military to such a high position of power is reassuring.