Opinion and Analysis

This is a great way to put the changes on the National Security Council and the broader headlines in context with the various aspects of governing.


Let Bannon Be Bannon!

By David Brooks, NYT (March 17, 2017)

"Why is Bannonism being abandoned? One possibility is that there just aren't enough Trumpians in the world to staff an administration, so Trump and Bannon have filled their apparatus with old guard Republicans who continue to go about their jobs in old guard pseudo-libertarian ways."

Zut Alors: Bannon's Taste for Franco-Fascists

By Ed Kilgore, New York Magazine (March 17, 2017)

"So at what point do Bannon's rather disreputable influences become relevant to the advice he is offering Donald Trump?"

Trump Defense Spending Increase Could Actually Make the U.S. Less Safe

By Lawrence J. Korb, Fortune (March 5, 2017)

Lawrence J. Korb served as Assistant Secretary of Defense during the Reagan administration. He is currently a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress.

Jeff Sessions Violated His Oath

By David Leonhardt, NYT (Mar. 3, 2017)

The fact that Sessions' second meeting with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak occurred well after the story of Russia's interference in the presidential election had broken would make such a meeting hard to forget, argues David Leonhardt.

Jeff Sessions Had No Choice

By The Editorial Board, NYT (Mar. 2, 2017)

"It's hard to decide what is more disturbing: that so many top officials in Donald Trump's presidential campaign and administration were in contact with the Russian government during and after the campaign, or that they keep neglecting to tell the truth."

Trump's Bigger Military May Not Be Better

By The Editorial Board, Bloomberg (Mar. 2, 2017)

"Like a lot of his plans, Donald Trump's proposal for military spending is both abundantly clear and maddeningly vague."

The Trump presidency ushers in a new age of militarism

By Ishaan Tharoor, The Washington Post (March 1, 2017)

Trump isn't an isolationist, he's a militarist. And the Trump administration's "embrace of the military is as much - if not more - about creating an ethos than making new policy."

Bannon and Trump are out for revenge

By Jennifer Rubin, The Washington Post (Feb. 24, 2017)

"The conclusion one is drawn to over and over is that Bannon and Trump are living out a cultural revenge fantasy."

NSA Deputy Director: Why I Spent the Last 40 Years In National Security

By Rick Ledgett, TIME (Feb. 24, 2017)

Current Deputy Director of the National Security Agency Rick Ledgett explains how his decision to join the U.S. Army in order to earn money for college turned into a career of service: "What happened along the way was that I discovered the fulfillment that comes from serving the nation and its allies, working with some of the most amazing people on the planet, on the most challenging problems we face."

What LT. Gen. H.R. McMaster will offer as new national security adviser

By Paula Broadwell, The Hill (Feb. 23, 2017)

"In a scathing arraignment [in his book about civil-military relations during the Vietnam era, Dereliction of Duty], McMaster illustrates how civilian leaders circumvented military officials; lied, prevaricated, and deceived their advisors; and deliberately withheld information from Congress and the American people about the Vietnam War strategy.
Fast forward several decades, and one can see that Lieutenant General McMaster, the new pick for national security adviser, will ostensibly become one of the characters in his book."

Now, Let General McMaster Do His Job

By The Editorial Board, NYT (Feb. 21, 2017)

The New York Times Editorial Board argues that in order for incoming National Security Advisor McMaster to be effective, President Trump will have to allow him to exercise his operational judgment while he acclimates himself to White House politics. Chief among the Editorial Board's suggestions for steps the president can take to make General McMaster's job easier: remove Steve Bannon from the National Security Council.

Can McMaster Stabilize Trump's Foreign Policy Team?

By Jonathan Stevenson, NYT (Feb. 21, 2017)

"Monday’s appointment of Lt. Gen. H. R. McMaster as national security adviser, after President Trump fired his predecessor, Michael T. Flynn, should augur at least a fleeting period of stability at the dysfunctional National Security Council."

Trump is failing in his global responsibility to control nuclear weapons

By James E. Goodby and Frederic B. Hill, Dallas News (Feb. 20, 2017)

"But President Donald Trump has failed in an even more critical aspect of the role of commander-in-chief. He has shown himself to be woefully lacking in understanding of his responsibility for the control of nuclear weapons."

I didn't think I'd ever leave the CIA. But because of Trump, I quit.

By Edward Price, Washington Post (Feb. 20, 2017)

"Despite working proudly for Republican and Democratic presidents, I reluctantly concluded that I cannot in good faith serve this administration as an intelligence professional."

McMaster will be a good teammate as national security adviser

By Jennifer Rubin, Washington Post (Feb. 20, 2017)

"In his role as national security adviser, he is supposed to be an honest broker, a presenter of information and formulator of choices for the president. Without his own axes to grind and with good working relations with Mattis, he has the opportunity to be an effective conduit between the president and the various foreign policy agencies and departments."

Congress: Act on Russian hostility

By Gael Tarleton, The Seattle Times (Feb. 16, 2017)

"Today, I believe our intelligence analysts are facing a terrible truth: they do not know whom they should trust in the White House or Congress."

Who Told Flynn to Call Russia?

By Daniel Benjamin, Politico Magazine (Feb. 14, 2017)

A lifelong intelligence officer suddenly engaged in diplomatic actions with a Russian ambassador. "If, as reported, he called five times in a single day, then he was on a mission, and probably not of his own devising."


The Political Assassination of Michael Flynn

By Eli Lake, Bloomberg (Feb. 14, 2017)

If we are to believe the Trump White House, National Security Adviser Michael Flynn just resigned because he lied about his conversations with Russia's ambassador to the vice president. As White House senior counselor Kellyanne Conway told NBC's "Today Show" on Tuesday: "Misleading the vice president really was the key here."


National Security Council leakers worried Trump might arrest them

By Ed Straker, American Thinker (Feb. 13, 2017)

If you're a left-leaning member of the National Security Council and you're unhappy with the duly elected president, what do you do?  Why, leak details of classified discussions and pending operations to the media, of course!

"The National Security Council is intended to help presidents make sense of the daunting world of foreign policy and security threats. Not so in the Trump administration. "


Things Are Pretty Screwed Up At the National Security Council Right Now

By Rachel Vorona Cote, Jezebel (Feb. 11, 2017)

"Historically, the National Security Council has served as the President’s primary resource for determining issues of national security and foreign policy. In a volatile global climate, it is an especially critical forum for strategy and advising. So, it’s all the more disconcerting that ever since Trump’s inauguration, the council’s organizational structure has crumpled."