Small Wars Journal

McMaster Will Be a Good Teammate as National Security Adviser

Mon, 02/20/2017 - 9:42pm

McMaster Will Be a Good Teammate as National Security Adviser by Jennifer Rubin, Washington Post

… McMaster is highly respected in the conservative foreign policy community, and a man with little pretense and a great deal of battlefield experience. “H.R. McMaster is widely respected as a terrific combat leader and also as a brilliant scholar and writer,” says Tim Kane, a Hoover fellow. “He is the whole package. McMaster will speak truth to power and, frankly, his selection reflects extremely well on President Trump.”

Unlike his predecessor, who many would say was “wound too tight,” McMaster is forceful but not tense, with a good sense of humor. He is, as one foreign policy academic put it, a “straight arrow.” This is not a man to promote coddling with Russia or to buy into the notion that NATO is a burden or to indict the entire Muslim world. He’s no Michael T. Flynn — and that’s a good thing. Thomas Donnelly of the American Enterprise Institute tells me, “He may be the best possible outcome under the circumstances.”…

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. If the strategy for surviving the Trump years and quarantining Stephen K. Bannon is to provide coherent, unified and persuasive advice without political interference, you’d want someone like McMaster, a no-nonsense manager who can create whenever possible a united front with Mattis, Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson, director of national intelligence nominee Dan Coats, CIA director Mike Pompeo and others. That still leaves the problem of Trump’s judgment, conflicts of interest, honesty and impulsivity, but at least the foreign policy apparatus won’t be a cause of his failures…

Read on.