In light of the cataclysmic announcement by the buffoon in charge of the country yesterday, giving a nuclear ultimatum to North Korea, I was spurred to research the National Security Council (NSC) after seeing this headline –
“Trump and Gen. John Kelly ‘are and have been in constant contact with the NSC team ahead of fire and fury comments’, spokeswoman says.”
Given the utter chaos and incompetence of this administration, I felt compelled to see if there was anything in the NSC to find hope in. Among the first headlines one finds after searching NSC:
“…as the U.S. inches closer to war with North Korea, the White House body charged with discussing and coordinating U.S. foreign policy is engulfed in what one administration official called a ‘poisonous environment.’ “(1)
Not off to a great start. Let’s have a look into who exactly this team is and what it is supposed to be doing.
The National Security Council (NSC) is the principal forum used by the president of the United States for consideration of national security and foreign policy matters with senior national security advisors and Cabinet officials and is part of the executive office of the president of the United States. (2)
It is comprised of the following individuals:
The President – a washed up, narcissistic reality TV host (3), failed businessman (4), and con-man (5).
The Vice President – a fanatical religious zealot who supports gay conversion therapy, called gay marriage an example of “societal collapse”, believes HIV is God’s punishment for being gay, (6), and has no foreign policy experience. Let’s not forget that he also once had a radio show where he referred to himself as “Rush Limbaugh on decaf” (7).
Secretary of State – former Exxon CEO with no foreign policy experience who has decimated State Department morale (8) and whose leadership is described as failing to fill numerous senior positions across the State Department, promulgating often incoherent policies, and systematically shutting out career foreign service officers from decision-making” (9)
Secretary of Defense – Gen. Mattis. I don’t have anything negative to say about Gen. Mattis, except that he apparently is on vacation (10).
Secretary of Energy – former Dancing with the Stars contestant who once shot a wolf while out jogging, and who does not know the mission of the Department he is in charge of (11).
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff – Joseph Dunford. I don’t know anything about him, but he has pissed off the writers at usdefensewatch.com (a crazy ultra religious ultra right wing website) so he is probably ok. (12)
Director of National Intelligence – Dan Coats, anti LGBT rights and anti gay marriage advocate who fought against gays serving in the military, whose only intelligence experience was briefly as a member of the Senate Intel Committee. (13)
Director of National Drug Control Policy – Acting Director Richard Baum, who has been on the job for about 3 months. Not much written about him.
National Security Advisor – H.R. McMaster.
Deputy National Security Advisor – Ricky Waddell.
Homeland Security Advisor – Tom Bossert.
Attorney General – Jeff Sessions. Racist, anti immigrant, lied to Congress, and has little or no foreign policy experience that I can find.
White House Chief of Staff – Gen. Kelly. I don’t know much about him but I think it does give some insight into his mind to know that he said “If you knew what I knew about terror, you’d ‘never leave the house’ (14)
In addition to the more or less standardized members, there are a number of other players with influence over the NSC and who advise the President. Chief among them are Jared Kushner – someone with no government or political knowledge or experience (15), an appetite for revenge (16), and a disdain for the press (17). His only actual work experience appears to have been in selling real estate. The other power broker in the kakistocracy is Steve Bannon, who was appointed to the NSC, fired from the NSC, and apparently continues to attend meeting of the NSC (18). Bannon in fact is a White House aid with a broad portfolio and unclear powers (19). Bannon as most folks know, is a white nationalist who ran a racist newspaper and has no foreign policy experience, whose stated goal is the “destruction of the administrative state” (20)
If this wasn’t worrisome enough, the NSC has been in a constant state of chaos since the coup in November 2016, with many members being fired, shuffled around, and with a number of critical staff positions left vacant or headed by interim directors.
- Derek Harvey top advisor on the Middle East – fired 27 Jul 17 (21)
- K.T. McFarland, National Security Advisor – fired 9 Apr 17 (22)
- Michael Flynn, National Security Advisor – resigned 13 Feb 17
- Richard Higgins, NSC Director of Strategic Planning – 21 Jul 17 (23)
- Ezra Cohen-Watnick, Director of Intelligence – fired 2 Aug 17
We are left with an administration who is unable to articulate what the US foreign policy is with regards to North Korea (24) (the following is cribbed from this same article):
- March 16: “A different approach”
- March 17: “The era of strategic patience is over”
- April 2: “If China is not going to solve North Korea, we will”
- April 4: “We’ve said enough”
- April 9: Dispatching the U.S.S. Carl Vinson
- April 16: “The patience of the United States has run out”
- April 19: “The sword stands ready”
- April 26: “Return to the path of dialogue”
- April 27: “Obviously, direct talks would be the way we would like to solve this”
- April 27: “A major, major conflict with North Korea”
- April 28: “Before we can ever consider talks North Korea must take concrete steps to reduce the threat that its illegal weapons programs pose”
Now fast forward to July and August, and we see more confusion, not only with regards to the policies, but we have our own administration contradicting itself:
- Jul 3 US flies two B-1B bombers over North Korea
- Jul 4 Tillerson – U.S. seeks the peaceful denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula (25)
- Jul 4 Tillerson – Pyongyang government “a dangerous regime” and said the United States would seek “stronger measures” at the UN Security Council to hold the North Koreans accountable for the latest missile test (26)
- Jul 31 Nikki Haley – it’s time for action on North Korea: ‘The time for talk is over’ (27)
- Aug 1 US does not blame China for escalating tensions with North Korea and would like to seek a dialogue with Kim Jong-un’s regime (28)
- Aug 8 Trump Threatens ‘Fire and Fury’ Against North Korea if It Endangers U.S. (29)
- Aug 9 Trump’s threat to North Korea was “improvised” (30)
Essentially, our comprehensive US foreign policy is a roulette wheel. Every day one of the incompetent morons in the administration has to spin it (probably the same person who gives Trump his report on how great he is (31) ), and then report whatever it says to the world.
We have, up until now, crisis created solely by this team of idiots in the White House, whose primary accomplishment this far has been to wage terrorism on the citizens of the United States.
What will happen when we are faced with a real crisis.
Daniel Cashman, EAMP, MS (AOM)