I did not comment on the firing of Rex Tillerson, Secretary of State or Andrew McCabe, Deputy Director of the FBI. In both cases, I was really hoping that Trump would not fire them. Rex Tillerson seemed to be working in the same mode as John Kerry and Hillary Clinton, with a lot of travel and face to face meetings. I think this was particularly important. He did not take sides in the Saudi Arabia – Qatar crisis, as Trump had done, but stated we would help facilitate an eventual end to the blockade of Qatar. He understood the priority should be in Middle East unity in fighting terrorism, and Qatar with a US military base has helped this effort. Trump on the other hand, seems to want to intensify the Sunni-Shia rift, siding with the Saudi’s and against Iran.
There are hot spots all over the world, Yemen, Somalia, Libya and northern Syria. It is the United States “soft power” that helps keep the peace. Proxy wars intensify as outsiders supply the equipment, making any negotiations more difficult. Syria, Libya and Yemen are classic proxy wars. There should be widespread condemnation of massive human rights violations, the most recent on in the ethnic cleaning in Myanmar of the Rohingya, the 600,000 survivors of this genocide are now living in Bangladesh. I don’t think Mike Pompeo is ready to look beyond partisan politics.
There is no question that Andrew McCabe was fired from the FBI, as was Director James Comey, because he was doing his job, and would not be influenced by politics. Russian meddling in the US elections to help Trump win the elections did happen. The manner of the firing of Tillerson, Comey and McCabe, through Twitter or the media, showed Trump could a very mean and disrespectful.
Now, I am very fearful of Trump’s new administration selections, Mike Pompeo, Secretary of State and John Bolton, National Security Adviser.
The most urgent decision is on Iran, and the likely US pull out of the Iran nuclear accord in May 2018. In the House, Mike Pompeo led the charge against the Iran Nuclear Deal. The New Times editorial on John Bolton, was scathing:
Yes, John Bolton is really that bad
The good thing about John Bolton, President Trump’s new national security adviser, is that he says what he thinks.
The bad thing is what he thinks.
There are few people more likely than Mr. Bolton is to lead the country into war. His selection is a decision that is as alarming as any Mr. Trump has made. His selection, along with the nomination of the hard-line C.I.A. director, Mike Pompeo, as secretary of state, shows the degree to which Mr. Trump is indulging his worst nationalistic instincts.
Mr. Bolton, in particular, believes the United States can do what it wants without regard to international law, treaties or the political commitments of previous administrations.
He has argued for attacking North Korea to neutralize the threat of its nuclear weapons, which could set off a horrific war costing tens of thousands of lives. At the same time, he has disparaged diplomatic efforts, including the talks planned in late May between Mr. Trump and the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un. He not only wants to abrogate the six-party deal that, since 2015, has significantly limited Iran’s nuclear program; he has called for bombing Iran instead. He has also maligned the United Nations and other multilateral conventions, as Mr. Trump has done, favoring unilateral solutions.
Over a 30-year career in which he served three Republican presidents, including as United Nations ambassador and the State Department’s top arms control official, Mr. Bolton has largely disdained diplomacy and arms control in favor of military solutions; no one worked harder to blow up the 1994 agreement under which North Korea’s plutonium program was frozen for nearly eight years in exchange for heavy fuel oil and other assistance. The collapse of that agreement helped bring us to the crisis today, where North Korea is believed to have 20 or more nuclear weapons.
The editorial goes on to show how often Bolton dismissed diplomacy and US soft power to create a more peaceful world. Instead, the one well woven thread, was that we should use military action to support our objectives, no matter what the consequences were, including international condemnation. As National Security Adviser, Bolton does not need congressional approval.
One last entry into the White House staff, is combative lawyer Joseph diGenova, replacing John Dowd. As Trump explained, “I’m fucking do it my way” which is never be defensive, never apologize, but to launch an aggressive attack on those he considers in his way. It is more of “do them harm before they can get going at you.” DiGenova claimed the Russian investigation was all a big conspiracy, and Donald Trump was being framed. So, it’s fine to trash the Justice Department, FBI and CIA, as an acceptable defense. And of course, the mainstream media.
So, we have a case of out with the good or not so bad, Gen McMasters, Rex Tillerson, Andrew McCabe, and I guess John Dowd, and in with the bad to terrible, John Bolton, Mike Pompeo and Joseph DiGenova.
I have not added links to this story, as there are many editorials on the White House changes available on the Internet. The month of May is looking to be particularly bad, with both the North Korea summit and the Iran Nuclear Deal on the table.