Nicholas Kristof from today’s NYT.
The announcement that Trump has recruited Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn as national security adviser is particularly alarming. Flynn is smart and knows the world very well, but he was fired from his last government job for incompetence. Worse, he today is regarded by many Republican and Democratic foreign policy specialists as a kook.
It’s all complicated. Flynn had a brilliant military career and did an outstanding job in Iraq and Afghanistan. Five years ago, he was widely admired as the best intelligence officer of his generation.
Then President Obama nominated Flynn to become director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, and he began to unravel. He turned out to be a catastrophic manager. Colin Powell, former secretary of state, explained in hacked emails why Flynn was fired: “abusive with staff, didn’t listen, worked against policy, bad management.” Powell added that ever since, Flynn has been “right-wing nutty.”
Flynn was proved right on one important point: His argument that the Obama administration was too passive about Islamic militants after the killing of Osama bin Laden. But Flynn’s former fans have been bewildered at his raging denunciation of Islam, including calling it a “cancer.” In February, Flynn also tweeted and asked others to forward a viciously bigoted video that argued that there could be no such thing as Islamophobia.
There is also this. (links are Mr. Kristof’s)
Why ungoverning? Doesn’t Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn simply represent a Republican view of national security and the threats we as a country face?
I’d argue that wishing to pursue security with the ideas or management of someone like Lt. Gen. Flynn will make us less secure. Unless that is we wish to pursue a fortress US domestic and foreign policy where we are exceptional and right and others may not share the divine providence we do and are definitely not correct.
I believe this type of security based on fear-mongering (see videos below) may actually serve to protect US citizens, but it also serves the purpose of furthering political goals and it is not clear which is the primary function.
Focus for a minute on the winners and losers from a favoring the language of a clash of civilizations rather than focusing on quiet and smart diplomacy. It is the right-wing of both civilizations – those that favor militarism and conflict to achieve power then remain in power.
I think Lt. General Michael Flynn’s support of Turkey’s conservative Islamist Erdoğan is a perfect vignette of the principle that this is really less about a class of civilizations as sold to their supporters, and more about self interests which may be as mundane as a paycheck or as profound as using conflict to maintain political control of a country.
If this means we have to further inflame a region of our globe with the results of the death of hundreds of thousands and disrupting the lives of tens of millions of others, so be it.
And in my opinion, these policies will not make US citizens safer. I believe they will only help to insure a continued home for the type of fear and irrational policies that these types of videos would like to, well, monger. Thus completing and continuing our role in the international the cycle of violence.
And while we are on the subject of stoking irrational fear of Muslims, here is another video from this past campaign cycle that resulted in the election of Donald Trump, who then appoints people like Lt. Gen. Flynn
More on this video from Right Wing Watch: Pro-Trump Group Releases Bizarre ‘Islamic States Of America’ Ad