Thursday, November 10, 2016

Trump’s Administration and A Glaring Lack of Expertise

There are many things to be fearful about a Trump presidency (I feel the urge to  be ill just typing the phrase), especially if one is LGBT and has followed the appointment of leading anti-gay extremists to Trump's transition tea.  But one thing that ought to terrify most Americans and which much of the lame main stream media is ignoring as they bloviate about the "smooth transition of power" is the frightening lack of experience and/or lunacy of  likely Trump appointees, particularly in the realm of foreign policy (although in other ways the thought of Ben Carson as Secretary of Education is equally terrifying).  

Driving home I heard part of a discussion on Steele & Ungar on satellite radio with Noah Rothman, editor of Commentary Magazine, that sent a cold chill down my spine.  Trump has been reportedly been maintaining an "enemies list' that notes the name of everyone in the GOP who did not support him.  The list includes the vast majority of GOP foreign policy experts.  The frightening result? Trump appointees will be lacking in experience and expertise and/or will be nut cases picked from groups to which Trump made campaign promises. Here are excerpts from Rothman's piece that I located:
“Everybody who has signed a never-Trump letter or indicated an anti-Trump attitude is not going to get a job. And that’s most of the Republican foreign policy, national security, intelligence, homeland security, and Department of Justice experience.”
This was the assessment of Paul Rosenzweig, a former senior official in George W. Bush’s Department of Homeland Security. He speculated that President-elect Donald Trump would not lack for top-tier GOP talent to fill high-profile Cabinet slots, but that thousands of positions at lower levels of the administration within the nation’s national security apparatus would be harder to staff.  Without the GOP expert class, the lower ranks of the Trump administration’s will be staffed with novices and political sycophants.
Trump ran explicitly on a message of resentment toward the expert class, whose members, he contended, were responsible for the increasingly dangerous international security environment. They returned the favor: Nearly 200 of Republican foreign policy and national security experts came out publicly against Trump as a candidate who could not be trusted to lead this nation’s armed forces.
Their denunciations of Donald Trump as fundamentally ill-suited to serve as commander-in-chief of the armed forces were thorough and compelling. But on Tuesday, they lost the argument. Now that the public has decided, the question is: Can Trump do without them? Doubtless, he and his people think they can. But there are literally thousands of jobs to fill here. Can the administration’s foreign and defense policy be managed without their institutional knowledge and expertise?
Trump has some dubious views when it comes to the conduct of American national affairs abroad. Foremost among them is his conspicuous deference to the geopolitical objectives of Russian President Vladimir Putin—objectives that often conflict with those of the United States. Trump has explicitly flirted with the notion of refusing to come to the aid of America’s NATO allies in the Baltic if they were attacked by Russia (a real and terrifying prospect). Trump has also indicated that he could outsource the job of fighting ISIS in Syria to Moscow, despite the clear evidence that Russia’s chief interest is in preserving the integrity of the Assad regime and the threats it faces from CIA-backed assets. 
Even if he is resistant to their advice, it would be better for him, the country, and the world, if Trump surrounded himself with advisers independent enough to argue that Vladimir Putin’s interests are antithetical to those of the nation he will soon swear to defend.
A sense of morality may prevent these and other skilled professionals in the public policy sector from seeking positions in the next administration. Certainly, Trump and his people are beginning their staffing plans by drawing up a do-not-hire list on which most of these names will appear. 
Trump and the movement he led is one that rejects expertise, as do almost all revolutionary/reactionary movements. But every revolutionary society that does away with its expert class soon finds that the mechanisms they had taken for granted soon cease to function.
There is no such thing as a competent administration without expertise, and the conduct of American military affairs is one area in which the president has almost sole discretion. 
Positions staffed by sycophants and/or those wit no experience or expertise.  Combined this with Russia confirmation that Trump's campaign was communication with Putin's regime throughout the campaign cycle and, to me at least, it is very disturbing.  The irony is, of course, that Trump's supporters back a campaign to "make America great again," but it may well be Russia and China, both of which remember their years of glory, who end up being the beneficiaries of Trump's policies.  Assuming he doesn't quickly get us into a nuclear war.

No comments: