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Monday, May 29, 2017

Trump's State and Military Disconnect

The Washington Post reported today that there is a significant disconnect between US foreign policy and military action and influence. It stems from two things: 1) Trump's skewed influence by military leaders that he has staffed, and 2) the State Department is understaffed and unable to counter military influence.

The result is shown by the military ready to beef up Afghanistan and embark on the more aggressive action, even when the State Department may be put at unacceptably higher risk and unable to perform the diplomatic role effectively.

This is what I describe as the effect of having the presence of a President, an illegitimate one, who wields decision-making power. He is dangerous, and the nation is at risk.

"Military’s influence in National Security Council could shift U.S. foreign policy 
Eight out of 25 senior positions on the council are held by current or former military officers, and a recent disconnect between the White House and State Department over a change in strategy for Afghanistan illustrated the influence that they hold in the Trump administration. 
By Missy Ryan and Greg Jaffe
"Unbeknown to the White House, America’s top diplomat was not on board: Tillerson, who heads a department that some White House officials described as “AWOL” during the review process, didn’t think the plan did enough to address other countries in the region with a stake in Afghanistan, such as Pakistan, Iran, and India, a person familiar with his thinking said. Tillerson also was concerned that the plan called for beefing up the State Department’s presence in dangerous locations outside Kabul. 
Even though the State Department remains understaffed at its top ranks, department officials said it had been an active participant in the review and insisted that a final decision on the emerging plan was probably weeks away. A State Department spokesman declined to comment on the ongoing discussions until “the group arrives at a decision point.” 
The Washington Post

Rex Tillerson before becoming Secretary of State


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