THE 23 national security advisers who served Donald Trump’s predecessors included two army or marine generals. On February 20th Mr Trump equalled that tally in less than a month, by appointing Lieutenant-General H.R. McMaster to succeed his disgraced former adviser, Mike Flynn.
Like the belligerent Mr Flynn, whom Mr Trump sacked after 23 days in the job, after it was revealed that he had lied about a private conversation with a Russian diplomat, Mr McMaster appears to conform to the president’s idea of a fire-breathing war-fighter. He is stocky, bullishly charismatic and as a young tank commander in the first Gulf war was decorated for his battlefield prowess. After bumping into an Iraqi armoured column, Mr McMaster’s troop of nine American tanks destroyed 80 Iraqi tanks and other vehicles without suffering a single loss.
Also like Mr Flynn, who was once an innovative intelligence officer, Mr McMaster is a free-thinker. His doctoral thesis in military history was a coruscating takedown of the pliant Vietnam-era military leadership, later published as a book entitled “Dereliction of Duty”. Yet there the comparison ends. By the time of his appointment Mr…Continue reading