I listened on Thursday (Sept. 24) to Trump’s former national security advisor, retired Lt. General H.R. McMaster, being interviewed by Andrea Mitchell about his new book, which in its very title Battlegrounds: The Fight to Defend the Free World, diverts attention away from the mortal threat to our democracy represented at home as well as abroad by Donald Trump.
McMaster told Mitchell that retired military officers should not takes sides between Biden and Trump because it would set a dangerous precedent. This was right after Trump had stepped up his statements about not agreeing to a peaceful transfer of power and continuing to show a willingness to send troops into Democratic cities to supposedly restore law and order. All while his white supremacist supporters chant at rallies: “12 more years!”
McMaster’s craven statement of neutrality came right after 489 military and civilian national security experts–including Gen. Paul Selva (USAF, Ret.), former vice chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under Trump–announced their support for Joe Biden because of the unprecedented threat that Putin’s man in the White House [my phrase, not theirs] represents.
As to the foreign policy situation, McMaster portrayed Trump’s hooray-for-dictators mistakes as no worse than those he believes Obama made.
McMaster claimed that the Trump administration had taken, while he was part of it, a strong stand against Russia, citing actions widely recognized at the time as being mostly for show. He dismissed Trump’s pro-Putin remarks as surface stuff belied by what was supposedly happening behind the scenes.
He gave the impression to my ears that he believes this is still the case. Yet over the course of the Trump administration, regardless of who the national security advisor was or is, Putin’s international influence has grown and the U.S. has become weaker and weaker, with Trump’s Defense Department withdrawing troops from Germany. Trump is seen throughout the world as a President unnaturally bound to the Russian dictator, and the U.S. as a country no longer to be trusted.
In his book McMaster dismisses the Mueller report as chiefly just showing that Russia sought to place American elections “under a cloud.” He claims that his book’s purpose is to “transcend the vitriol of partisan political discourse,” thus suggesting (in a curious inversion of the viewpoint of much of the U.S. left) that there is no real difference between Biden and Trump, and nothing existential about the upcoming elections.
It would appear that McMaster is willing to sit back and let Trump install an authoritarian (i.e., fascist in all but name) dictatorship in this country. I don’t see all that much difference between his stance and that of General Flynn, who was a stalwart supporter of Trump (leading Lock Her Up chants against Clinton in Trump rallies in 2016). Well, at least McMaster, unlike Flynn, never took money from the Russians.
I was appalled that Andrea Mitchell did nothing to challenge McMaster’s inconsistency and hypocrisy. Perhaps one of MSNBC’s evening hosts could take on the job?
Dennis King is the author of Lyndon LaRouche and the New American Fascism.