Friday, November 18, 2016
A threat to national security
Donald Trump who knows nothing about national security has chosen as his national security advisor, Michael Flynn, a man famous for creating mythological facts.
General Flynn, 57, a registered Democrat, was Mr. Trump’s main national security adviser during his campaign. If he accepts Mr. Trump’s offer, as expected, he will be a critical gatekeeper for a president with little experience in military or foreign policy issues.How comforting to have a man who makes an existential threat out of another religion and is famous for using his own fantasy facts. Perhaps his relationship with Putin will keep him grounded. There is no one in the White House who will.
Mr. Trump and General Flynn both see themselves as brash outsiders who hustled their way to the big time. They both post on Twitter often about their own successes, and they have both at times crossed the line into outright Islamophobia.
They also both exhibit a loose relationship with facts: General Flynn, for instance, has said that Shariah, or Islamic law, is spreading in the United States (it is not). His dubious assertions are so common that when he ran the Defense Intelligence Agency, subordinates came up with a name for the phenomenon: They called them “Flynn facts.”
As an adviser, General Flynn has already proved to be a powerful influence on Mr. Trump, convincing the president-elect that the United States is in a “world war” with Islamist militants and must work with any willing allies in the fight, including President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia.
During the transition, General Flynn has been present when Mr. Trump has received his daily intelligence briefing. As national security adviser, he would have the last word on how the president should respond to crises such as a showdown with China over the South China Sea or an international health crisis like the Ebola epidemic.
But, like Mr. Trump, he would enter the White House with significant baggage. The Flynn Intel Group, a consulting firm he founded after he was fired by President Obama as head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, has hazy business ties to Middle Eastern countries and has appeared to lobby for the Turkish government. General Flynn also took a paid speaking engagement last year with Russia Today, a television network funded by the Kremlin, and attended the network’s lavish anniversary party in Moscow, where he sat at Mr. Putin’s elbow.
Those potential conflicts of interest had led Mr. Trump’s transition team to worry that General Flynn might have difficulty winning confirmation for any post that, unlike the national security adviser role, requires congressional approval, such as director of the C.I.A. But for Mr. Trump, he has one overriding virtue: He was an early and ardent supporter in a campaign during which most of the Washington national security establishment openly called Mr. Trump unfit to lead.
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