Donald Trump Must Restore 'Peace Through Strength' in 2018 After Obama's 'Malign Neglect'

by FRANK J. GAFFNEY, JR. December 29, 2017

 

Gaffney said President Trump's National Security Strategy document, published this month, should be his policy roadmap for the coming year. He said the NSS did an excellent job of defining "the various actual and emerging threats that we are facing from Russia, from China, from North Korea, from Iran."

"Those are the sorts of problems that will consume this presidency, and probably in some of those cases, depending on what is done in this presidency, many administrations to come - just as this president is now reaping the whirlwind of the behavior or conduct or simple malpractice of previous administrations, both Republican and Democrat, in dealing with these sorts of threats," he said.

Gaffney said the Reaganesque practice of "peace through strength" must be restored even though it will take "the sort of investment we haven't seen since [he] was in the government back in the Reagan administration."

"It's an extraordinarily challenging task, given the neglect - the malign neglect, in the case of the Obama years - to which most of those kinds of capabilities have been subjected," he said as a caution to President Trump.

"He's got his work cut out for him. I hope he will do two things. One is, stick to the program. It's pretty much what he laid out as a candidate, and I think it's the right kind of agenda. Secondly, surround himself - as he did not, alas, during his first year in office - with people who share his commitment to execute that strategy. I think he lost a year, frankly, and it's a terrible tragedy because I don't know that we'll get it back," he said.

"I don't mean to suggest that the president didn't do anything right or, for that matter, that this National Security Strategy wasn't developed under the oversight of the people who failed to execute on his campaign plans," Gaffney added. "Give H.R. McMaster his due: he did come forward with this strategy that was very much at odds with what he believes, I believe, in a lot of cases and certainly what he did during his first year in office."

"I hope this is coming to an end, and the president will be served in the next year - and going forward for that matter - by people who both support him and who want to see his vision for a ‘peace through strength' strategy faithfully executed, not undermined or at least slow-walked in a way that has made it less than it needs to be in such a dangerous world," he said.

Gaffney strongly recommended former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton for a post in the Trump administration next year. "I believe he should be the national security adviser to the president," he said.

Gaffney cited late-breaking news about Russia's offering to mediate between the United States and North Korea and China's expressing a desire to mediate peace talks in Afghanistan as examples of what to expect from those aspiring global powers in the coming year.

"Pakistan, of course, has been incredibly aggressive in undermining Afghanistan for years. There's no love lost between them. So this is not likely to work out, is my guess, but China does have influence with them, as Russia does with North Korea," he observed.

"I think you'll also see the Russians trying to insert themselves as the arbiters of peace deals in other parts of the world, notably trying to fill what Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian regime declares is an end to American mediation there," he added.

"Again, I don't think that any of these opportunities will really translate into peace because I don't think that anybody can actually trust the Chinese or the Russians," he predicted. "On the other hand, they are opportunities to burnish the credentials of these autocratic, if not totalitarian, regimes, hostile to freedom and the interests of the free world and to gain traction at our expense in parts of the world that are strategic. I think that's ultimately what this is about."

Gaffney agreed with Kassam that it was somewhat alarming to see the latest actual and thwarted terrorist attacks treated as such routine developments that are scarcely newsworthy.

"I think we are now being encouraged to believe this is, as the mayor of London likes to say, the new normal, and that we're going to have to get used to these incidents," he cautioned. "It is important that some of them are people who evidently got here through chain migration, that others have converted."

"I pray that in 2018, one of the things that we will begin to get our head around is the fact that horrible and alarming as these incidents of violence are, far more worrying in the United States really is the infrastructure for such violence that is being put into place by the Muslim Brotherhood, with the very active support, sponsorship really, of this government in Turkey of Recep Tayyip Erdogan," he said.

Gaffney described Erdogan as an "enemy of the United States" who has "become increasingly brazen about his hostility toward this country."

"We've got to be looking to the mosques. We've got to be looking to the cultural centers. We've got to be looking to the front groups. We've got to be looking at the Muslim Brotherhood more broadly to understand whence come these threats, both violent and pre-violent," he urged.

 

Frank Gaffney is the Founder and President of the Center for Security Policy in Washington, D.C. Under Mr. Gaffney's leadership, the Center has been nationally and internationally recognized as a resource for timely, informed and penetrating analyses of foreign and defense policy matters. Mr. Gaffney formerly acted as the Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Policy during the Reagan Administration, following four years of service as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Nuclear Forces and Arms Control Policy. Previously, he was a professional staff member on the Senate Armed Services Committee under the chairmanship of the late Senator John Tower, and a national security legislative aide to the late Senator Henry M. Jackson.

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