President Trump proved once again this week he has no fear of taking on the intelligence community – including his own appointees.
General James Mattis brought to light the rift between President Trump and his intelligence chiefs when he resigned as secretary of defense in opposition to the President’s decision to cut the 14,000 troops in Afghanistan in half and pull all 2,000 out of Syria.
Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and new CIA Director Gina Haspel followed that up this week when both appeared to stand in opposition to the President before Congress.
The President’s response was classic Trump, “The Intelligence people seem to be extremely passive and naïve when it comes to the dangers of Iran. They are wrong! . . . They [the Iranians] are testing Rockets (last week), and more, and are coming very close to the edge. . . . Be careful of Iran.”
Both Coats and Haspel believe it is doubtful whether North Korea will ever give up its nuclear weapons. But it is Haspel who is adamant that Iran in is compliance with a nuclear treaty that the President considers worthless.
Coats may be right that Trump should not expect as much out of North Korea as he does but Haspel is “dead wrong” according to Trump.
When questioned about the apparent division in his ranks, Trump brought up the complete failure of intelligence that led to Desert Storm II and the war in Iraq.
In the words of Patrick Buchanan, Bush’s blunder resulted from “incompetence and mendacity” within the intelligence community that led to the “greatest strategic blunder of the 21st century, if not of U.S. history.”
As was proven in the Republican presidential primaries of 2016, there is plenty of room for debate about the overthrow of Saddam Hussein and the chaos that ensued.
When it comes to CIA Director Haspel’s contention that Iran isn’t nearly the threat that Trump claims, Trump trusts his instincts over her CIA approved line. It could be he was thinking of his new CIA Director in particular when he said: “Perhaps Intelligence should go back to school!”
Trump pulled out of the international nuclear deal with Iran last year that he inherited from his Democratic predecessor Barack Obama and has no intention in going back.
In a series of heated tweets, Trump pressed his contention that the U.S. intelligence community is “passive and naïve when it comes to the dangers of Iran. They are wrong!”
Trump made his case to reporters saying, “When I became President, Iran was making trouble all over the Middle East and beyond. Since ending the terrible Iran Nuclear Deal they are MUCH different, but a source of potential danger and conflict.”
The President noted that Iran is testing how close to edge it can come before the international community has had enough. According to him, the only reason Iran is holding back in exerting its power in the region is because their “economy is now crashing.”
Since the 2016 primaries, Trump has made it plain that he doesn’t trust the Globalist tendencies of the CIA. It isn’t surprising now to see what animus there is between Trump and anyone in that realm.
His contention from day one is that America’s foreign policy has accomplished little to protect the interests of America.
Patrick Buchanan notes that US lack of a consistent foreign policy is not a new thing. In a commentary for Rasmussen Reports, he wrote, “For nearly fifty years the nation had not had a settled and generally accepted foreign policy. This is a danger to the Republic. For when a people is divided … about the conduct of its foreign relations, it is unable to agree on the determination of its true interest. It is unable to prepare adequately for war or to safeguard successfully its peace.”
Despite obvious differences, Trump has stated several times that his intelligence team is on board with him. He is, however, a Chief Executive who sees the big picture while others forge ahead with a failed world view that has plagued our foreign policy for far too long.
In 2007 the CIA assured Congress that Iran had “no nuclear weapons program.” That proved untrue and now the President is determined there will be no more $150 billion rewards for bad behavior like Obama approved.
Thank God for a President who sees above the weeds rather than driving the country back into them.