At The American Conservative, Scott Ritter defends President Trump’s criticism of the American intelligence community’s controversial Threat Assessment Report. The report contradicted the policies of the president, and opened him up for jibes from his opponents, but Ritter reminds readers that the intelligence community has a checkered history, and that presidents who have maintained their independence from it have accomplished great things for peace. He writes:
Earlier this week, the collective leadership of the United States intelligence community briefed Congress on the Worldwide Threat Assessment Report. In doing so, they provided testimony that seemed to contradict virtually every aspect of President Donald Trump’s foreign policy, including the decision to withdraw troops from Syria and Afghanistan, the threat posed by Iran, North Korean denuclearization, and improving relations with Russia.
The president, in typical fashion, lashed out, criticizing the intelligence community’s collective analysis, which predictably elicited criticism from both Democrats and Republicans. They accused him of undermining public confidence in the pronouncements of the intelligence agencies and damaging national security.
In this case, Trump is right, and his detractors are wrong.
When it comes to foreign policy, Donald Trump is no Richard Nixon or George H.W. Bush. But neither is he a Bill Clinton, George W. Bush or Barack Obama, caught in a series of foreign policy traps thanks to a lack of vision and their collective willingness to accept at face value a picture painted by an intelligence community conditioned only to see threats. Trump is right to call them out. They should be informing him on foreign policy and national security matters, not dictating or critiquing his policies. The track record of these so-called professionals is not impressive. They would do well to heed the president’s exhortation that they “go back to school.”
Read more here.