National Security Adviser Michael Flynn has resigned from the Trump administration after details were uncovered proving he lied to Vice President Pence about his discussions with the Russian ambassador to the United States. Flynn has a history of hawkish stances toward Iran, and was a proponent of the miserably failed counterinsurgency strategy in Iraq. His obsession with Iran was frightening given his previous inability to succeed. Realism and reform, as well as restraint, are needed in America’s military. Hopefully President Trump will replace Flynn with someone more in line with the 9th and 17th National Security Advisor, Brent Scowcroft (check out Bartholomew Sparrow’s book, The Strategist on Scowcroft to the right).
At The American Conservative, Daniel Larison highlights one possible downside of Flynn’s resignation. That is, Trump could install someone even worse as the next National Security Advisor. Given that America only narrowly avoided having Elliot Abrams working in the State Department as Rex Tillerson’s right hand, this is not a remote possibility.
Flynn’s departure is very good news for the country, and it could be good for the Trump administration if he is replaced by someone less fanatical and much more competent. It was obvious for a long time that Flynn’s worldview was warped and a terrible influence on the president, and he never seemed ready for the position he was given. The dysfunction of Trump’s National Security Council may not have been entirely his fault, but it was his responsibility and he was clearly not getting the job done.
His early resignation marks the quickest exit of a top presidential adviser that I am aware of, and very few will be sorry to see him go. The danger is that Trump will choose someone else just as unprepared or possibly even less qualified to do the job, but the exit of one of the most hard-line Iran hawks from the administration is practically the only good thing that has happened related to foreign policy since Trump was sworn in. The Trump administration continues to have many top officials that share Flynn’s Iran obsession, but perhaps with his exit that obsession will grow a little bit weaker.
Read more from Larison here.