*The following is an opinion column by R Muse*
The idiom, “the blind leading the blind,” is self-explanatory and has been around for ages, including in the Christian bible where it says “if the blind lead the blind, they will both fall into the pit.” The 2017 version of that archaic idiom could just as well say if a “know-nothing white nationalist leads a know-nothing president” they could “bring the world close to a nuclear holocaust.”
Of course, this is in reference to know-nothing Donald Trump, and his equally ignorant chief advisor Steve Bannon who Trump stupidly placed on the Trump version of the once effective and respected National Security Council as he eliminated two experts who actually know everything about foreign policy as it pertains to national security.
When the Republican ignoramus in chief, Donald Trump, listened to Breitbart’s alt-right Nazi Steve Bannon and reorganized the National Security Council, he obeyed the alt-right know-nothing and did what any reputable know-nothing would do; he removed the director of national intelligence (DNI) and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from the committee. That committee is, in normal times, the meeting for the most senior national security officials who actually have an abundance of foreign policy and national security experience; the one and the only reason they are uniquely qualified to advise a president.
In fact, under the previous two administrations, those two positions were permanent seats at a very crucial national security table. Instead, Trump installed a Breitbart maniac, Steve Bannon, and reassigned the DNI and Joint Chiefs chairs to insignificant roles where they “might” be called on if Bannon permits it and only if Bannon thinks that what is being discussed is relevant to their “responsibilities and expertise;” which in the real world is expertise on everything to do with foreign policy and national security.
The unprecedented move has garnered a world of criticism if for no other reason than Bannon has no relevant knowledge about national security. Bannon’s specialty is promoting the conspiracy theories that Breitbart, Alex Jones, and racial and religious purists advertise to start wars around the world and snuff out non-white, non-Christian, non-American human beings who fail to comply with their vision of the world.
As Robert Reich noted, never before has a “political strategist” been allowed to participate in National Security Council meetings because the NSC is tasked with providing a president with “non-partisan, factual advice;” something Bannon considers anathema to his personal agenda that is now Trump’s personal agenda. As professor Reich reminded Americans, “This is the Trump administration; forget analysis and forget facts.”
In fact, Mr. Reich echoed the sentiment this column and no small number of real national security and foreign policy experts’ expressed fears about. He said that Trump replacing the DNI and Joint Chiefs chairman is “truly scary” because the only thing Bannon knows is promoting far-right conspiracy theories and pushing white nationalism; in America and around the world.
It wasn’t just Professor Reich who sounded the warning about Bannon and Trump. Former national security adviser and United Nations ambassador Susan Rice said of Bannon’s elevation to a position he does not belong:
“This is stone cold crazy. After a week of crazy. Who needs military advice or intel to make policy on ISIL, Syria, Afghanistan, DPRK? Chairman of Joint Chiefs and DNI treated as after thoughts in Cabinet level principals meetings. And where is CIA?? Cut out of everything?”
Robert Gates, a Republican who served as defense secretary under both President Obama and George W. Bush, and as CIA director under President George H.W. Bush was also quick to say what everyone else already knows that what “Trump is doing is a mistake.” Mr. Gates continued:
“My biggest concern is there are actually, under the law, only two statutory advisers to the National Security Council and that’s the Director of Central Intelligence, or the DNI, and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Pushing them out of the National Security Council meetings is a big mistake. I think that they both bring a perspective and judgment and experience to bear that every president, whether they like it or not, finds useful.”
Senator John McCain, the Republican chairman of the Armed Services Committee, said,
“I am worried about the National Security Council. … The appointment of Mr. Bannon is a radical departure from any National Security Council in history.” Senator McCain also said, “that the one person who is indispensable would be the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, in my view.” But Senator McCain’s view, although informed over decades of experience and knowledge, doesn’t count; only Bannon’s does. It is possible that Trump may have left the DNI and Joint Chiefs’ chairman on the NSC, but Bannon knew they would overrule any “advice” he gave Trump. So his “advice” to the Trump has put them out to pasture far away from his vision of an alt-right world ruled by white Christians.
As Professor Reich rightly noted, “Trump is unhinged and ignorant. Bannon is nuts and malicious. If not supervised by the Joint Chiefs of Staff, their decisions could endanger the world.”
It is a sad commentary, but that is exactly what Bannon wants; the entire world quaking at what an alt-right America will do if its demands are not met. It has been less than two weeks since Bannon was installed as de facto president of America and already he and Trump have begun, as Robert Reich stated:
“Alienating America from the rest of the world, destroying America’s moral authority abroad, and risking everything ‘we’ love about our country. Unsupervised by people who know what they’re doing, Trump and Bannon could also bring the world closer to a nuclear holocaust.”
Robert Reich is not one to fear monger or promote conspiracy theories. Everything he, Susan Rice, Robert Gates and John McCain are growing very nervous about, an alt-right “political strategist” sitting in the place of importance on the National Security Council, is relevant and borne of experience that neither Bannon nor Trump will ever achieve if they live for another 200 years. Even then it will still be the incredibly stupid leading the abominably ignorant right into an alt-right created nuclear wasteland.
The above commentary is the opinion of its author and several other Americans.