Donald Trump has selected Michael Flynn to be his national security adviser. The selection is a natural one. Flynn was Trump’s go-to guy on national security matters during the campaign.
The retired Lt. General is already under attack on a number of fronts, both personal and substantive. The focus should be on substance.
I don’t know Flynn’s views on the full range of national security related topics. I agree with his line on two vital issues — ISIS and Iran. His general view of the threat posed by Islam also strikes me as sound, if not always expressed with sufficient nuance.
As for Russia, Flynn will continue to take fire for his recent trip to Moscow. However, as we noted here, Flynn criticized Russian foreign policy while in Moscow. Flynn’s recent book, discussed below, also comes down on Russia. It takes issue with the view, advanced by Trump, that Russia can be a reliable partner in the fight against ISIS in Syria.
Keep this in mind as those speaking out against Flynn make him out to be pro-Putin. Critics of the Russian autocrat may end up being pleased that Trump is getting advice from Flynn.
Folks who have heard Flynn speak — be it at the Republican Convention, on cable news, or in person — may share my impression that he isn’t very articulate. Flynn probably comes across well in conversation, though. Otherwise, it’s unlikely that Trump would elevate him to national security adviser, however loyal Flynn has been. Indeed, it’s unlikely that Flynn would gotten Trump’s ear to begin with.
Flynn’s views on the all-important issue of combating radical Islam come through clearly in the book, mentioned above, that he wrote with out friend Michael Ledeen — The Field of Fight: How We Can Win the Global War Against Radical Islam and Its Allies. In evaluating Flynn’s approach to radical Islam, his book, not his tweets or off-hand comments, should be the touchstone.
Finally, when critics complain that Flynn’s selection is just a reward for his loyalty to Trump, think of Susan Rice, the current national security adviser. She got the job after loyally peddling the Obama-Clinton tale that the attacks in Benghazi were due to an anti-Islam video.
Flynn may be loyal, but to my knowledge he never spread falsehoods on behalf of Trump.
Is Flynn an ideal national security adviser? Not in my view. However, he’s the voice Trump wants most to hear on national security issues. I believe that most of what Trump hears from Flynn will be sound.