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What to do with Trump's new National Security Advisor



Three factors suggest that President Trump made a good choice in the election of Robert O'Brien to replace John Bolton as national security adviser – with one warning.

On the plus side, as shown by Trump's hot announcement of his election on Twitter, Brian maintains Trump's confidence. This is the most important ingredient for working effectively with Trump. Ivanka Trump, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and CIA Director Gina Haspel have all mastered this calculation for the effect of confidence. They are able to give honest estimates of Trump, even when those estimates contradict Trump's impulses. But they are able to do this because they are not blaspheming the president publicly or privately and because they know when to shut up.

Second, Brian is a civilian with strong foreign policy experience. As the President's special envoy on hostage matters, Brian has 1

6 months of experience in managing high-level negotiations and shadows. While the media is obsessed with O & # 39; Brian's role in securing the release of the A $ AP Rocky rapper from a Swedish prison earlier this year, O & # 39; Brien's close engagement with North Korea and Iran may have attracted Trump most much to him. There is a sharp contrast here between Brian & # 39; s hard-liner mentality and John Bolton's deep skepticism about the negotiation style outside of Trump.

Brian also acknowledges the importance of American leadership in keeping with effective alliances. His 2016 book, While America Sleeps talks about these topics. That's a good thing. Although Trump is absolutely right to push NATO allies strongly for their failure to even come close to defense spending close to US spending as a percentage of GDP, we need allies to deal with major international challenges, especially China.

Yet Brian has a scratch against his name: his increasing pleasure in the spotlight. I am reliably informed that Brian & # 39; s occasionally strayed from the hostage negotiation area and made inappropriate comments on some sensitive issues. Although Brian's focus is now necessarily much broader, he will quickly find himself saying things that undermine Trump's stated position or policy priorities. This, of course, is a difficult balancing act with a president as prone to change of mind as Trump, but it is a necessity.

Overall, however, Brian is a good choice for National Security Advisor.


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