Political scientist Eduard Lozanskii on what Donald Trump should be guided towards when choosing a new national security advisor.
President Trump's former National Security Advisor John Bolton was such a vibrant and controversial figure, the press is still debating the reasons for his unexpected resignation.
Nevertheless, the intrigue persists and everyone is waiting for what comes next. Will Bolton go into the shadows like many other White House employees dismissed by Trump? Or will he start an information war against the president?
However, the main question is, who will replace Bolton? There is a significant number of highly professional experts on the American foreign policy horizon, but most of them belong to the so-called "deep state," or as Trump himself calls it, the "Washington swamp" that opposes him. There are about a dozen names on the list of candidates, but unfortunately almost all of them fit this definition.
At first, there was a rumor that current Secretary of State Mike Pompeo would repeat "Kissinger's double," where Kissinger combined two positions—national security advisor and the head of the State Department—under President Nixon. However, this is unlikely, and Pompeo himself dismissed this. Most often, the names Stephan Bigan, the U.S. representative negotiating with North Korea, and Richard Gennel, the U.S. ambassador to Germany, are brought up.
Both candidates are not particularly enthusiastic. Bigan hasn't had any success in North Korea, and Grennel's behavior is clearly not in line with rudimentary diplomatic standards. For various reasons, the latter candidate is unlikely to appeal to both Trump supporters and European allies, towards whom Grennel has been abusive.
At the same time, it should be noted that after an interview with Fox News, retired Colonel Douglas McGregor (also on the shortlist of candidates) may be the person to whom Trump should be paying attention.
I've been watching this expert for a long time and I can confirm that his world view is very close to the ideas expressed by Trump during his campaign. Unfortunately, he never managed to realize these ideas due to the resistance of the "Washington swamp."
So, McGregor has repeatedly stated that it's time for America to stop playing the role of world policeman. He sharply criticized Bolton and called for the withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan and Syria. According to the colonel, the armed conflicts in these countries should be solved by the leaders in the Middle East.
McGregor also fully supports Trump's strategy to concentrate mainly on the country's internal affairs, in accordance with the "America First" doctrine, as well as starting a strategic dialogue with Russia.
Michael Flynn, the first national security advisor, also shared Trump's views on Russia, and perhaps that's why he was quickly compromised by the opposition President Barack Obama's administration. Now Trump has another opportunity to put the right person in this important position, but whether or not he takes this chance is still unclear.
Fortunately, the post of national security advisor doesn't need to be approved by the Senate, where any candidate calling for limited U.S. interference in world conflicts and dialogue with Russia would be blocked by an overwhelming majority.
However, with Trump you always need to be prepared for surprises, but we must admit that, despite the sometimes harsh rhetoric, he hasn't started a new war like his predecessors did. Unfortunately, despite his campaign promises, Trump hasn't been able to withdraw from the U.S. military's previous conflicts.
An advisor with the views of Douglas McGregor could play an important role in finding a solution to the Ukrainian crisis. A total reboot is needed to achieve this, including replacing the current U.S. representative in Ukraine, Kurt Walker. It may be recalled that a few days before the Ukrainian presidential elections, Walker lobbied for Poroshenko, which speaks volumes about his understanding of the events taking place there.
By the way, Trump recently hinted that he was ready to take part in the upcoming meeting of the "Normandy Format,"* and here, of course, we need someone who could give him efficient and constructive advice regarding events in Ukraine.
Finally, Trump's invitation to Vladimir Putin to take part in the next Group of Seven summit, planned to take place in the U.S. in 2020 most likely at the president's Florida estate, should not be discounted. If Bolton had remained as Trump's negotiator in this process, the chances of the Russian president participating would be null. However, everything can change if Trump finds a worthy replacement for the post of national security advisor, and this person shares the same views as his boss.
* Editor’s Note: The Normandy Format is a meeting between France, Germany, Russia, and Ukraine, to try to resolve the conflict in Ukraine. The first meeting took place on the 70th anniversary of D-Day, leading to the summit's name.