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Trump Makes Another Bad Choice for National Security Advisor
O'Brien has been associated with Mitt Romney and John Bolton for quite a while, and is a Mormon.
Looks like this guy is clone of Bolton, let's say Bolton lite ;-)
In 2017, O'Brien was under consideration by the administration of President Donald Trump to serve as Secretary of the Navy. The Orange County Register editorial board endorsed O'Brien to serve in this position, stating, "He is the ideal candidate to ensure American global dominance continues — in a way that fits both the present national mood and our enduring national values."
Robert C. O’Brien is a trial lawyer with an international practice at Larson O’Brien LLP in Los Angeles.
He was a senior foreign policy advisor to Governor Scott Walker and Senator Ted Cruz during the 2016 presidential campaign. O’Brien served as a senior advisor to Governor Mitt Romney on both of his presidential campaigns. O’Brien was Co-Chairman of the US Department of State Public-Private Partnership for Justice Reform in Afghanistan. He served as a presidentially appointed member of the US Cultural Property Advisory Committee.
In 2005, O’Brien was nominated by President George W. Bush and confirmed by the Senate to serve as a US Representative to the United Nations General Assembly, where he worked with Ambassador John Bolton.
Earlier in his career, O’Brien was a senior legal officer with the United Nations Security Council in Geneva, Switzerland.
He served as a major in the JAG Corps of the US Army Reserve. A frequent guest on Fox News, The Hugh Hewitt Show, CNN, and other radio and cable TV networks, O’Brien is regularly called upon by the media to interpret and comment on breaking national security and political stories. He lives in Southern California with his wife and children.
It is difficult to find more rabid neocon then Max Boot, but here we have a shining example that this is possible. From the (highly approving) foreword by Hugh Hewitt (May 16, 2016):
Israel was secure and strongly supported when George W. Bush left office. A tenuous but potentially lasting peace had been won in Iraq through the surge and the sacrifices of the American military. Russia and Iran were contained and the latter was breaking under comprehensive sanctions. The American military was strong and deployed on every front where it was needed. America had a strategic vision—it was being implemented and it was working.
Then came a financial panic not seen since 1907. It crashed the election of 2008 and took Americas collective eyes off the dangers around the globe. As Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke recounted in his 2015 memoir The Courage To Act, financial crises were occurring almost weekly throughout the fall of 2008, and the election of President Obama was almost certainly a response to the fear and uncertainty in markets during that time. Sadly, the new president was perhaps the least well equipped in history to manage a strategically complicated and increas- ingly dangerous world. Though many millions do not yet understand this, the consequences of his amateurism combined with the (genuinely) killer instincts of Vladimir Putin, the relentlessness of both the Peoples Republic of China and the Islamic Republic of Iran, and the bloodlust of Islamist extremists have been catastrophic for the United States.
Just as the blinders of the late Clinton years that kept America from seeing the threat growing in Afghanistan, the domestic political antics of President Obama and a paralyzed Congress have blinded large swaths of America to the new threats that loom in 2016 as large as those that gathered in 2000.
From the Preface
As a lawyer with an international practice and as an advisor to Republican presidential candidates Mitt Romney, Scott Walker, and Ted Cruz, my travels have taken me to regions of the world that are in tur- moil. I have seen firsthand the consequences of what the Obama White House itself calls the Presidents “lead from behind” foreign policy. Since President Obama was sworn in, I have been to Afghanistan, Guantanamo Bay, Ukraine, the Republic of Georgia, Estonia, Israel, the Persian Gulf states, and various nations in Southeast Asia and Africa. In each of every American that has served in the military or government without any repercussions. And it vetoes American-led human rights initiatives in international organizations without consequence.
Bill Clintons former Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright, has surveyed a world transformed by President Obamas policies and called it "a mess." Robert Kagan looks at the "world America made" and fears that we may be watching it "drift away." Less than four years ago Mitt Romney was mocked for warning of the rise of Islamic extremism in the Middle East and Africa and the resurgence of our long time geopolitical foe, Russia. Now even progressive publications ask, "Was Mitt right about everything?" Albright, Kagan, and Romney are all correct in their analysis. Frighteningly, at the same time that the world becomes ever more dangerous, this administration is decimating Americas unparalleled armed forces.
I have embarked with our courageous young sailors and aviators on the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis and visited our cutting-edge Virginia-class submarines and Arleigh Burke-class destroyers. I walked the floors of one of the last subcontractors with the capacity to manu- facture key components for those destroyers. Although our sailors and their equipment are still the best in the world, the United States Navy is in crisis. It is too small already and, under the Obama administrations sequestration program, will shrink further. Given the demands with which we have tasked them, our sailors and their ships are stressed and stretched to the readiness breaking point. Some of our newer warships would be out-gunned by those of our competitors. Unless sequestration
From the Introduction
When Russia annexed Crimea and invaded Ukraine in February and March of 2014,1 immediately thought back to Christmas Eve 1979, when the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan. This was the first direct use of Soviet troops outside the Eastern Bloc since World War II, “a watershed event of the Cold War.”1 Much like the Obama administration today, the Carter administration was already reeling from a series of foreign policy failures. As historian lohn Lewis Gaddis wrote, the invasion was "only the most dramatic of a series of humiliations for the United States.”2 The Soviets had deployed nuclear missiles to Europe in 1977 and Soviet- backed Cuban troops had intervened in Angola in 1975 and Ethiopia and Zaire in 1977. The Iranian revolution and subsequent hostage crisis, the rise of the Soviet-backed Sandinistas in Nicaragua, and the Vietnamese invasion of Cambodia added to the general sense of crisis.
In a preview of President Obamas wishful-thinking foreign policy approach, President Carter initially refused to confront Soviet aggression, lust a year before the invasion, a communist coup in Kabul had ended hopes of a more constructive relationship between the United States and Afghanistan. Carters National Security Advisor, Zbigniew Brzezinski, recommended cutting diplomatic ties, but Carter rejected his advice and, siding with the State Department, recognized the new pro-Soviet government. Shortly thereafter, the new US ambassador to Afghanistan was assassinated in February 1979. (The next United States ambassador to be assassinated would be J. Christopher Stevens in Benghazi, Libya on September и, 2012.) Yet President Carter was still holding on to the hopes of dёtente. He was determined, as he had earlier told Leonid Brezhnev, “to improve relations with the Soviet Union on the basis of reciprocity, mutual respect, and advantage.”3
The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan shocked Carter into changing course. Six days after the invasion, Carter admitted that his “opinion of the Russians has changed more drastically in the last week than even the previous two and a half years before that.” Addressing Congress the following month, Carter described the Soviet move as the “most seri- ous threat to peace since the Second World War.”4 Carter authorized increased lethal military support to the Afghan mujahedeen, withdrew the SALT 11 treaty from Senate consideration, cancelled grain exports to the Soviet Union, restricted trade in strategic items, led a controversial boycott of the Moscow Olympics, and articulated the “Carter Doctrine” to protect the Persian Gulf from outside (i.e., Soviet) interference. Most importantly, Carter began a defense buildup that was further accelerated by Ronald Reagan.
Today, Republicans often call President Obama the worst foreign policy president since Jimmy Carter. But it is increasingly clear this comparison is unfair to Carter. Faced with a series of foreign policy challenges, Carter was willing to admit his previous approach was not working and take steps, in his words, to “make the Soviets pay for their unwarranted aggression.”5
From epilogue (content raises the question: why person with such limited intellectual capabilities can be a successful lawyer. I have no answer to this question other then to suggest that lobbyists/prostitutes for MIC are highly values and well paid no matter of their qualification):
Compared to Russia, China, Iran, the Islamic State caliphate, North Korea, Venezuela, or Cuba, the United States and its allies remain in remarkable shape and should triumph under any circumstance. Only a decision to continue to retreat from the world stage and to transform our way of life and military could lead to defeat Building upon the clear advantages the United States enjoys, the next president can turn the tide of affairs by taking a path very different than the present one, which sadly has an uncomfortable similarity to the path that lead to the fateful events of 1938.
First, he or she must be committed to a national security policy of “peace through strength ” Rebuilding our military will require determi- nation and funding. The equipment and platforms developed during the Reagan years are in many cases over thirty years old. The six-hundred- ship fleet is down to 272 ships and falling. The bomber wing of the air force relies on B-52S that, if they were people, would be the grandparents of their current pilots. The Army is too small to accomplish its missions. The Marine Corps is in the same situation and lacks the requisite number of amphibious ships and “connectors” to get them to shore in a conflict. The Coast Guard is down to one ice-breaker at a time when the arctic is turning into a key strategic shinning lane
Rebuilding Americas defenses is a complicated mosaic beyond the scope of this essay. It must include, however, the following elements: The acquisition process must be radically reformed and the Pentagons purchasing bureaucracy must be trimmed. Technology is moving too quickly for the armed forces to wait ten years for new weapons platforms. The US Navy must have at least 350 warships to maintain presence in the global commons. Those ships must be capable of defending them- selves in surface combat with near-peer competitor navies. The fleet should include at least twelve large-deck Nimitz- and Ford-class carriers. Those carriers require a long-range naval aviation strike capability not currently in the fleet. The Navy or Coast Guard must be provisioned with both ice-breakers and arctic patrol vessels that are robust and sufficiently armed to defend US interests in the polar regions.
The Air Force requires a long-range strike bomber (LRSB) built in sufficient numbers to provide a credible nuclear deterrent and to provide conventional punch in an A2/AD environment. The F-35 Lightning II, despite its controversial development issues, must also be built in suf- ficient numbers to replace current squadrons of F-15S, F-i6s and A-ios. The curtailment of the B-2 Spirit and F-22 Raptor programs, which left the Air Force with far too few of both planes, cannot be repeated with the LRSB and F-35.
The Army and Marine Corps have been reduced to a state where fighting two simultaneous regional wars would be close to impossible. Even under current deployments, the men and women of the Army and Marine Corps are being stretched to the breaking point. The Army should, at a minimum, have seventy combat brigades and 520,000 active duty soldiers, as former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates recommended. The Marine Corps should, at a minimum, have three active and one reserve Marine Expeditionary Forces and 225,000 active and reserve Marines in the Corps, again as recommended by Secretary Gates. Second, the next president must reassert American leadership.
America used to be considered the leader of the free world. It is very rare to hear that term used any longer. It should be used—and we should be proud of it. Being the leader of the free world does not mean being the policeman of the entire world. It does mean that America should use its moral authority to promote the idea of free men and women and free markets for the betterment of the world.
Like rebuilding our defenses, rebuilding our alliances is critical. The next president should fly Air Force One to Tel Aviv and meet the Israeli prime minister at his office in Jerusalem as his or her first foreign trip as president. Mitt Romney intended to do this had he been elected. It would send a message not just to the Middle East but also to our allies throughout the world that America is a reliable friend. Our closest and most militarily capable ally is the United Kingdom, which has fought with America in the two great wars of the twentieth century, Korea, the Gulf Wars, Yugoslavia, and Afghanistan. No American president should refer to the Falkland Islands as “Las Malvinas,” as President Obama did while trying to curry favor with Bolivarians during a visit to South America.
NATO is the most successful military alliance in history. Under American leadership, our NATO allies must be encouraged to invest in their own defense. Ending sequestration here should be an example to those allies. It is also time to consider a global freedom alliance for those tried and true countries that ascribe to the rule of law and are willing to fight to defend freedom. In addition to current NATO members, candi- dates for such an alliance include, among others, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Mexico, Colombia, Singapore, Israel, the Philippines and, poten- tially, India as it sheds its non-aligned ideology and moves away from its weapons purchasing relationship with Russia. Such a bloc would be a powerful force in maintaining the international norms that have given the world such prosperity since the end of World War II. Copyrighted Material
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America faces a stark choice in 2016 between a continuation of President Obamas “lead from behind” foreign policy and sequester-based national security approach and a return to President Reagan’s “leader of the free world” foreign policy and “peace through strength” national security approach. The stakes in this dangerous time could not be higher.
Oct 29, 2014 | nationalinterest.org
"Ukrainians are happy today. They showed the world that they remain unbowed in the face of aggression and are committed to a future in the democratic West."
Sep 18, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com
Trump announced the selection of his fourth National Security Advisor:
President Trump announced Wednesday that Robert O'Brien, the special envoy for hostage affairs at the State Department, will be his next national security advisor.
O'Brien previously served in the Bush administration's State Department. Hugh Hewitt, who wrote the foreword to O'Brien's book , has described him as a "long time colleague of John Bolton." Since the Bush years, O'Brien advised the Romney 2012 campaign, and he also advised the short-lived Scott Walker campaign in the 2016 cycle. He is a typical hawkish Republican. Curt Mills referred to him in his recent report on the race to replace Bolton this way:
Robert O'Brien, the Trump hostage negotiator whose stock has risen in the administration in recent months, is "Bolton lite," according to a source who has known O'Brien for years.
Obviously, "Bolton lite" isn't much of an improvement over Bolton, and it seems unlikely that there will be any significant improvement in administration foreign policy over the next fifteen months. The summary of O'Brien's book confirms as much:
The world has become steadily more dangerous under President Obama's "lead from behind" foreign policy. The Obama Administration's foreign policy has emboldened our adversaries and disheartened our allies. Indeed, Obama's nuclear deal with Iran is a 1938 moment. At the same time, the U.S. military has been cut and risks returning to the hollow force days of the 1970s. O'Brien lays out the challenges and provides the common sense "peace through strength" solutions that will allow the next president to make America great again.
There is nothing surprising in here, and a lot that is embarrassingly wrong, but it is consistent with the GOP's bankrupt foreign policy worldview. A friendly review of the book describes that worldview in boilerplate terms:
Robert writes from a series of beliefs and assumptions that I also hold: a deep belief in American Exceptionalism, that peace comes through strength, that the United States is stronger when it partners with its allies and when America is a reliable friend to its allies, that the greatness of America comes from a people that respect tradition and the rule of law, and that (yes) we are the good guys and there are some bad guys out there.
I have had occasion to criticize O'Brien's writings in the past. Back in 2014, he was praising Romney for his "Churchill-like warning of a resurgent Russia," and I pointed out that Romney had said a lot of ignorant, knee-jerk things about Russia that were wrong. The fact that O'Brien thought and probably still thinks that "Romney was right" about anything related to foreign policy is more evidence that Trump made a very poor choice again.
O'Brien's most recent high-profile assignment was to be sent to Sweden as part of the president's embarrassing fixation on the case of the rapper ASAP Rocky , who had been detained in Sweden and was facing charges for assault. It would not surprise me if this silly episode and waste of government resources was quite important in winning the president's favor. O'Brien probably wasn't the worst choice Trump could have made, but Trump's fourth choice for National Security Advisor is still a bad one.
Sydney • an hour agoWho says Mr Trump is unpredictable? Is there anybody expected anything else from Mr Trump when it comes to picking his advisers or making thoughtful decisions? Let's be serious, Mr Trump did not pick Mr Robert O'Brien. The Bolton, Pompeo, Pence triumvirate picked Trump's NSA; naturally.
Sep 18, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.orgDon Bacon , Sep 18 2019 15:19 utc | 153The new US National Security Advisor is lawyer Robert C. O'Brien, best known as author of his 2016 book "While America Slept: Restoring American Leadership to a World in Crisis."
Amazon 2016 blurb:Robert C. O'Brien's collection of essays on U.S. national security and foreign policy, with a forward by Hugh Hewitt, is a wake up call to the American people. The world has become steadily more dangerous under President Obama's "lead from behind" foreign policy. The Obama Administration's foreign policy has emboldened our adversaries and disheartened our allies. Indeed, Obama's nuclear deal with Iran is a 1938 moment. At the same time, the U.S. military has been cut and risks returning to the hollow force days of the 1970s. O'Brien lays out the challenges and provides the common sense "peace through strength" solutions that will allow the next president to make America great again. . . hereThe origin of MAGA? Or merely an update.
Norwegian , Sep 18 2019 15:29 utc | 159Don Bacon @153
O'Brien, best known as author of his 2016 book "While America Slept: Restoring American Leadership to a World in Crisis."
Not to be confused with the Inner Party member in 1984. Just a coincidence.
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