The GOP foreign policy establishment has its knickers in a tight, moist little wad because it is being shut out by the incoming Trump administration. Take, for instance, this John Podesta approved article from Politico:
Republican foreign policy veterans are newly alarmed over the emerging shape of Donald Trump’s national security team, after signs that Trump is passing over well-regarded establishment figures in favor of controversial and less experienced political allies, including former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, a likely secretary of state pick.
After the initial shock of Trump’s election last Tuesday, some GOP elites had consoled themselves over early talk that the New York real estate mogul might choose for the most sensitive posts in his government several well-known centrists with conventional views who might temper Trump’s boldest impulses.
But that mood has darkened sharply since the weekend. In recent days, Trump aides have signaled that Giuliani — who has no formal diplomatic experience and who critics say is tangled in conflicts of interest — might be asked to run the State Department. Another contender for that post is former ambassador John Bolton, a contentious figure whom even a Republican Senate refused to confirm when George W. Bush tapped him to be the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations in 2005. (Bolton was installed at the U.N. by recess appointment.)
Personally, I think Bolton would be an inspired choice and Giuliani will get captured by the State bureaucracy in a very short period of time. Having said that, where were these same nimrods who are caviling about “no formal experience” and “conflicts of interest” when Hillary Clinton, a monumentally unqualified fraudster, was appointed Secretary of State. It seems to me that she set the bar for required experience exceedingly low and the bar for fraud in the stratosphere.
Other foreign policy figures whom Republicans say would be natural choices for any other GOP president-elect are conspicuously absent from Trump campaign personnel leaks. They include Stephen Hadley, a centrist who served as George W. Bush’s national security adviser; outgoing New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte, a leading GOP voice on defense and national security; and Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker, considered a temperate mainstream voice. Rogers had been in line for a top intelligence post, possibly CIA director.
But many elder statesmen of the foreign policy world have grown alarmed that Trump’s team will not be prepared for the dangers of the increasingly unstable world they will inherit.
At a Monday meeting of the elite Aspen Strategy Group, Brent Scowcroft, who served as George H.W. Bush’s national security adviser — and who endorsed Hillary Clinton — urged attendees, “If you’re asked to serve, please do. This man needs help.”
Wait, wait, you mean Trump is ignoring the advice of a guy who wasn’t all that good in his job and who endorsed Hillary Clinton? Tell me it ain’t so.
“No one — literally not a single Republican I know, and I know a lot of Republicans — is talking to that tiny inner circle” in Trump Tower, said one former George W. Bush administration foreign policy official. “That’s because the Trump people don’t want to talk.”
Evidence for that came Tuesday from Eliot A. Cohen, a former aide to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. An adamant opponent during the campaign, Cohen had urged fellow Republicans after the election to consider serving Trump in the national interest. But on Twitter on Tuesday, Cohen reversed course.
“After exchange w Trump transition team, changed my recommendation: stay away,” Cohen wrote. “They’re angry, arrogant, screaming ‘you LOST!’ Will be ugly.”
I’m assuming the “former George W. Bush” official was Pauline Kael because he probably doesn’t know anyone who voted for Trump.
To a great extent, the foreign policy “establishment” works like a professional sports league. If your team goes 0-16 you get fired, but your contract has to be bought out and with your pro ball coaching experience you get hired by a team that has just fired its own 0-16 coach. Life is good. Because experience. There are damned few people in the George W. Bush foreign policy establishment that should be allowed within spitting distance of any foreign policy decision. EVER. UNTIL THE END OF TIME.
I have to give Trump and his transition people some credit here. I’d fully expected that he’d talk a good game during the general election but in the end we’d see the same old retreads, plus a fistful of Democrats in a nod to the evil god of Bipartisanship, occupying all the top slots in the Trump administration. So far the names that have been floated have been pretty solid choices and a significant number of them seem calculated to send a message to the nation and to the federal bureaucracy that there is little of the past eight years worth salvaging.