Here’s a thing we all know to be true about President Donald Trump. He’s not a man who is good with nuance and complexity. (See: today’s press conference.) This guy thrives in environments that reward short, baseless, and stupid shouting. You know, like reality TV and Twitter.
Unfortunately an arena that doesn’t work that way? Foreign policy. U.S. foreign policy is a vast and tangled web. Seemingly minor events can trigger absolutely massive consequences. Take for instance Trump’s “let’s ban travel from these seven countries, oh really? They all happen to be Muslim-majority nations? Hmmmmm. I had no idea” executive order. One of the main ways that the U.S. incentivizes informants in the Middle East to help our intelligence gathering apparatuses is to promise them that we will eventually bring them and their family to the United States. You know what makes that promise harder to make? A very public ban of immigration from Muslim countries and campaign rhetoric that indicated your eventual goal is to expand that to cover the entirety of the religion.
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This is all to say foreign policy is delicate work that requires the precision of a scalpel. Unfortunately Trump is someone who only knows how to use an axe. As a result, according to a memo obtained by Mother Jones agencies have been instructed to make their briefings more axe friendly.
The memo sent to certain analysts within the intelligence community notes that the commander in chief’s daily briefing book typically contains reports on only three topics, typically no more than one page each. According to the guidance, Trump’s PDB also includes space for a short update, presumably on matters brought up in previous briefs…
The guidance states that analysts should only include facts that support their analyses, and it explains that topics presented in the PDB will not be covered from different perspectives in separate briefings. That means that dissenting or conflicting views might not be presented to Trump. Obama’s PDB did include dissenting information, when appropriate, according to a former top CIA official with direct knowledge of the PDB.
This is a scary development. I understand the intelligence community is in a tough position here and is trying to find a way to do their job most effectively for the man they have been tasked to serve, but it speaks to the serious danger of this administration. And don’t take my word for it that this is scary. Here’s a former CIA official. Read what he has to say and tell me it doesn’t scare you.
“These issues about the overall length of the book as well as whether there are going to be conflicting interpretations—that unfortunately sounds like…bowing to the reality of a president with a short attention span and little ability to deal with ambiguities,” says Paul Pillar, a former senior CIA official who is now a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and Georgetown University.
The presidency is a hard job with countless demands and responsibilities. It shouldn’t be asking too much for the man in that position work to meet the level of those demands. We shouldn’t have to lower the bar less than one month in, because Donald doesn’t want to read, and we certainly shouldn’t do it with something as important as foreign policy. That’s called being “unfit for the office.” If Donald can’t do the job he was hired to do, he should be, to borrow a catchphrase, fired. Otherwise we’re just setting a metaphorical axe murderer loose on the world.
Trump Is Beyond Reckless With Our National Security: