Last night around 8pm EST, retired Lieutenant General Michael T. Flynn resigned as National Security Advisor to the President of these United States. For weeks, speculation mounted as to the nature of Flynn’s calls with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. Specifically, there were questions as to whether or not Flynn discussed with Kislyak sanctions levied against Russia by the Obama Administration for Russia’s alleged meddling and “hacking” into the most recent U.S. presidential election. The issue surrounding the calls was that Flynn, pre Trump inauguration and which constitutes a violation of the Logan Act, made Russia certain promises as to the easing of the aforementioned sanctions wrought by the Obama Administration. This is a violation essentially because our nation can obviously only have one president at a time, so for a civilian—as Flynn was when the calls took place—to make promises on behalf of the U.S. Government to another government, is an act of gross illegality.
So that’s how we got here, but what does it mean for America?
Well, many will see this as a left or right wing issue. The pundits and political class will inevitably draw clear lines of battle with conservatives defending the Trump Administration by way of chalking Flynn’s disgrace to another “liberal attack” (conservative darling Ann Coulter has already started that parade to which yours truly just had to respond):
Then of course, there will be just scads of politicos on the left touting the revelation of Flynn’s misdealing and lack of transparency as an “aha” moment and a victory in that it shows they were right, that Trump and his whole crew are nothing but a bunch of bait and switch snake oil salesmen.
This is an infinitely annoying, fruitless and counterproductive manner in which to approach this situation. See, depending on your allegiance, it’s one thing to celebrate the defeat or passing of this administration policies. But when you think about the demise of Flynn, one has to think about the position he held: National Security Advisor. Which means that, as of this writing, while an interim national security advisor in retired General Keith Kellogg has been appointed, Flynn’s departure signals an administration in turmoil, a disruption and lack of continuity in terms of foreign and domestic U.S. security policy and it demonstrates a lack of judgment of the president himself which translates into further erosion of his already damaged credibility.
None of this is good for any citizen of the United States of America. Why? Because it signals to both our allies and rivals that the U.S. is weak, it’s establishment in disarray and that even the foundational positions of our government which are the pillars of our republic are plunged headlong into chaos. And less than 30 days into the new administration. At this moment, we are a nation under the worst kind of scrutiny. For all his braggadocio and bluster centered around #MAGA, I objectively have a hard time remembering when the last time an administration, as the result of such a bombastic self-inflicted wound, placed America at greater risk terms of both security infrastructure and standing in the global community.
Nixon maybe? Not so much. Watergate was more or less centered around President Richard Nixon‘s desire to keep tabs on his political opponents and the abusive and illegal extent he went to keep said tabs. Clandestine and nefarious abuse of power but without the international security exposure as in the Flynn case.
Carter perhaps? Again, political apples and oranges. 1) President Jimmy Carter was a good but for the most part, an inordinately weak leader. The fall of the Shah of Iran which culminated in the taking of American hostages inside the American embassy indeed a time of great international tumult for the U.S. but was the result of indecisiveness and vacillation on the then Commander-In-Chief’s part, not the product of ill-intent as is the case with Flynn seeing as how he intentionally misled the American people and his superiors regarding his contact with Russian officials.
Just my take.
In any event, speaking of this current administration’s credibility, the Justice Department reported that the White House knew of Flynn’s indiscretions last month (and that it was warned that Flynn could be blackmailed by Russia). No one is certain if by “White House” they mean its advisors or the Vice President or President themselves. In any event, the Flynn debacle is not new information in Washington circles; only to us the citizenry, which the politicos swear to serve.
It’s not a secret that we are not in the least a fan of Donald Trump’s presidency. However, while we are justifiably committed to keeping him and his administration accountable as well as opposing the combination of his bully tactics and diplomatic ineptitude, we do not want to see him fail to the extent that, as he “goes down”, America is consumed along with him. Because make no mistake about it, he is the president of these United States and for better or worse, what he allows to occur under his watch affects us all.
More as this story develops.
Think Passionately. Disrupt Strategically.
-A. Lawrence Haskins
United States Congress: (202) 225-3121
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