President Barack Obama’s former national security adviser Susan Rice warned on Sunday that the U.S. national security decision-making system is “more broken” than at any time since 1947 when the National Security Act became law and President Donald Trump has delivered its final death blow.
In a New York Times opinion piece titled, “The Threat in the White House,” the former adviser and United Nations ambassador pointed to Trump’s decision to pull troops out of Syria without formulating a proper plan or consulting with advisers and Congress as a reason the system is not working.
Rice said Trump was able to do “more to undermine American national security than any foreign adversary.”
Secretary of Defense James Mattis resigned shortly after Trump abruptly announced that ISIS had been defeated and that he would send home the 2,000 American troops currently serving in Syria. Trump said he will also withdraw an additional 7,000 troops from Afghanistan.
“These decisions went against the advice of the president’s top advisers, blindsided our allies and Congress, and delivered early Christmas presents to our adversaries from Russia and Iran to Hezbollah and the Taliban,” wrote Rice. “If our national security decision-making process were even minimally functional, there would have been a carefully devised plan to execute moves, including wrongheaded ones.”
Rice placed the blame on national security adviser John Bolton and Trump.
Bolton, Rice said, does not meet with colleagues to discuss key issues and instead purposely hides things from them. He takes on too much work, she said, everything from cybersecurity to hurricane threats, without delegating. “These ill-advised choices alone would cripple national security decision-making,” wrote Rice.
She also said that the blame rested mostly on Trump’s shoulders: “The president couldn’t care less about facts, intelligence, military analysis or the national interest. He refuses to take seriously the views of his advisers, announces decisions on impulse and disregards the consequences of his actions,” wrote Rice. “In abandoning the role of a responsible commander in chief, Mr. Trump today does more to undermine American national security than any foreign adversary. Yet no Republican in Congress is willing to do more than bleat or tweet concerns.”
Trump first announced that he would withdraw troops from Syria in a tweet that took many of his closest advisers by surprise. “We have defeated ISIS in Syria, my only reason for being there during the Trump Presidency,” he wrote last week. He later defended the withdrawal on Twitter by quoting guests who appeared on Fox News’s The Laura Ingraham Show.