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Renewal, not Revenge

August 17, 2018

In the life of nations, there are times that call for renewal. The old “State’s Rights” doctrine that protected slavery was ready for renewal in mid-19th century.

Renewal of American foreign policy after the Roosevelt and Truman Administrations was another time and after the fall of  the Soviet Union in 1991, another opportunity to take stock and renew our treaty obligations occurred.

Lincoln was the agent for removal of Constitutional protections of slavery.  Eisenhower was an agent for change in foreign policy after the Korean War .

But, James Baker, Secretary of State in 1991, nor President George H W. Bush could foresee a new world order of nation states after the Soviet Union collapsed.

Insight, experience, knowledge, organization and good luck are required at moments like that when the balance of power between nations changes.

The imbroglio between President Trump and our intelligence agencies suggests that this is the  time to renew the Central Intelligence Agency and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. A thorough review of both by the equivalent of “Team Bs” composed of “outside” intelligence professionals who are not a part of, nor beholden to, these agencies is required.

Gearing up with Team Members will not be easy because both Agencies have the resources to buy off anyone who opposes them. The virtues of a saint are required and there are few saints in government in Washington, DC nor in the  Think Tanks that study intelligence issues.

But, the real problem is that President Trump has hired very few professionals to fill top positions in his government and his White House is minimally staffed. John Bolton stands out because compared to Secretary of State Pompeo, he is a foreign policy genius. The President, Jared and Ivanka are simply over their heads and ought to step back and allow dedicated, conservative, professionals manage foreign, national security and intelligence policy.

If a team of such experience and dedication were in place, the Trump Administration could conduct a good housecleaning of all our intelligence agencies. Removing the security clearances of top agency personnel, however, is revenge, not renewal.

 

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