When President Donald Trump pledged to drain the swamp on the campaign trail last year, his supporters certainly figured that this meant no swamp rats would be included in his administration. Of course, they would inevitably be disappointed. Many members of the reviled political establishment found their way into the Trump administration, none of them more odious than National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster.
McMaster replaced Michael Flynn in his role, who was ousted for omitting information to Vice President Mike Pence. Flynn bucked the Washington D.C. foreign policy consensus in key ways, but his successor, McMaster is a fierce proponent of the status quo of endless warfare. So much so, in fact, that he is threatening aggressive war against North Korea even as their missile tests continue to come up short.
“What you’re asking is are we preparing plans for a preventive war, right?” McMaster said in response to conservative-leaning pundit Hugh Hewitt on MSNBC. “A war that would prevent North Korea from threatening the United States with a nuclear weapon. And the president’s been very clear about it. He said he’s not gonna tolerate North Korea being able to threaten the United States. If they have nuclear weapons that can threaten the United States. It’s intolerable from the president’s perspective. So of course, we have to provide all options to do that. And that includes a military option.”
McMaster indicated that he doesn’t particularly care if North Korea poses a legitimate threat the United States or not. He just wants the sabers be rattled incessantly no matter what, in true neoconservative fashion, no matter what possible damage it may cause.
“I’m not going to confirm [whether the latest ICBM could reach anywhere in the U.S.] but whether it could reach San Francisco or Pittsburgh or Washington, I mean how much does that matter? It’s a grave threat,” McMaster said.
McMaster’s belligerent interventionist orthodoxy has caused friction between he and President Trump, as reports have persisted that he is looking to oust the general from his post. Trump released a statement in support of McMaster last week, but that has done little to quell the speculation.
“General McMaster and I are working very well together,” Trump wrote in a prepared statement. “He is a good man and very pro-Israel. I am grateful for the work he continues to do serving our country.”
McMaster’s loyalty has come into question after he booted Ezra Cohen-Watnick, former senior director for intelligence on the National Security Council, from that position. He also extended a security clearance for Susan Rice, the Obama-era official who “unmasked” classified information about the Trump team while in power, a move that inflamed critics but the NSC insists was completely overblown. Other observers have questioned McMaster’s support for the state of Israel as well.
Regardless of McMaster’s true motives and his possible disloyalty to Trump, any supporter of a sane and sober non-interventionist foreign policy should want this man to be removed from the administration post haste.