Trump’s Four-Star Friends

The incoming Trump administration keeps nominating former top military brass. Is that such a bad thing?

On this episode of The E.R., Max Boot joins us to discuss his new book "The Road Not Taken."
On this episode of The E.R., Max Boot joins us to discuss his new book "The Road Not Taken."
On this episode of The E.R., Max Boot joins us to discuss his new book "The Road Not Taken."

On this week’s episode of The E.R., David Rothkopf, Rosa Brooks, Julie Smith, and Tom Ricks share their thoughts on President-elect Donald Trump’s Cabinet, which is being increasingly filled with generals. Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn will be Trump’s right hand man as national security advisor, Gen. James Mattis has been nominated for the top job at the Pentagon, and the latest general to join the ranks, Gen. John Kelly, has been tipped to head up the Department of Homeland Security.

It seems Trump is creating his own military junta. But is that really a bad thing? Perhaps these men will bring some common sense and government experience to the table. But just because they have similar backgrounds, the panel argues, doesn’t mean they’ll see eye to eye -- with each other or the commander in chief. Flynn has a reputation for acting erratically, while Mattis and Kelly are seen as more traditional, conservative leaders of men. But can they take orders from Flynn? Will this cause strife within the inner circles of Trump’s most trusted advisors? Who will be the first on the chopping block?

Julie Smith is a senior fellow and director of the strategy and statecraft program at the Center for a New American Security. She is also an advisor at Beacon Global Strategies LLC. Follow her on Twitter at: @Julie_C_Smith.

On this week’s episode of The E.R., David Rothkopf, Rosa Brooks, Julie Smith, and Tom Ricks share their thoughts on President-elect Donald Trump’s Cabinet, which is being increasingly filled with generals. Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn will be Trump’s right hand man as national security advisor, Gen. James Mattis has been nominated for the top job at the Pentagon, and the latest general to join the ranks, Gen. John Kelly, has been tipped to head up the Department of Homeland Security.

It seems Trump is creating his own military junta. But is that really a bad thing? Perhaps these men will bring some common sense and government experience to the table. But just because they have similar backgrounds, the panel argues, doesn’t mean they’ll see eye to eye — with each other or the commander in chief. Flynn has a reputation for acting erratically, while Mattis and Kelly are seen as more traditional, conservative leaders of men. But can they take orders from Flynn? Will this cause strife within the inner circles of Trump’s most trusted advisors? Who will be the first on the chopping block?

Julie Smith is a senior fellow and director of the strategy and statecraft program at the Center for a New American Security. She is also an advisor at Beacon Global Strategies LLC. Follow her on Twitter at: @Julie_C_Smith.

Tom Ricks is a columnist at FP, where he pens the daily column “Best Defense.” He has covered the U.S. military for 25 years, writing for the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post. His upcoming book, Church & Orwell: The Fight for Freedom will be released in May 2017. Follow him on Twitter at: @tomricks1.

Rosa Brooks is a senior fellow at the New America Foundation and teaches international law, national security, and constitutional law at Georgetown University. She is the author of the newly released book How Everything Became War and the Military Became Everything. Follow her on Twitter at: @brooks_rosa.

David Rothkopf is the CEO and editor of the FP Group. Follow him on Twitter at: @djrothkopf.

Subscribe to FP’s The E.R. and Global Thinkers podcasts on iTunes.

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