The apparent and surprisingly abrupt demise in Steve Bannon’s influence offers a major potential opening for neoconservatives, many of whom opposed Trump’s election precisely because of his association with Bannon and the “America Firsters,” to return to power after so many years of being relegated to the sidelines. Bannon’s decline suggest that he no longer wields the kind of veto power that prevented the nomination of Elliott Abrams as deputy secretary of state. Moreover, the administration’s ongoing failure to fill key posts at the undersecretary, assistant secretary, and deputy assistant secretary levels across the government’s foreign-policy apparatus provides a veritable cornucopia of opportunities for aspiring neocons who didn’t express their opposition to the Trump campaign too loudly.
I’m one of those folks, probably just one among many, here, who was a great admirer of H.R. McMaster. I’ve been following his public career since about 2006 and had always been impressed with his intellectual power and his blunt rejection of the Revolution In Military Affairs–concepts “that lead to the idea that you have perfect knowledge and can apply military power perfectly.” I have been forced, over the past few days, however, to come to the conclusion that McMaster is a big part of the problem in the mad rush to war on Syria that erupted, last week, war that could lead to a direct military confrontation with Russia.