The Gen. Flynn Debacle: What Price Optics?

This week has given us one of the more significant developments to date concerning the new administration of President Donald Trump in the resignation of national security adviser Michael Flynn over the question of his alleged communications with a Russian official over U.S. sanctions against Russia, and whether lifting said sanctions were part of these communications. Figuring prominently into the mix are questions of whether Flynn was entirely forthcoming with the administration concerning these communications.

The significance to which I refer does vary contingent upon who happens to be taking up the analysis of this issue, but most doing so would likely agree that it has the potential to affect the long-term deportment of the administration, its relationship with the press and overall representation (or “game face”) as regards the American people. Prior to Flynn’s resignation, that representation had been one of marked and derisive disregard for the administration’s detractors – an attitude that resonated positively with its supporters.

Tangential to Flynn’s resignation has been the issue of leaks, which supposedly revealed his communications with the Russian official in the first place. One of the most cogent early assessments of the Flynn debacle came from radio host Laura Ingraham, who claimed that the leaks that ultimately resulted in Flynn’s resignation were “the stuff police states do.”

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“They work to destroy the reputations of good people using information that is classified and private against individual citizens,” Ingraham said. Claiming that there was no way at present to be sure whether or not Mike Flynn lied to administration officials concerning these communications, the popular radio host pointed to the ongoing campaign on the part of leftists in Washington, including “Obama embeds, who are able to stay in the government and remain in their positions” as being largely responsible. “They want to undermine Trump as much possible, and I think some of them have committed federal crimes in doing this,” Ingraham said.

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Not that this should be a surprise to anyone who has been living above ground for the last eight years. There is a certain irony in the surrogates for the most seditious and subversive administration in the history of this country (namely, the Obama administration) attempting to act as the nation’s ethics gendarmes when it comes to the Trump administration. Indeed, looking at our recent history, the administration ought to consider anyone in government employ who hasn’t come on to the job in the last few weeks as highly suspect – akin to the booby traps enemy combatants leave for occupying forces when the former are forced to flee the combat zone.

In the case of Flynn, of course, the determination might have been made by Trump that it was far better to cut him loose than be saddled in future with accusations of “Russia’s lackey” coloring Americans’ view of their president’s Russia policy, whatever that shapes up to be. Obviously, it has not escaped notice that letting him go might have been just the validation Trump detractors were looking for – a wedge, as it were, to cleave support away from the administration. Bear in mind that those who are driving the movement to derail the Trump train continue to characterize the entire administration as racist, misogynistic and xenophobic as a matter of course, and that these are the same agencies that, along with the Obama White House itself, essentially fabricated out of whole cloth the post-election stories of Russian hacking leading to Trump’s victory.

Still, there’s little doubt at this point that the administration is walking a fine line between delivering on a strong foreign policy in contrast to the ankle-grabbing deportment of the Obama administration, and appearing to harbor individuals within its fold who might compromise those efforts.

As with so many aspects of the new administration and its general character, only time will tell what impact Flynn’s resignation will have on the long-term strategy of this body. Certainly, the Trump administration knows that it won’t do at all to have the American people believe that it employs principals who might compromise our national security interests. Predicating its responses and damage control efforts on the designs and accusations of those who suborned treason and the installation of truly questionable individuals into positions of power over the last eight years, however, is not a prudent strategy either.

Article reposted with permission from Erik Rush

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