Blogs: The Skeptics

The Future of U.S. Primacy: Power to Lead, But No Longer to Command

Trump, Clinton and Foreign Policy: An Interview with Michael Desch

Our Aggressive Pursuit of Global Democracy Has Backfired

No One Should Be Above the Law

The Skeptics

In March 2011 Flournoy testified before the House Armed Services Committee that her assessment of the mission “found that our strategy was on track, that our forces and civilians were making real progress on the ground, and that we were making great strides in growing an ANSF capable of ultimately providing security in Afghanistan.” I exposed at the time how they were giving assessments they had to know were false. Scaparrotti brushed my report off during a February 2012 press conference by saying he had seen my report and “it is one person’s view” and that he was “confident in my personal view that our outlook is accurate.” Events since have conclusively proven these officials were dead wrong.

Far from being punished for misleading the country, Flournoy is now the Chief Executive Officer of the Center for a New American Security and rumored to be a leading candidate for Secretary of Defense should Hillary Clinton win. Scaparrotti was subsequently promoted to four stars and given a prestigious command in Europe.

It seems that many of the nation’s elite are unconcerned about the loss of trust or public opinions, but these trends are not without consequences. Numerous warning flags give evidence of the growing risk.

One hundred top foreign policy experts in the nation published an open letter to America in which they warned voters of the dangers posed by Trump. Yet, the people rejected the opinions of these elite leaders by voting for Trump in record numbers. Even Clinton barely survived her battle with the previously obscure Bernie Sanders. The Washington Post recently chronicled the concerning rise of militia groups in the United States opposed to our government, increasingly filled not by fringe or paranoid people, but mainstream Americans.

What will happen in our country if these trends continue is impossible to predict with any certainty. One thing is certain, however. The less confidence people have in their government, the more disaffected they feel, the further they feel alienated from the country’s elite, and the more likely they are to challenge the status quo. The status quo certainly needs to change, but doing so under the auspices of an angry, distrusting populace is not the best way to craft effective, rational policies.

Daniel L. Davis is a widely published analyst on national security and foreign policy. He retired as a Lt. Col. after twenty-one years in the U.S. Army, including four combat deployments, and is a Foreign Policy Fellow for Defense Priorities and a member of the Center for Defense Information's Military Advisory Board. Follow him on Twitter @DanielLDavis1.

Image: Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates testify to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Wikimedia Commons/Defense.gov.

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Sanders May Lose the Nomination, But He Won Big on Fixing Superdelegates

The Skeptics

In March 2011 Flournoy testified before the House Armed Services Committee that her assessment of the mission “found that our strategy was on track, that our forces and civilians were making real progress on the ground, and that we were making great strides in growing an ANSF capable of ultimately providing security in Afghanistan.” I exposed at the time how they were giving assessments they had to know were false. Scaparrotti brushed my report off during a February 2012 press conference by saying he had seen my report and “it is one person’s view” and that he was “confident in my personal view that our outlook is accurate.” Events since have conclusively proven these officials were dead wrong.

Far from being punished for misleading the country, Flournoy is now the Chief Executive Officer of the Center for a New American Security and rumored to be a leading candidate for Secretary of Defense should Hillary Clinton win. Scaparrotti was subsequently promoted to four stars and given a prestigious command in Europe.

It seems that many of the nation’s elite are unconcerned about the loss of trust or public opinions, but these trends are not without consequences. Numerous warning flags give evidence of the growing risk.

One hundred top foreign policy experts in the nation published an open letter to America in which they warned voters of the dangers posed by Trump. Yet, the people rejected the opinions of these elite leaders by voting for Trump in record numbers. Even Clinton barely survived her battle with the previously obscure Bernie Sanders. The Washington Post recently chronicled the concerning rise of militia groups in the United States opposed to our government, increasingly filled not by fringe or paranoid people, but mainstream Americans.

What will happen in our country if these trends continue is impossible to predict with any certainty. One thing is certain, however. The less confidence people have in their government, the more disaffected they feel, the further they feel alienated from the country’s elite, and the more likely they are to challenge the status quo. The status quo certainly needs to change, but doing so under the auspices of an angry, distrusting populace is not the best way to craft effective, rational policies.

Daniel L. Davis is a widely published analyst on national security and foreign policy. He retired as a Lt. Col. after twenty-one years in the U.S. Army, including four combat deployments, and is a Foreign Policy Fellow for Defense Priorities and a member of the Center for Defense Information's Military Advisory Board. Follow him on Twitter @DanielLDavis1.

Image: Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates testify to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Wikimedia Commons/Defense.gov.

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