Daniel L. Davis
Politics, North America
Though McMaster has a wealth of knowledge of military affairs, evidence suggests his worldviews sharply diverges from Trump’s at critical points.
National Security Advisor Lt. Gen. H. R. McMaster made a rare public appearance at the September 25 Institute for the Study of War security conference, during which time he explained what he saw as his primary job. “We’re there to serve the president and help him to advance his agenda,” McMaster reportedly said. “There’s nobody there to control the president or ‘keep him on the reservation.’” Yet a careful analysis of McMaster’s past and Trump’s history suggests that McMaster might be subtly changing Trump’s agenda rather than merely serving it.
An examination of McMaster’s decades of performance, speeches and articles reveals that at his core, McMaster has a fundamentally different worldview from that of the president. The views that Trump expressed during his drive to victory in the 2016 election are different than what President Trump has expressed since McMaster’s arrival—views that are more in line with those for which McMaster has for many years advocated.
Typically, an incoming president will appoint to his National Security Council an advisor who has a broad and deep understanding of military, diplomatic and political affairs. The president also expects the advisor to have an equally deep understanding of the lens through which he views the world so that his advice is consistent with what the president wants to accomplish. Though McMaster has a wealth of knowledge of military affairs, evidence suggests his worldviews sharply diverges from Trump’s at critical points.
In April 2016, then-candidate Trump first outlined his official “America First” view of the world. Trump said he was breaking from what had been American policy for more than a decade by flatly stating, “We’re getting out of the nation-building business.”