This article is kind of an odd mishmosh of fact and fiction (well, perhaps better to say that information is being withheld when it might serve to be exculpatory for Mr. Trump). Let’s start here:
Signed by 122 Republicans from the foreign-policy community, it focused primarily on Trump’s character flaws and warned that he was unfit for the Oval Office.
The operative phrase here is from the foreign policy community. This is a reference to the sometimes nonpartisan group colloquially called the neocons, which is a group of both Democrats and Republicans who believe in large government institutions (earning the GOPers in this group the label “RINOs”) but above all, believe in using America’s economic and military power to extend the US’s power beyond its borders, and around the world. They are the politicians who support what Dwight Eisenhower referred to when he coined the term “military-industrial complex”.
And, further, these “neocons” believe that a failure to extend America’s power (at great expense, mind you) would destroy the existing world order and lead to a chaotic world, simply because nobody would be in “charge”. Ergo, they tar and feather any politician who commits the sin of not being a neocon with the label “isolationist”, even though we haven’t had a real isolationist anywhere near elective government for decades. But, any hint of wanting to scale back our muscular geopolitical involvement is met with that pejorative, nonetheless.
So, yes, because these individuals, who have on their list of “accomplishments” things like the Iraq War disaster, the misread of the “Arab Spring” that resulted in Libya becoming a failed state and haven for terror groups and Egypt reverting to a military dictatorship, and very nearly (had it not been for Mr. Trump’s election) repeating the mistake of Iraq by 10X in Syria, were convinced (and rightly so) that Mr. Trump would no longer support their global gamesmanship…….they opposed him as the Never Trumpers.
Finally, let’s point out that when you ask the American public if it should be the US’s responsibility to fund an American hegemony over 80% of the globe as the neocons prefer, they poll against it. Yet, the US military machine seems to continue to run unabated regardless of which party is in power, leading some to coin the term “Deep State” to describe it.
(OK, now that we’ve added that missing perspective, let’s move on.)
Neither McGrath nor Cohen thought Trump could win, but they were worried about the harm he was causing to the Republican Party.
It goes without saying that there’s a phrase missing from the above sentence; they were worried about the harm he might cause to their preferred “Republican” priorities. (Since 2008, with the failure of Iraq in the books and the advent of the Tea Party, there has been a lively minority inside of the GOP which is NOT neoconservative. The actual fear here is that the President might not be a neocon, which is why they preferred Mrs. Clinton, whose neoconservative creds are beyond reproach.)
He appears to lack basic knowledge about and belief in the U.S. Constitution, U.S. laws, and U.S. institutions, including religious tolerance, freedom of the press, and an independent Judiciary.”
The missing information here is that the entire Republican party, except for the neocons (who really don’t care one way or the other about the matter) believe that it’s the Democrats who threaten religious tolerance, and haven’t trusted the press for decades. Bellinger’s accusation seems to indicate that he was totally tone-deaf to the the growing portion of the GOP who were not “neocons”. (Good example of interparty tribalism, that.)
Earlier this year, Republican members of the House Intelligence Committee even implied that the Never Trump camp was to blame for any missteps by Trump campaign advisors.
Well, to the extent that it robbed the campaign of experienced hands, there’s *some* truth to that statement. Perhaps the NeverTrumpers should have thought things through before they removed themselves from the political sphere. (OTOH, I am sure some of them will make excellent insurance salesmen.)
But there is a long tradition in Washington of presidents setting aside intraparty political rivalries and overlooking past criticism to recruit the best people for top jobs.
Not when the “past criticism” includes statements like “unfit for office.” That’s entirely different than caustic remarks about policy differences. They made it personal.
In conclusion, I agree that losing all that foreign policy experience has indeed hurt our relationships with our counterparties. But since the neocons have hogged all of the the experience in those positions for decades, perhaps it can’t be helped. Regardless, this period of transition will allow us to raise up a new generation of foreign policy professionals who don’t want to use coercion and bribes to meet our policy objectives.