It’s Splitsville for Trump and His Generals | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED


It’s Splitsville for Trump and His Generals

Devoid of prior experience in either government or the military, Trump radically misconstrued the role of commander-in-chief. The title itself is a grand one, suggesting that the bearer makes decisions (Remember George W. Bush: “I am the decider.”), to which subordinates respond by briskly saluting, making an about face, and marching off to do precisely what they’ve been told to do.

As Trump has discovered, very much to his frustration, that’s not the way the civil-military relationship actually works. While enthusiasm may greet some presidential national security-related actions—calls to increase military spending, for example—others can induce resistance. Smart presidents minimize resistance by making sure that senior officers are onboard before announcing a decision. Less smart presidents—recall, for example, Bill Clinton’s abortive efforts to allow gays to serve openly in the armed forces— find themselves obliged to back down.

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