US President Donald Trump has appointed the Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs at the Department of State Robert O’Brien as the United States National Security Advisor to succeed John Bolton, who was sacked a few days ago.
“I am pleased to announce that I will name Robert C. O’Brien, currently serving as the very successful Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs at the State Department, as our new National Security Advisor. I have worked long & hard with Robert. He will do a great job!” Trump said.
O’Brien received his law degree from the University of California, Berkeley School of Law and graduated, cum laude, from UCLA with a degree in political science.
O’Brien previously served as Co-Chairman of the U.S. Department of State Public-Private Partnership for Justice Reform in Afghanistan under both Secretaries Rice and Clinton. He served as a Senior Legal Officer for the UN Security Council commission that decided claims against Iraq arising out of the first Gulf War. Before taking up the new position, he worked with US hostage families, advised senior US government leadership on hostage cases. He seeks to develop and implement a hostage recovery strategy in the United States.
The US president has appointed a negotiator who is good at negotiating and the international law in an increasingly complex international security environment.
We remember that days before Bolton’s dismissal, Trump canceled a secret meeting planned with the Taliban and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, he announced on Twitter. He pointed out to the suspension of negotiations against the backdrop of a bloody attack on Thursday in Kabul and adopted by the Taliban. This was a surprise, especially as the talks were about to reach an agreement that would have ended the 18-year conflict. This unprecedented meeting, under Trump’s “summit diplomacy,” was to be held days before the 18th anniversary of the September 11, 2001, attacks that led to the US invasion of Afghanistan. The meeting aimed at toppling the Taliban regime to accuse the movement of harboring al Qaeda.
There are unknown things in such cases, and they are known only years later when official documents are published or major actors come and publish their memos.
President Trump felt that the stage needed a negotiator, a political scientist with a geo-strategic view, contrary to the consultants who worked under President Bush. Their foreign policy at that time and their military intervention without precise “strategic goggles” continue to throw their heavy bill on the White House, US foreign policy, the future of national security, and even the world.
At that time, there was confusion in strategic work, because members of the diplomacy and national security team worked at different levels, had different roles in the state, and hierarchical organizational structures. Everyone needs to respect his role and work, from planning, strategy and policy, to communicate effectively, and to exchange information among themselves, and ultimately with the American people.
This confusion led to the deviation of some roles for some American institutions, and thus to weak production and cost-effectiveness.
The four features of a modern strategic structure: volatility, apprehension, complexity, and ambiguity are driving American presidents to adopt multiple decision-making mechanisms. Counselors play a major role in this area.
If we remain in the example of the United States of America, and in its foreign policy, we remember the wide-ranging thinking between Secretary of State Colin Powell under Bush Jr. and Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld.
We know that the US Department of State and Defense is linked to military power. Excellence and military might push the American diplomacy to political success. Colin Powell rejected military intervention in Iraq without international legitimacy, but Rumsfeld’s last word was. Yet, the issue of identifying the wrong official in the current failure to stabilize many areas, such as Iraq, has been raised in the scenes of US diplomatic and military services.
Trump understood that the international security environment has become more complex than in the past. They need new-theorists and advisors who are good at understanding policy, strategy, and planning and implementing them as three overlapping determinants of foreign policy.
Contributed by Ahmad El-Assasy