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Thu Jul 28, 2016, 09:18 AM

Why Trump Fails—and Clinton Passes—the Commander-in-Chief Test

Three months ago, my former boss and mentor, retired Defense Secretary Bob Gates, questioned whether Donald Trump has the temperament to be president. While I fully share Secretary Gates’ concerns about Trump’s disposition, I am equally troubled by the Republican nominee’s views on national security, which he laid out again at a startling news conference on Wednesday, including the bizarre claim that “NATO changed their whole program because of me” and he might let Russia keep Crimea. He also appeared to call upon Moscow to launch another cyber-invasion of the U.S. so as to find Hillary Clinton’s "30,000 emails that are missing."

America today faces three principal national security threats: from radical Islamists, who seek to terrorize Americans and overthrow the existing order in the Middle East; from a resurgent Russia, which seeks to reassert its dominance over the former Soviet Empire and overthrow the existing order in Europe; and from a rising China, which seeks suzerainty in Asia. In all three areas, Trump has shown a limited grasp of the nature of the threat and has proposed strategies that would make America less secure.

As a Green Beret, CIA operations officer and senior national security official, I have served under six presidents—four Republicans and two Democrats. The last was Barack Obama, and for four years in the White House Situation Room, I saw Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s sound strategic judgment first-hand—on the Afghanistan surge, the campaign to dismantle and defeat core al Qaeda in Pakistan’s tribal region, the raid to kill Osama bin Laden, and on lethal support for the moderate Syrian opposition. Secretary Clinton has the temperament, national security experience and strategic judgment to be an outstanding commander in chief. Donald Trump does not. I’m with her.

Throughout the Cold War and during much of the post-9/11 period, Republicans have generally enjoyed an advantage with the electorate in the area of national security. Yet at a time when threats to America are increasing substantially, the Republicans have inexplicably chosen as their nominee someone with less national security experience than any candidate since the 1940s. Indeed, the gap in national security qualifications between the two major party candidates is greater than at any time since 1952, when Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower ran against Adlai Stevenson.


Read more: http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2016/07/2016-national-security-military-defense-commander-in-chief-test-trump-clinton-214104#ixzz4Fi0gcmUd
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