America never hesitates to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, often posting political campaigners to important positions in government rather than actual subject matter experts. For instance, Ben Rhodes was nothing more than a failed novelist, speech writer and campaigner for President Obama, but none the less became a national security advisor. Contrary to promises about “draining the swamp,” President Trump has not broken this promise but rather filled his national security council with people who just made the swamp even more dank than it was before.
These personalities include the quickly defrocked national security advisor General Flynn, a self-described Leninist Steve Bannon who is no longer on the NSC, and the non-counter-terrorism expert Sebastian Gorka.
What Donald Trump is in danger of doing is creating a personalized regime centered around himself, something that has not really existed in American tradition. Examples include posting his family members into key positions around himself at the White House. This follows more of a Medieval Italian tradition than anything, trusting only those within the family on the assumption that they would never do anything to hurt their own family. With President Trump’s wife remaining in New York City to care for their young son, Ivanka Trump has become the de facto First Lady. With her background in fashion and business, she now works as her father’s assistant at the White House.
Ivanka’s husband, Jared Kushner is the President’s senior advisor, bringing to the table his experience in real estate, finance and publishing. How exactly this translates into diplomacy or military strategy remains a mystery, and yet Kushner has been deployed to Iraq by his father-in-law president to meet with senior Iraqi leaders and show support for the Baghdad government. Pictures of Kushner hitting the ground went viral over the last few days as he wore body armor over a GQ style look that must have taken some time to cultivate out in the desert. One can only imagine what senior US military leaders were thinking, although by the time they make colonel or general they are probably numb to know-nothing politicians coming to visit.
Kushner showing up looking like Patrick Bateman from American Psycho was probably not the “optics” that the administration was looking for. Someone should have reminded him that his riding lessons are in the Hamptons not in Baghdad. These optics appear to show the son-in-law of the king surrounded by his medieval serfs and conscripts, educating them about how to battle the barbarian hoards at the periphery of the empire. How Kush is actually positioned to solve anything in Iraq remains to be seen.
Kushner is also in charge of resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Good luck Jared.