A TRUMP STATE DEPARTMENT
Yet only two of those pictured are Afghan – the white-bearded gentleman in the middle, famous commander Moli Shakur, and his aide standing behind him.
The man on the left of the picture is yours truly. The man on the right is the man who should be the next Secretary of State.
President-elect Trump is wisely considering a number of qualified candidates for SOS. What I am about to say is in no way to criticize them. The however is that with one exception, they will run Foggy Bottom according to their world-view.
The exception is the man you see gently cradling an AK-47 in his left hand – for his world-view almost uncannily coincides with that of Donald Trump. He’s US Congressman from California Dana Rohrabacher.
With Dana, President Trump will get a Trump State Department – not that of anyone else.
Yes, Dana has been one of my closest and dearest friends on the planet for 50 years – since we were in Youth for Reagan together in Ronald Reagan’s original campaign for California Governor in 1966.
When Dana was in the Reagan White House for 8 years, we developed what the press called the Reagan Doctrine, President Reagan’s strategy to rid the world of the Soviet Union and win the Cold War.
But Dana was far more than an armchair strategist. Let me ask you – who else but Dana would have the moxie to actually risk his life to join the Mujahaddin in the Battle of Jalalabad in 1988? It was a close thing, we barely scraped out of an artillery barrage aimed at us.
Recall that it was defeat in Afghanistan that triggered the collapse of the Soviet Union. The Soviets retreated from Afghanistan in February 1989. Nine months later in November, the Berlin Wall fell.
In the many years since, as a Congressman on the Foreign Relations Committee, Dana has gained an intimate on-the-ground knowledge of countless countries, and developed real friendships with leaders across the globe.
A typical example. For many years, the Egyptian military would send a delegation of officers annually to Washington to meet with whomever they could. Because of Egypt-Israel tensions, many doors on Capitol Hill were closed to them. Not Dana’s.
An unabashed supporter of Israel, Dana nonetheless knew that any sort of real rapprochement between the largest and most important Arab country – Egypt – and Israel was in our interests. So Dana made sure to meet with the Egyptian military delegation every year. One of the officers was a lowly colonel at the time, and he and Dana just hit it off, really bonding on a first name basis.
That colonel eventually became a general, and today he is the democratically elected leader of Egypt, President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.
Let’s focus on this. To repeat, Egypt is the largest and most important Arab country there is. For it to fall into the hands of the Islamofascists of Iqwan Muslimi, the Moslem Brotherhood, would have been a catastrophe. It was Sisi who prevented this, virtually singlehandedly.
Sisi stood alone, for President Barack Obama was on the side of the Moslem Brotherhood and did everything he could to undermine Sisi’s struggling government. Sisi is arguably the bravest leader of any country in the world today – and Dana’s support for him in Congress based on his personal knowledge of who he was, became critical for the very survival of Egypt.
I am not in government. For forty years I’ve run an expedition business leading expeditions to remote places in the world. By now, I’ve been to every single country on earth.
Yet so often I’ll be talking with Dana, some country in the world that most Americans have never heard of will come up – and Dana will give me an insight about it that I didn’t know. How does he know that? I always ask myself. That’s Dana.
I know the world very well – but I would make a lousy Secretary of State. I don’t have the temperament.
Few people understand how raw were the dynamics within the Reagan White House, for example. Guys like Jim Baker, Mike Deaver, and Dick Darman were political operatives who despised us Reaganauts who were there because of their commitment to Reagan’s principles.
Dana was the most unyielding, unswerving Reaganaut of them all. He would get the squishes infuriated almost constantly. I saw Darman absolutely livid at him, screaming inches right in front of his face because Dana was blocking some stupid thing Darman wanted. Darman could fire Dana and have him thrown out of the White House within an hour.
I wouldn’t have cared. I would have just laid Darman out cold on the floor. Not Dana. Somehow he always kept his cool, saying just the right thing that calmly and smoothly made a procedural end run tying Darman (or Deaver or Baker) in knots – and that was that.
Dana did this for 8 years. You have no idea how much Dana pissed off the White House squishes on almost a daily basis – yet they could never get rid of him.
It’s similar with the Congressional GOP Elite.
Take his relationship with Newt Gingrich. Newt as Speaker was instrumental in gaining Most Favored Nation status for China in a deal he made with Bill Clinton.
That deal included sneaking in the elimination of the requirement that Congress had to annually certify China was making progress in human rights for MFN to remain in effect. Dana led the fight against this – and Newt’s ramming it through helped Clinton create the economic ties and structure with China that resulted in the gigantic transfer of wealth (in the many trillions) from America to China.
Dana led the fight against Newt’s insistence that US aerospace companies be allowed to sell missile technology to the Chicoms. Dana did all he could to convince Newt of the danger of this, Newt repeatedly ignored Dana’s warnings – which resulted in China today having missile technology that is of immense threat to America.
Or let’s take Russia. It’s well known I don’t think much of Vladimir Putin. We had an interlude in October 1995 when he was in Washington as Deputy Mayor of St. Petersburg.
Putin, Dana, Ed Royce (now Chairman of House Foreign Relations) and I retired to the Irish Times bar on Capitol Hill for a pint of Guinness and I ended up beating him in arm wrestling. I haven’t thought much of him ever since.
But Dana realizes the value of Russia not being our implacable enemy. Further, he fully grasps how it is in Russia’s interests to not be alone in the world up against a predatory China.
Eastern Siberia is a vast area of millions of square miles much of which is uninhabited. Right across the border live hundreds of millions of Chinese without the water, trees, and abundant resources of Russian Siberia. Without America’s support, Russia has little chance of preventing a Chinese Siberia before long.
In fact, Dana would suggest, as Nixon went to China to give us leverage with the Soviet Union, that President Trump consider going to Russia to cooperate in keeping Beijing’s aggressive behavior towards all of its Asian neighbors in check, and partner in destroying Islamofascism.
In short, Dana has a capacity for strategic vision that others in SOS contention might not match.
Here’s the bottom line. Dana’s world-view coincides more closely with that of President-elect Trump’s than anyone else.
Further, he has the unique combination of unswervable pro-freedom and pro-America principles, a geostrategic vision how best to support them, and knowing how to “not-react” in high intensity situations with powerful people – how to be diplomatic yet never cave in.
Put that together with his vast knowledge of the world and friendships with many of its leaders.
A President Trump needs a Trump State Department. That’s what he’ll get with a Secretary of State Rohrabacher.