Former National Security Officials Worry What Trump Could Do In Iran And Afghanistan

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Christopher Miller, pictured on Sept. 24, became acting defense secretary after President Trump fired Mark Esper. Miller is perceived as more loyal to Trump than Esper.

Joshua Roberts/Pool/Getty Images


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Speaking to Mary Louise Kelly on All Things Considered, Schake says «a number of serious national security people are really worried» that Trump’s purge «is putting malleable people in place in order to end his administration with a bang.»

Schake cautions that she’s skeptical herself that an attack on Iran will happen, mainly because it would require coordination with U.S. allies who would oppose it.

Nicholas Burns, who worked in various jobs including under secretary of state for political affairs during the George W. Bush administration and on the National Security Council for Presidents George H.W. Bush and Clinton, agrees that foreign policy experts are worried about a preemptive Iran strike.

Another fear in the national security community is a rapid withdrawal of forces from Afghanistan, he tells All Things Considered.

«President Trump might try to accelerate the Afghan peace talks, to end the war there, and therefore to withdraw the American military forces in such a way that would be disadvantageous to the Afghan government,» Burns says. «I mean, the fear is that President Trump won’t be tough minded enough in negotiating with the Taliban.»

Top generals and civilians have argued that the situation is currently too volatile to leave Afghanistan quickly.

Both of those scenarios — Iran and Afghanistan — «would have a direct impact on our national security a year from now, two years from now, and certainly have an impact on President-elect Biden’s team as they come in in early 2021,» Burns says.

Listen to the full audio interview with Kori Schake and Nicholas Burns at the audio link above.

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