President-elect Donald Trump’s national security transition has been more chaotic than others in recent memory, with important positions unfilled and many of his people less able, or willing, to engage on substance, U.S. officials said.
The uncertainties surrounding Trump’s personnel, policies, and rise to power have rattled many of America’s allies, including Japan, Germany and Britain, at a time when China is more assertive, Russia more aggressive, terrorism more diffuse, the Middle East still unstable and North Korea nuclear-armed and unpredictable, said U.S. and foreign diplomats.
Disruption and uncertainty can provide strategic advantages, Mark Lagon and Ross Harrison of Georgetown University wrote in Foreign Policy magazine. “But what is seriously in doubt is whether Trump’s disruption will be strategic or beneficial to U.S. foreign policy interests. Even before getting elected, he acted like a missile without a guidance system.”
Top Trump officials, however, described the transition as having gone smoothly, including on national security.