A former advisor to Barack Obama is speaking out this week to say that Joe Biden needs to “shake up” his national security team following the “disaster” in Afghanistan.
Brett Bruen, who was director of global engagement in the Obama White House, wrote a brutal oped for USA Today on Monday called “Ex-Obama adviser: Why Biden must fire his national security adviser for Afghanistan failure.” In this piece, he held nothing back when it came to the failures of the Biden administration on Afghanistan.
“President Joe Biden needs to shake up his national security team,” Bruen wrote. “The disaster that unfolded in Afghanistan is illustrative of other major issues at the White House. The people, plans and processes the president has put in place to keep America safe are not working.”
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The former Obama advisor went on to say that the chosen by Biden “have repeatedly failed to challenge their own assumptions” which had “sadly led to the most unnecessarily embarrassing day in the history of the National Security Council.”
Afghanistan descended into chaos on Sunday when Taliban fighters descended on the capital city of Kabul as the Afghani president fled the country and his government collapsed, according to Fox News. This came as the United States’ 20-year military presence is coming to an end, leading to questions about how the American government has handled the withdrawal of troops.
“The national security adviser has two jobs. As the name suggests, they are the last and ideally closest counselor to the president in the Situation Room,” Bruen wrote. “Their second duty is to translate the commander in chief’s decisions and direction into practical policies. Sometimes that requires speaking truth to power. On all of these scores, the current occupant of the office appears to have failed.”
During his time in the Obama administration, Bruen worked with U.S. National Security advisor Jake Sullivan. While he described Sullivan as “extraordinarily bright,” he also said that he lacks oversight experience.
“It can lead to the disconnect between ideas and implementation,” Bruen wrote. “Yes, Biden wanted out of Afghanistan. It was on Sullivan to figure out how to achieve the president’s goal while ensuring we avoided potential pitfalls and problems. That’s clearly not what happened.”
Though Bruen believes Biden’s mind was made up about withdrawing troops, he still feels that Sullivan should have gone all out in explaining the “real risks” to his plan.
“Instead of just going along, the national security adviser needs to lay out safer options that could accomplish the same stated goals,” Bruen wrote. “It’s not just on the decision to recklessly retreat from Afghanistan. The Biden administration has been stronger on slogans than substance when it comes to foreign policy.”
In the end, Bruen feels that Biden has placed “political types” in some of his administration’s most crucial positions, which he feels is a mistake.
“Indeed, there is only one career diplomat in a senior position on the National Security Council, the senior director for Africa,” he wrote,. “This is far fewer than under President Barack Obama. It means Sullivan and Biden are not getting advice from those with the most recent and relevant experience.”