General McMaster Interview – Transcript

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It’s a dangerous world and as you look around and see there are a ton of hot spots, this next question is politically sensitive but you said everything was open when we started this thing, does an event like the indictment, foreign policy or national security impact, in other words, do foreign allies get rattled by it, do adversaries get rattled by it, does it somehow constrain the Trump administration foreign policy?.

National Secretary Adviser HR McMaster says: No, you know, I’ve seen no evidence of the investigation in any way impeding the important work that we’re doing.

So what we’re endeavoring to do is to regain our strategic focus, and so what the president asked us to do in the National Security Council is, devolving responsibilities and authorities and decision-making back to the departments.

Agencies who have to execute those policies, and we’ve done that, and with all that time we’ve saved mulling about tactical details we’ve established a very strong foundation, the foundation of strategy clearly articulated objectives for the main national security challenges we’re facing now.

One of those challenges is Russia, and what we’re endeavoring to do with Russia is to counter Russia’s destabilizing behavior that we saw really grow significantly. In the last several years, you can go back to the denial of attacks in Estonia in 2007, invasion of Georgia 2008, the intervention on the side of the Assad regime in Syria you can just go on and on.

There’s a disturbing pattern, and then of course you have the subversion of democracies as Western Europe has suffered, from this you saw Russian hands in the catalonia independence referendum, you’re starting to see Russia active in Mexico, and well, in advance of the Mexican election.

So what we’ve been focused on is the things we have to do with Russia to counter their destabilizing behavior including the hybrid warfare or new generation warfare where they attempt a sophisticated strategy of subversion, but really disinformation and propaganda to polarize communities and affect our confidence.

I gave this talk about strategic confidence, it’s really an element of reclaiming our strategic confidence, is having confidence in what unifies us as Americans.

So it would be great if every time we talk about what divides us we also at least give equal time to what unites us as Americans . So we want to confront Russia’s destabilizing behavior, we want to deter conflict with Russia, it wouldn’t be in anybody’s interest to have a large-scale conflict with Russia.

What we need to do is try to find areas of cooperation with Russia. I mean, you know we’re in very close contact and there’s sort of a national security advisors support group, we get together periodically at conferences and we’re always on the phone with each other, and there’s tremendous confidence.

I think there’s more confidence in the United States, frankly I think there’s a sense that we are engaging in areas where we had largely disengaged, what we’ve endeavored to do now is to engage in a meaningful way with allies and partners to break this horrible cycle of sectarian violence, to defeat Isis we have now ,with our allies and partners defeated Isis in 95 percent of the so-called Caliphate in Syria and Iraq.

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