The Other McCain

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PURGE? The Firing of Rich Higgins Is a Dangerous Omen at the White House

Posted on | August 3, 2017 | 1 Comment

Rich Higgins is an experienced national-security specialist.

For months, I’ve been deliberately ignoring the “White House chaos” stories about the Trump administration, which I discounted as (a) the usual shakedown-cruise stuff of a new team in office, (b) typical staff infighting, and (c) hyped-up scandal-bait produced by the anti-Trump Beltway media. However, I cannot ignore the ill omens surrounding today’s news about the ouster of Rich Higgins:

A top official on the National Security Council was fired last month by National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster reportedly after he argued in a memo that President Trump’s administration is under sustained attack from globalists and Islamists.
Rich Higgins, a former Pentagon official who served in the NSC’s strategic-planning office as a director for strategic planning was fired on July 21, The Atlantic first reported.
The memo, written in late May, described threats to the administration by globalists, bankers, the “deep state,” and Islamists.
“Globalists and Islamists recognize that for their visions to succeed, America, both as an ideal and as a national and political identity, must be destroyed,” it said.
Higgins was called into the White House counsel’s office two weeks ago and asked about the memo. Later that week, he was told by McMaster’s deputy that he was losing his job.

Now, I don’t know Rich Higgins personally, but he’s a friend of several of my friends, and a guy with solid national-security credentials. While his “deep state” memo was widely ridiculed, many of the main points Higgins made are actually more mainstream in the conservative movement than his Republican critics are willing to admit, e.g.:

Globalists and Islamists recognize that for their visions to succeed, America, both as an ideal and as a national and political identity, must be destroyed. … Islamists ally with cultural Marxists because, as far back as the 1980s, they properly assessed that the left has a strong chance of reducing Western civilization to its benefit. Having co-opted post-modern narratives as critical points, Islamists will co-opt the movement in its entirety at some future point.

This is basically the point that David Horowitz made in his 2004 book Unholy Alliance: Radical Islam And the American Left. This is not any kind of “alt-right” or “white nationalist” argument, but rather a geopolitical explanation for why the Left, which claims to stand for “progressive values,” including feminism and gay rights, so often functions as a de facto ally of Islamic fundamentalism, an ideology antithetical to progressivism. If making such an argument it now grounds for termination within a Republican administration, what hope is there that Trump can win his political fight against the Left? And the firing of Rich Higgins isn’t an isolated event. Adam Kredo at the Free Beacon:

An ongoing staffing purge being conducted by White House National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster has thrown the West Wing into chaos, according to more than half a dozen Trump administration insiders who told the Washington Free Beacon that McMaster has been targeting long-time Trump loyalists who were clashing with career government staffers and holdovers from the Obama administration. . . .
More purges are said to be on the way, according to multiple insiders who described a list of at least four other senior NSC officials McMaster intends to target. Other sources confirmed the likelihood of more purges, but disputed some details on that list. . . .
The latest victim of this purge is Ezra Cohen-Watnick, a senior NSC official originally hired by ousted National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. The White House acknowledged in a statement late Wednesday evening on Cohen-Watnick’s departure that McMaster viewed him as in conflict with his vision for the NSC.
A second senior official, Rich Higgins, who worked in the NSC’s strategic-planning office as a director for strategic planning, was fired last month. The president was not informed of the move until after Higgins was fired, according to one source who is in regular contact with senior NSC figures.
Published reports described Higgins’ firing as a “lasting victory” for McMaster over longtime Trump officials who helped get the president into office.

Michael Warren at the Weekly Standard analyzes the firing of Higgins as part of a White House purge whose ultimate target is Steve Bannon.

This is serious enough that I have broken my long silence about the “White House chaos” narrative. It is certainly time to take alarm when an experienced staffer like Higgins is fired for speaking the truth.