JOHN KIRIAKOU: Trump’s Choice for Germany

High among Douglas Macgregor’s qualifications as U.S. ambassador to Germany is his opposition to endless wars. 

President Donald Trump addresses military personnel during a stop-over at Ramstein Air Force Base in Germany, Dec. 26, 2018. (White House, Shealah Craighead)

By John Kiriakou
Special to Consortium News

The adage that even a broken clock is right twice a day is true.  Donald Trump has made a positively inspired choice to be the next U.S. ambassador to Germany. Col. Douglas Macgregor, U.S. Army, retired, is the president’s choice to downsize the U.S. military presence in Germany.  Doug Macgregor is the right person to do the job.

In the interest of transparency, I know Macgregor and I consider him to be a friend, so I might be a little biased.  With that said, Doug’s focus on the “big picture” and his obvious intellect are two of the things that attracted my—and Trump’s—attention.  He is also surprisingly, and consistently, non-partisan.

Doug earned a BS degree from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, and an MA and PhD from the University of Virginia.  He’s a recipient of the bronze star with “V” for valor for his leadership in combat.  Doug went on to join Ambassador Richard Holbrooke’s team in Dayton, Ohio, which led to peace in Bosnia Herzegovina during the Clinton Administration.  He later worked closely with senior military and political leaders in the U.K. and Germany as the chief of strategic planning at NATO. 

He then headed the Joint Operations Center at NATO headquarters during the Kosovo campaign. (For the record, I was and remain opposed to the US intervention in Kosovo. I thought it was a mistake that, decades later, continues to hamper both regional stability and U.S. policy in the region.)

Douglas Macgregor in August 2020. (BMG-2048, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons)

All of this may lead to the question of why Trump would name him ambassador to Germany, especially when there are countless political hacks who probably wanted the job.  The reason is that Doug is truly an expert in military planning.  And he stands in firm opposition to the U.S. policy of continuous war. 

He is a regular commentator on Fox News, and he was able to convey his message of military downsizing to the president little by little through his television appearances.

Trump has spoken many times about ending the U.S. presence in Afghanistan and Iraq.  He also has spoken endlessly about pulling U.S. troops out of Europe.  He recently announced a reduction in forces in Germany, moving some 12,000 troops out of the country. 

Doug, too, has advocated for years for pulling U.S. troops out of Europe.  He has argued publicly that the U.S. should improve relations with Russia, rather than to prepare for war with it.  He believes the U.S. should not have a military presence in the Middle East.  He advocates diplomacy with China, rather than military confrontation in the South China Sea.

Doug has made a name for himself in Washington as an expert in strategic military planning.  He’s currently a senior official in a think tank that advises Pentagon policymakers on troop strength and other strategic issues.  And lately, he’s been a target of the mainstream media.  Neocon darling Max Boot lambasted Doug in The Washington Post, calling him “racist,” “pro-Putin,” and “anti-Merkel.” 

I would laugh if Boot’s comments weren’t so offensive.  Similarly, CNN hit him for his support of a border wall.  The outlet called him a “xenophobe” for having the audacity to have an opinion on the matter. (My own opinion is that the border wall is a red herring. It’s unnecessary, foolhardy, overly expensive, and, were it to be built, would be the cause of much human misery.)

The media and the blogosphere would complain about literally anybody named ambassador to Germany by Donald Trump.  Trump hasn’t made it difficult with some of the morons he’s named to important posts.  But Doug Macgregor is a winner.  This is a good choice.  He has the guts to say that we can’t afford endless war.  We can’t afford to have bases in almost every country in the world.  We can’t afford to continually provoke the Russians for no good reason.  Somebody had to be straight with the president on these issues.  Nobody was, until Doug Macgregor arrived.

John Kiriakou is a former CIA counterterrorism officer and a former senior investigator with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. John became the sixth whistleblower indicted by the Obama administration under the Espionage Act — a law designed to punish spies. He served 23 months in prison as a result of his attempts to oppose the Bush administration’s torture program.

The views expressed are solely those of the author and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.

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12 comments for “JOHN KIRIAKOU: Trump’s Choice for Germany

  1. Joe Wallace
    August 21, 2020 at 19:48

    John Chuckman:

    Good post! Hadn’t considered some of the points you raise. It’s just like Trump to suppose that withdrawing troops from Germany is a “punishment.” Everyone knows that hosting American troops is a privilege eagerly sought by all countries.

  2. John McCarthy
    August 21, 2020 at 14:11

    If Trump were to dump Pence and make this man his VP, he would be a shoe in.

  3. Taras77
    August 21, 2020 at 14:05

    I applaud this appointment 100% but it is a question as to how this realist can function in pompeo’s mad house state dept-there really is no latitude for someone with common sense and a realistic attitude towards restraint and cooperation to function with pompeo in charge.

  4. DH Fabian
    August 21, 2020 at 13:18

    Part of the political absurdity of this era has been that Trump’s reluctance to pursue serial wars, has been met with a measure of “outrage” from the liberal bourgeoisie. I don’t think it’s because they actually oppose scaling back US imperialism. It’s just that it’s Trump who is pursuing this course. The only way they can explain opposing peace is by trying to tie Trump’s motives into the (equally absurd) Russiagate scheme. But no, Trump’s motives aren’t that grandiose. He is driven by capitalist ideology, not political ideology. Reducing international tensions opens new markets, leading to increased sales and profits. Wars used to be great for business, thereby great for the economy, but that was decades ago. They’ve grown so costly that the opposite is true today.

    • Joe Wallace
      August 21, 2020 at 19:33

      DH Fabian:

      That’s an astute analysis of the motivation that drives so much of the opposition to Trump’s scaling back of empire. Well done!

  5. Aaron
    August 21, 2020 at 13:18

    “He believes the U.S. should not have a military presence in the Middle East.” I like him already.

  6. Damian Cano
    August 21, 2020 at 12:48

    Some of his views on Germany, NATO, and Europe generally are sound, but what disqualifies him in my mind is his rampant racism evinced by his support of the Wall, and his clear hatred of Latinos, Muslims and immigrants everywhere. In those regards, his own statements have shown him to be a person of naked bigotry, poor judgment and unsuitable temperament. Kyriakos’s defense of him makes no mention of these egregious shortcomings, but they’re friends, and what are friends for but to excuse or ignore your all too apparent warts. I think that these character flaws make him out clearly as someone who is unfit for any public office or military status. Yes, I find it difficult to be in agreement with Max Boot about anything, but this case deserves an exception.

  7. Guy
    August 21, 2020 at 11:20

    As an anti-war activist ,I am so pleased with this appointment of Col. Douglas Macgregor as US ambassador to Germany .
    Finally Trump has made a good decision on his appointment .My only hope that he is on a roll .

  8. John Drake
    August 21, 2020 at 10:29

    Stunning, I can’t remember when Trump actually made a good decision other than going golfing. When he is on the links and concentrating on his game he is doing less damage to the country.

    Max Boot doesn’t like him; that is a spectacular endorsement right there.

  9. August 21, 2020 at 08:17

    I find it hard to credit the author’s feel-good write-up about this appointment.

    Trump’s last appointment, Richard Grenell, raised holy hell in Germany. Some wanted have him declared persona non grata.

    His views were intrusive and rudely expressed, and he has the personality of poisonous snake.

    Something very odd going on.

    Trump’s motive for moving some troops from Germany was not about ending American occupation in Europe through NATO. Not at all. Indeed some of them are going to Poland, closer to Russia.

    By Trump’s own words and according to some good analysts, it was about punishing Germany, punishing it both for continuing with the second Russo-German gas pipeline (Nord Stream 2) and for not increasing its contribution to occupying NATO.

    Merkel and Trump are on extremely poor terms, and Ms Merkel and her ministers have been more openly critical of his methods than many. Trump has a very thin skin.

  10. August 21, 2020 at 01:54

    Let’s hope so.

  11. Eric Zuesse
    August 20, 2020 at 22:52

    Assuming that MacGregor will have access to the President.

Comments are closed.