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Trump infuriated over McMaster's THAAD expense comment

Posted May. 11, 2017 07:32,   

Updated May. 11, 2017 07:36


Currently a known member of "The Axis of Adults" who handles haphazard U.S. foreign and security policies, U.S. National Security Adviser Herbert McMaster is face to face with Trump over the issue of the subject that burdens the cost for THAAD. While McMaster who is focused on establishing security strategies based on strong ties with traditional allies, Trump and his aides hoisted new isolation from the start of the election campaign.

Bloomberg reported on Monday that Trump was infuriated as McMaster stated that the U.S. will comply with the existing agreement that the U.S. will pay for expenses related to THAAD.

On his Fox News Sunday interview on April 30, McMaster said, "What I told our South Korean counterpart is until any renegotiation, that the deals (on the current agreement on THAAD) in place, we’ll adhere to our word.” According to Bloomberg, Trump was “livid” after he read a news article on the interview, and yelled at McMaster over the phone. At that time, McMaster carefully expressed his opinion, saying, “The last thing I would ever do is contradict the president of the United States,” but his statement was not enough to avoid Trump’s fury.

Conflict between Trump and McMaster is highly likely to heighten in the future, given that Trump recognizes the relations with allies as “transactional” and therefore never shy to blurt out unexpected remarks. Foreign Policy also explained that these kinds of situations (where Trump degrades U.S. allies) inevitably put McMaster in an impossible position of trying to mend fences (with U.S. partnering nations) while not being seen as undermining his boss, the president of the United States.

It was known that Trump even went further and recently told others in private that he regrets appointing McMaster. There were sayings that Trump called McMaster "the general undermining my policy" straight to his face. Experts also analyze that a gloomy shadow is casted upon McMaster, mainly spearheaded by White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon and his successor Michael Flynn who still wields significant influence on Washington. Bloomberg reported that McMaster is faced with limits when expressing his opinions related to personnel matters, as his attempt to dismiss new National Security Council (NSC) appointed by Flynn was blocked by Bannon and Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner.

Gi-Jae Han record@donga.com