POLITICS

It Was 'Safer Before Soleimani Was Killed,' Retired Admiral Tells Jake Tapper

There's no room for well-planned strategy in the "turmoil" of personnel changes in Donald Trump's administration, warns retired Adm. James Stavridis.

America was “safer” before Iranian top commander Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani was killed last week by a U.S. drone strike, retired Adm. James Stavridis told CNN’s Jake Tapper on Monday.

And the disturbing threat to America will likely continue because the Trump administration is too chaotic to carefully plan a strategy, Stavridis warned on “The Lead.” A large part of the chaos is caused by constant upheaval in personnel in the administration, he said.

“This is a tactical move that takes a very dangerous chess piece off of the board — but we need a strategy like you do in a chess match ... to think about the longer term. How can we leverage the fact that Soleimani is gone and what are our next moves?” he said. America needs to “get better at launching ideas; we’re really good at launching missiles.”

Stavridis said he doesn’t believe the Trump administration is strategic due to the “turmoil and the change” of people, and the loss of strategic thinkers.

“We are on the fourth national security adviser, our second CIA, our second State Department in the course of three years. So there’s been no time to develop strategy and think,” he said.

The admiral said former national security adviser H.R. McMaster created a “pretty good” strategic document while he held his job. But, “from all I can see, that is not the course that this ship is being steered on,” Stavridis said.

Robert O’Brien, the current national security adviser, was appointed in September.

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