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Tags: kiron skinner | trump administration | nato | heritage foundation

Dr. Kiron Skinner Was Key to Trump Administration's NATO Success

Dr. Kiron Skinner Was Key to Trump Administration's NATO Success
Kiron Skinner speaks during an American Technology Council roundtable in the State Dinning Room of the White House, Monday, June 19, 2017, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Craig Shirley By Monday, 16 September 2019 04:18 PM EDT Current | Bio | Archive

If Dr. Kiron Skinner were a liberal, she’d be a household name.

Skinner, a Chicago-born African American woman, began her college career with an associates’ degree from Sacramento City College and ended it with a PhD from Harvard University. Following this, she served in numerous academic and political positions, most recently as the Director of Policy Planning at the U.S. State Department. She has also written and edited several fine books including books about Ronald Reagan’s writing and radio commentaries.

Despite this pedigree and prestigious career, most mainstream outlets reported with abounding ignorance of her recent departure from the State Department. While most chose to focus on the tawdry palace intrigue and the Praetorian Guard around Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (a multiyear obsession) few took the time to note that the doctor was one of the most indispensable leaders in the State Department and what the loss of her could mean for the future of the Trump administration.

Arguably Dr. Skinner’s greatest contribution has been the institutionalizing of the Trump Doctrine in regard to NATO. Critics have often mischaracterized the current administration approach to NATO as one of ambivalence and hostility. This couldn’t be further from the truth.

The reality is that Dr. Skinner and her colleagues in the Administration recognize the essential and indispensable utility of NATO, yet they are, often aggressively, seeking to redress an inequitable burden-sharing that has existed since even before the Cold War. Skinner has always been a realist about America and her place in the world, neither embracing the silliness of the neo-conservatives nor the pigheadedness of the isolationists. Much like Trump, much unlike the Bushes.

For obvious reasons, following the end of World War II, America, as the only western superpower, was forced to carry the majority of the weight once NATO was established in 1949. Even as other nations rebuilt and repaired their infrastructure and military capabilities, the United States continued to do most of the heavy lifting. In fact, some countries, rather than contribute to the organization, actively reduced their military and foreign spending, freeing them to invest heavily in their own countries, eventually surpassing the U.S. in some major domestic areas, such as roads and bridges.

Ironically enough, Donald Trump is not the first president to recognize this imbalance. President Barack Obama also pushed for our NATO allies to help share the burden, yet failed to receive any substantive concessions. Trump, with his pugilistic approach, actually got many of the demands that Obama failed to only a few years earlier.

In support of these demands, Dr. Skinner stated: “Nothing in the Trump Doctrine suggests that we are leaving the multilateral frameworks. But we are saying how do we right-size them, how do we make sure that they represent the national interest of the various nation-states.” Even The New York Times Editorial Board grudgingly reported, in July of 2018, that “Trump Got From NATO Everything Obama Ever Asked For.”

These results — one of the most significant wins of Trump’s first term in office — would have been impossible without the work of leaders like Dr. Skinner. They are indispensable in providing a framework and structure by which Trump’s foreign policy goals may actually be achieved.

Trump came in with an idea and an instinct, Dr. Skinner and her team helped make it a doctrine. Many were happy to see Dr. Skinner join the Heritage Foundation as a Visiting Fellow, but I know her loss will be felt in the Trump Administration at a time when it is needed most.

Craig Shirley is a Ronald Reagan biographer and presidential historian. His books include, “Reagan’s Revolution, The Untold Story of the Campaign That Started it All,” “Rendezvous with Destiny, Ronald Reagan and the Campaign that Changed America,” "Reagan Rising: The Decisive Years," and “ Last Act: The Final Years and Emerging Legacy of Ronald Reagan." He is also the author of the New York Times bestseller, “December, 1941” and his new 2019 book, “Mary Ball Washington,” a definitive biography of George Washington’s mother. Shirley lectures frequently at the Reagan Library and the Reagan Ranch. He has been named the First Reagan Scholar at Eureka College, Ronald Reagan’s alma mater and will teach a class this fall at the University of Virginia on Reagan. He appears regularly on Newsmax TV, Fox News, MSNBC, and CNN. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.

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Trump came in with an idea and an instinct, Dr. Skinner and her team helped make it a doctrine.
kiron skinner, trump administration, nato, heritage foundation
Monday, 16 September 2019 04:18 PM
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