White House Officials Say Matt Pottinger To Be Deputy National Security Adviser
Sept. 22, 2019 (EIRNS)—Several press outlets are reporting that White House officials have told them that Matt Pottinger will be appointed as Deputy National Security Adviser to the newly appointed National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien. Pottinger has been a senior adviser to President Donald Trump on Asia policy, involved in arranging the meetings with North Korea’s Chairman Kim Jong Un and on China policy. He was the President’s representative to the first Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in Beijing in May 14-15, 2017. Robert O’Brien made the announcement on Sept. 22 to media aboard Air Force One en route to New York for the UN General Assembly, according to Reuters.
Pottinger graduated from the University of Massachusetts Amherst with a Chinese language major, and is fluent in Mandarin. He worked as a journalist with Reuters and the Wall Street Journal from 1998 to 2005, with seven of those years in China. He then joined the Marine Corps, serving as an intelligence officer in Iraq and Afghanistan. In Afghanistan, he was an adviser to Gen. Michael Flynn, and co-authored a report with Flynn published in January 2010 through the Center for a New American Security, titled “Fixing Intel: A Blueprint for Making Intelligence Relevant in Afghanistan.” They argue in the report that the military intelligence units, by focusing only on the enemy rather than also on the population, had left the government in Washington and the population in the U.S. dependent on the media for information on the actual situation in Afghanistan.
In 2017, Trump recruited Pottinger to the National Security Council, where Flynn (during his brief time as NSA) made him the NSC’s Asia Director, where he has remained until now.
In October 2018, Pottinger addressed a conference at the Chinese Embassy, together with Chinese Ambassador Cui Tiankai. Press accounts show that, following Ambassador Cui emphasizing closer cooperation rather than competition, Pottinger quoted Confucius, in Chinese: “If names cannot be correct, then language is not in accordance with the truth of things. And if language is not in accordance with the truth of things, affairs cannot be carried on to success,” as reported in SupChina.
Pottinger went on to note that China and the U.S. “are engaged at a certain level in competition. To avoid acknowledging this fact would be to court misunderstanding and invite miscalculation. So we have in some sense rectified the framing of our policy to reflect the reality of an evolution in our relationship. [The passage from Confucius is famously known as the
“rectification of names”—ed.] And I think that is OK. For us in the U.S., competition is not a four-letter word, the notion of free and fair competition sits at the core of American democracy and of our market economy, and it is not incompatible with notions of social harmony. And social harmony among people can not exist without acknowledgment of our competitive instincts.”