“The truth is that it is really difficult to predict what kind of role McMaster will play," Schirach, President of the Global Policy Institute and Professor of International Economics at BAU International University said in an interview.
McMaster was appointed last week to succeed retired Army Lieutenant General Michael Flynn who had been forced to resign in a controversy over a pre-inauguration conversation he had with Russian officials.
“The position and role of the US national security adviser is not clearly defined, and the record shows that the ‘job description’ has been shaped and reshaped many times,” Schirach pointed out.
“Henry Kissinger, National Security Adviser to President Richard Nixon, was a sophisticated thinker on geopolitics who left a powerful foot print. [However] Susan Rice, NSC Adviser under President Barack Obama, was not high profile,” he explained.
The Trump administration was still in the process of sorting out its real national security priorities, Schirach observed.
“Will the new US Government strongly support NATO, or not? Trump said at some point that that NATO is ‘obsolete.’ [But] Secretary of Defense James Mattis and Vice President Mike Pence went to Europe to reaffirm the US total commitment to the Atlantic Alliance,” he noted.
Similar policy differences existed on dealing with Iran, Schirach recalled.
“Trump indicated that the Iran nuclear deal is bad, while his Secretaries of State and Defense have not indicated any American intention to withdraw from the agreement negotiated by the Obama administration along with the UK [United Kingdom], France, Russia, China and Germany,” he said.
Much would depend on the way McMaster decided to interpret his duties, Schirach suggested.
Schirach acknowledged that McMaster had a reputation as a scholar and an accomplished field commander with an impressive combat record.
However, “It is really hard to say how these qualities will help him with his new White House job. Coordinating US foreign and national security policies is not the same as leading tanks into battle,” he cautioned.
McMaster enjoys the strong support of arch Republican hawk Senator John McCain and US neoconservatives, especially William Kristol and Robert Kagan, the husband of former Assistant Secretary of state for European Affairs Victoria Nuland.