The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is reportedly furious over the fact that Donald Trump’s administration has procrastinated over a co-ordinated handover of the Defence Department to the incoming team of President-elect Joe Biden, writes Business Insider.
Citing the present challenges facing NATO, two of the alliance’s officials and a former Barack Obama administration defence official are cited by the outlet as warning that procrastination over a transition is dangerous.
A “historic” breach of the American government's key networks allegedly carried out by Russia, the tasks facing NATO allies fighting together in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, and East Africa, and flaring tensions with Iran ahead of the anniversary of the assassination of its top commander Qasem Soleimani were all cited as requiring immediate attention by the Biden team.
"The refusal to co-ordinate the handover of the most powerful military force in the world in a united, responsible manner would be almost unthinkable in the annals of history - except of course it's 2020 and we are talking about the incredibly selfish, irresponsible a*****e called Donald Trump," said a source, according to the publication.
The sources added that from the standpoint of an ally, it was imperative that an incoming Biden administration be “fully briefed and ready to deal with these very dangerous issues”.
In mid-December a massive hacking of US government agencies was blamed on Russia, without any proof, as US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, the chairmen of the Senate and House of Representatives' intelligence committees, Marco Rubio and Adam Schiff, levelled groundless accusations at Moscow. The Kremlin was quick to refute the unsubstantiated claims.
Flaring US-Iran tensions have also rattled the American defence officials ahead of the first anniversary of the US assassination of Qasem Soleimani, a senior Iranian military commander, on 3 January. Tehran repeatedly threatened to retaliate, and the stand-off was decried as potentially explosive.
Earlier, US Department of Defense spokesperson Susan Gough acknowledged that a number of meetings have been carried out by the Pentagon officials with the President-elect’s team. One of the sit-downs was said to have taken place on 30 December and focused on Russia's alleged hacking attack.
"The Biden-Harris DOD Agency Review Team (ART) has met with the combatant commanders for US Cyber Command; US.European Command, which included NATO as an agenda topic,” said the spokesperson.
Additionally, DOD has provided the ART with several responses to requests for information and a number of information papers, including in the initial transition books, Gough added.
Trump’s last-ditch staffing decisions and Pentagon changes have also come under fire, writes the outlet.
President Donald Trump appointed acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller to take over from fired predecessor Mark Esper in November, after which the Pentagon announced plans to draw down troops in Iraq, Afghanistan and Somalia. Subsequently, long-time members of the Defense Policy and Defense Business Boards were replaced with Trump loyalists.
In mid-December the administration revealed plans to build new Navy ships, while drastically cutting Army and Air Force priorities and mulling withdrawal of support for CIA counterterrorism missions at the start of 2021.
The moves, as well as appointments, suggest analysts, might “interfere” with the Biden administration.
A defence official from the former president Barack Obama administration voiced concerns that chaos might follow in the wake of Trump’s recent decisions.
"It's probably going to be another mess someone will have to once again clean up, for Donald Trump and his merry band of idiots. The real risk is everything that they're not watching or helping prepare the Biden team for as they run around pursuing personal goals at the taxpayers' expense," the source was cited as cautioning.
Trump refused to recognise the results of the presidential elections of 3 November, when his rival, Democrat Joe Biden, was proclaimed the winner by most mass media. The incumbent president had declared the voting “fraudulent", with his legal team launching court battles in a bid to overturn the results. Although fending off accusations that he was deliberately stalling over the transition procedure, Trump finally granted permission for it to go ahead “in the best interests of our country”.
I want to thank Emily Murphy at GSA for her steadfast dedication and loyalty to our Country. She has been harassed, threatened, and abused – and I do not want to see this happen to her, her family, or employees of GSA. Our case STRONGLY continues, we will keep up the good...— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 23, 2020
Ultimately the Electoral College voted Joe Biden as President and Senator Kamala Harris as Vice-President of the United States. The inauguration is scheduled to take place on 20 January 2021.