NEW YORK — Today marks one year since National Security Advisor Robert C. O’Brien began his tenure. His first anniversary highlights a string of successes that he has helped President Donald J. Trump deliver for the American people. Their fruitful collaboration confirms Trump’s wisdom in tapping this attorney and veteran of at least 20 international arbitrations.
O’Brien, 54, arose on Trump’s radar in his previous post: Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs. Often jetting to global hot spots, O’Brien helped free Americans who were kidnapped or unfairly detained. To date, Team Trump has liberated some 50 Americans previously trapped in 22 countries.
President Trump summarily sacked former National Security Advisor John Bolton on September 10, 2019 after 17 months on duty. Bolton disappointed many conservatives who had admired his deep thoughts. Alas, he ultimately detonated himself by repeatedly locking horns with the commander-in-chief, promoting his own views rather than arraying options for Trump, and attempting to sabotage the president in policy disputes, according to Politico, by “using the news media against him.”
Trump slid O’Brien into Bolton’s smoldering shoes. “I have worked long & hard with Robert,” Trump announced via Twitter. “He will do a great job!”
Trump first directed O’Brien to tighten the NSC. Its staff had ballooned 128 percent, from 105 under Bush-Cheney to 240 under Obama-Biden. O’Brien has squeezed his roster from 180 professionals when he arrived and foresees 105 by late fall. The newly svelte NSC stopped executing foreign-affairs operations. Instead, it resumed its traditional role: objectively to present the president’s choices and let him pick.
Under this framework, O’Brien and the NSC have supported President Trump as America’s international triumphs multiply:
- In a stirring ceremony on Tuesday afternoon, the president and the leaders of Bahrain, Israel, and the United Arab Emirates signed the Abraham Accords. Israel’s UAE peace treaty was its first in 26 years. Bahrain followed, just 29 days later.
- O’Brien guided consultations that yielded an economic-cooperation accord between Kosovo and Serbia, including the latter’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
- O’Brien’s discussions with Turkey and the Kurds last fall let President Trump announce a ceasefire between these ancient enemies and prevent the former’s liquidation of the latter.
- Thanks largely to O’Brien’s dialogue with Afghanistan, the president is withdrawing U.S. troops from that briar patch. Consequently, no American GI has been killed there since early February.
- O’Brien has helped President Trump collect $130 billion, so far, in additional military spending from America’s NATO allies. By insisting that NATO members honor their public commitments to contribute 2 percent or more of GDP to collective defense, at least nine European nations have pledged an aggregate $400 billion through 2024.
- Confirming that an NSC chief does more than negotiate, O’Brien assisted Trump with a key covert operation. Building on the president’s total eradication of the ISIS caliphate, which Obama-Biden let swell to the size of two New Jerseys, O’Brien coordinated U.S intelligence agencies and Special Forces to terminate ISIS founder Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
- As an original member of the President’s Corona Virus Task Force, O’Brien helped initiate the life-saving Chinese and European travel bans. He also followed Trump’s instructions and nudged private companies to manufacture 120,000 ventilators, up from 10,000 stockpiled in April.
Veteran policymakers applaud O’Brien’s service to Trump.
“O’Brien has zeroed in on what I consider to be the overarching national security threat: the Chinese Communist Party,” said John Lenczowski, former Director of European and Soviet Affairs in President Ronald Reagan’s National Security Council. “O’Brien’s comment that successive administrations’ failure to discern the strategic intentions attending the rise of China was the biggest foreign policy failure since the 1930s is dramatically true — and it was courageous of him to say it.” Lenczowski, now president of Washington, D.C.’s Institute of World Politics added: “China is the ‘main thing’ — and O’Brien understands this. Thank God!’
John Lehman, President Reagan’s Navy secretary, praised O’Brien’s “grasp of geopolitics and the proper missions for each of the armed services and his proper grasp of the importance of ‘soft power.’”
Former Senator Jim Talent (R – Missouri) said, “The President trusts Robert’s competence and integrity, and Robert is very enthusiastic about the President’s ‘peace through strength’ vision for national security.”
Given the commander-in-chief’s growing international wins, the American people should elect him to a second term, so he can continue to advance U.S. interests. If victorious, President Trump should keep Robert C. O’Brien, to help America and her allies stay free, safe, and prosperous for four more years.
Deroy Murdock is a Manhattan-based Fox News Contributor, a contributing editor with National Review Online, and a senior fellow with the London Center for Policy Research. Murdock has known O’Brien since they both won college scholarships from the Washington Crossing Foundation in the early 1980s. Bucknell University’s Michael Malarkey contributed research to this opinion piece.