It has been very hard, ever since he was selected as the president’s national security advisor, to find many nice things about Mike Flynn’s selection. Even those who worked with and admired Mike Flynn when he was one of the most talented military intelligence officers of his generation have largely either stayed silent or openly hoped that Trump’s holy trinity of Marines—Jim Mattis, Joe Dunford, and John Kelly—would be a moderating influence on Flynn within the president’s national security council.
The latest Kremlinology suggests that the Cabinet secretaries will use this past weekend’s incompetence to assert their own power relative to the White House staff, and other reports suggest that even within the White House, Flynn might already be losing influence with the president.
There is no reason why Mike Flynn cannot be a successful national security advisor to the president, though, and there are several indicators to suggest he might be putting the pieces in place to do so, should he survive these first few chaotic weeks. It all depends on the kind of national security advisor Flynn wants to be—and, as my former Pentagon colleague Kelly Magsamen put it—whether the president even incorporates Flynn’s staff inputs into his decision-making process.