Clint Watts: The Coming Battle Between Trump’s Zealots and America’s Pragmatists – Foreign Policy Research Institute

America’s adversaries are unlikely to waste much time before testing this erratic administration and pursue their interests. When America’s enemies advance, who will win out in the administration? The ironically cooler-headed “Chaos” Mattis or the astonishingly angry Bannon? 

If it’s the latter, and Trump’s “Zealots” reign supreme, America should prepare for war, which may be exactly what the inner circle seeks as conflict often brings allegiance when its against a foreign adversary — i.e., the “rally `round the flag” effect. But let’s hope it’s the former, and the “Pragmatists” can keep things calm, weigh options, and pursue for America strength through patience, partnerships, and principles. 

My guess: we’ll know which side wins the war inside the Trump administration in the summer of 2018. Past administrations with strong internal rivalries usually see the first causalities of bureaucratic war emerge during year two when they’ve lost favor with the White House. The first appointees and strategists we see exit the Trump administration because “they achieved what they set out to do” or “to spend more time with their family” will be the public sign to America as to who wins the battle between the “Pragmatists” and “Zealots.”

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