Doug Macgregor, Friend of TAC, Tapped for U.S. Ambassador to Germany
One can cast any number of aspersions on President Trump’s hiring decisions but this isn’t one of them. The White House announced today that he intends to nominate Ret. Col. Douglas Macgregor to be U.S. Ambassador to Germany, a post vacated by Richard Grenell, officially, in June. Grenell had been serving as both ambassador and acting Director of National Intelligence, based in Washington, since February.
Macgregor should be a familiar face/voice to the TAC readership. As a retired colonel he has been a truthteller in the first degree, bringing clarity and pointed criticism to an institution—and a national security ecosystem in Washington—he feels has been wracked by corruption, inefficiency, bloat, and hypocrisy. Since his turn as a combat commander in the first Persian Gulf War, he has been a tough advocate for strategic reform and has never minced words in this regard. He is a rare but cherished breed of retired soldier in the Imperial City: he doesn’t truck with Washington gasbaggery, and is happy to call it out when he sees it. He was a vocal critic of the Iraq War and its star General David Petraeus. He loathes blind fealty to orthodoxy, especially the failed kind. He has spoken at several TAC foreign policy events, authored pieces for this website, and has been a dynamic and informed source of mine for countless stories in my own career.
In recent years, Macgregor’s name has been on the short list for a number of Trump vacancies. Why? Doug is a conservative whose own foreign policy views have naturally dovetailed with the stated goals of the Trump Administration: get out of endless, useless wars in the Middle East. Bring the troops home. Eschew the advice and pressure of the so-called expert class in Washington, which, by the way, got us into all of those wars in the first place. Of course, given the court politics, he didn’t make the cut for any of these appointments, including the top policy job at the Pentagon this spring. Word was he had some detractors in the E-Ring, including Secretary of Defense Mark Esper. Politico reported at the time that it was because he is seen as “bitter” for not getting four stars and being vocal about it. But let’s be serious, someone who advocates giving the military less things to do is not going to be the first kid picked for the team, or the second, or the third.
Well Trump has seemed to have found a way around it. Word is he has good chemistry with Doug and they have been talking for some time. Some might ask what experience he has for heading our diplomatic presence in Germany. I’d say he is whip-smart, knows his history, and is committed to U.S. interests. He has a broad familiarity working with foreign delegations and military, and he won’t break the china. Personally, I think he will be appropriately committed to our European relationships, but he won’t be intimidated or pushed around, either.
Given the political climate, however, he may have a tough confirmation—to be sure his detractors may include both Democrats and Republican hawks who don’t like his attitude. Stay tuned.