Trump critic Patrick Cronin to head plum Pentagon think tank

Patrick Cronin, an Asian security expert with the Democrat-leaning Center for New American Security, has been named to the plum post of director of a key Pentagon think tank, the Asia Pacific Center for Security Studies.

The appointment was announced March 10 in a notice from the center that said Mr. Cronin was approved by Defense Secretary James Mattis.

While Pentagon spokesman Capt. Jeff Davis said Mr. Mattis “was not involved in this decision” that was made before President Trump took office in January, the selection has set off criticism among conservative China analysts who are concerned about Mr. Cronin’s views and writings on China. However, the key eyebrow-raiser for critics was Mr. Cronin’s signing of an anti- Trump protest letter last year.

The liberal was among 122 Republican national security officials who signed an open letter in March against then-candidate Trump.

“We are united in our opposition to a Donald Trump presidency,” the signatories stated. “Recognizing as we do, the conditions in American politics that have contributed to his popularity, we nonetheless are obligated to state our core objections clearly.”

The letter opposed Mr. Trump for what the signers said were “swings from isolationism to military adventurism” and for aggressively waging trade wars.

“He is fundamentally dishonest,” the letter said, adding that the former officials are committed to “working energetically to prevent the election of someone so utterly unfitted to the office.”

Mr. Trump announced during the campaign that the critics who signed the two letters opposing his presidential candidacy were part of the “failed establishment” and would not be appointed to positions in his administration.

Other Trump critics have failed to make it past White House political vetting that blocked several proposed candidates over their opposition to the president. They include Elliot Abrams, a veteran Republican national security official who was in line to be deputy secretary of state.

Asked about his opposition to Mr. Trump, Mr. Cronin said in an email that he will report to the undersecretary of defense for policy as well as the Asia team in the Pentagon and at Pacific Command.

Full article: Trump critic Patrick Cronin to head plum Pentagon think tank (Washington Times)

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