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Obama’s Security Adviser: 5 Ways the Trump White House Is Putting U.S. at Risk

March 22, 2017, 3:40 PM UTC

President Obama’s adviser on national security says the new administration is putting the country’s safety at risk.

In a Washington Post editorial Tuesday, Susan Rice argues that “false statements from the White House are part of a disturbing pattern of behavior that poses real and potentially profound dangers to U.S. national security.”

Rice says the Trump administration “deliberately dissembles and serially contorts the facts,” and she’s outlined five ways in which continuing to do so will hurt the country:

1. It may become more difficult for the U.S. to persuade others to action. “For the United States to mobilize collective action, other nations must accept the validity of our facts and the seriousness of the challenge,” Rice writes. “Often, U.S. requests are costly and politically difficult for other nations to heed. They do so only when convinced that the cause we champion is legitimate and that their interests are served by publicly aligning with the United States.”

2. Traditional allies might start doubting America’s reliability. “… When America’s word is frequently found to be false, doubts arise and allies may hedge their bets by reducing their reliance on the United States and seeking improved relations with traditional adversaries.”

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3. Not having a basis of trust can turn missteps into crises. Rice points to the Edward Snowden leaks, which disclosed reports of eavesdropping on the personal communications of the leaders of Germany, France, Brazil and other countries. “It was essential to repairing those ties that fellow leaders accepted as truthful Obama’s personal assurances that he was unaware of such alleged activity and that such surveillance would not happen in the future for example.”

4. Adversaries’ misinterpretion of the U.S.’s intentions may lead to conflict. “They may be more prone to miscalculate, thus risking conflict, when they doubt whether the United States means what it says.”

5. In a crisis, the president may not find popular support. “When the American people question the commander in chief’s statements, his ability to harness public support to confront a national crisis is undermined.”