President #Donald Trump today lost his Senior Security Advisor, General #Michael Flynn, as a result of the controversy his contacts with Sergey Kislyak, Russia’s Ambassador to the United States. While the reasons behind the resignation involve serious issues of national security the Flynn case is also a lesson for #President Trump and his senior staff. Will they learn the message?

Political reality

Nobody doubts that at times politicians lie. It is part of their work and not for the banal reason many believe that they have things to hide. Politicians at times lie because they cannot reveal everything they know about upcoming changes in regulations which may affect share prices of major companies, or about details of ongoing investigations because revealing the truth may put at risk possible persecutions.

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Sometimes they have to lie to protect national security or interests.

Former General Flynn did not resign because he lied for these reasons. Flynn resigned because he had lied to cover up what was at best unethical behaviour on his part. In fact, his activities broke the Logan Law on contact with a foreign government, but worse still with a government suspected of having interfered in last November’s presidential election.

Controversial nomination

His original nomination as National Security Adviser was controversial from the beginning, not just because of his behaviour in service, but also because of his working contacts with Russia. This should have caused him to be careful with his behaviour as a public figure. Yet these doubts did not stop him from having contacts with the Russian Ambassador during the lead up to the Inauguration and his eventual confirmation as the country’s highest authority in matters of security.

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Worse still, Flynn lied when confronted on the conversations by specifically stating that these conversations did not touch matters relating to the Obama Administration’s most recent sanctions on Russia. He had forgotten that such conversations do not go unnoticed and uncontrolled by the country’s intelligence community.

He not only embarrassed Vice President Mike Pence who repeated the lie, but he also compromised the image of President Trump and the new Administration. Strangely the question being asked is not how he got his nomination, but why he was not removed from the position long ago rather than having to wait for his resignation.

Realpolitik

The incident involving #Michael Flynn was an important lesson of Realpolitik for all the members of the new Administration beginning with the man occupying the Oval Office. Donald Trump and his staff have made truth an issue in American politics since the beginning of the presidential campaign, particularly in relation to the Press when it questioned their reporting of figures and perceptions of #Donald Trump candidate and then President.

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The controversies of “fake news” and “alternative facts” were never about the figures given by the Press Corps. The worries of President Trump and his staff were those of the public’s image and perceptions of the new Presidency.

The Flynn Case clearly shows that sooner or later the reality of any situation will be revealed and the damage caused to the image is much greater than if the problems had been addressed at the proper time. Damage control is too late and harmful for the reputation of the White House, nationally and internationally.

The lesson

Flynn’s resignation is a hard blow for Donald Trump and will follow him for time in the future as the investigations of the former general continue. But the resignation will serve nothing if he and his staff do not understand and learn from the lesson.

The future will not remember the Trump Administration by its press briefings and the performance of staffers on television programmes. The future will remember and judge the current White House by what it does and does not do in the four or eight years it is in Office. Actions talk, not words. That is the true lesson.