Mr. President, lets have a little talk...
"Mr. President, let's have a little talk..." icholakov/

Let's speculate about Steven Bannon's removal from the National Security Council. This is a big deal. As soon as Trump became president, his chief strategist, Bannon, made a move for and obtained a position in that powerful committee. This alarmed numerous citizens, politicians, and civil professionals. The former CEO of the extreme right (and racist and sexist) website Breitbart News Network might be calling the shots from the core of the world's biggest war machine. And to make room for Bannon, a bunch of military professionals were demoted. The future looked very bleak.

Then Trump's pick for National Security Advisor, the nutter Michael Flynn, was caught with his hands in the Russian cookie jar. He did not last a month in the White House. And more importantly, he was not replaced by another Trump nutter but a professional soldier, Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster. This was the beginning of the end for Bannon. McMaster clearly wanted a conventional National Security Council and none of this bizarre business of appointing political advisers. Bannon is now gone, and, as the New York Times reports, "senior military and intelligence officials who [were] downgraded when [Bannon] first came into office" have been restored. This, my friends, looks a military coup, but a soft one.

Yes, Trump has promised the already bloated Pentagon more money, but he has certainly rattled the generals with his tentacular Russian connections, his whacky appointments, his clashes (not with Russia but) with NATO, his reckless executive orders, and his disregard for the intelligence community. This looks like chaos, and generals tend to prefer stability and continuity.

With the White House under Trump—who is not a professional anything—and the GOP-controlled Congress and Senate following every word in his crazy tweets, the generals are seeing a political mess in the US that needs cleaning.

After learning of McMaster's appointment to National Security Advisor, an appointment that clearly did not originate with Trump, I predicted that, for the sake of stability, the Pentagon was going to be running this country more and more directly. Signs of this? A small one: In Trump's second Muslim ban, Iraq was removed from the list of banned countries (that fact has McMaster written all over it). A big one: Bannon has been demoted.