1. President's Daily Book Briefings – The notion that a president or president elect is under ANY obligation to sit through a lengthy daily briefing from a team from the Director of National Intelligence office is just wrong. This system was constructed to meet the perceived needs of various presidents for information on the world. It is routinely reshaped to suit the desires of the president. The intelligence guys would dearly love to shape their briefings so as to make them prescriptive, in other words definitive for policy. They seldom get to do that but they do try. IMO Trump has policy opinions of his own and is unlikely to be "guided" by the expressed opinions of the DNI or anyone in the intelligence community. IMO that is a good thing. Do we want to be governed by someone who yields to the self-important and organizationally "invested" views of the intelligence barons? If Trump wants Flynn to inform him rather than listening himself to the artful blandishments of skillful briefers, more power to him! I say that as someone who has briefed the high and mighty many times over many years.
2. An emerging ME alliance – Egyptian Air Force fighter aircraft and helicopters have arrived on a Syrian Air Force base in Hama Province. The media speaks of an emerging axis of alliance among: Egypt, Syria, Iraq and Algeria to combat Sunni jihadism. I presume that Russia will be very supportive of such an alliance. At the same time Erdogan's Turkey continues to arrest thousands of opponents and speaks of joining the alignment sponsored by Russia and China even as he continues to support jihadis in Syria.
3. The Trump team – In spite of the plaintive bleating of the Democrats about the legally non-existent national popular vote and re-counts that will never happen or will prove nothing but the ability of Stein to raise money, Trump is moving steadily forward with formation of a national security side of his incoming administration. If I were asked I would advise him to carefully interview people like Mattis, Pompaio, Flynn, Halley and other prospects for nomination or appointment to make sure that these people will follow his foreign policy in both specific and general terms. Mattis lost his job as CENTCOM commander for crowding the Iranians by sending US warships inshore where they were evidently expected to provoke a fight. This was contrary to Obama's policy and Mattis was warned about this behavior before he was replaced. Mattis should be cautioned against exceeding his authorities before being made SECDEF. Flynn's childish foolishness in going to Moscow at Russian Government expense to attend a conference and allowing his picture to be taken at table with Putin was so indiscreet as to raise questions about his maturity and judgment. He should be privately cautioned against that kind of self-indulgence> Pompaio is a tea party congressman from a great plains state who was once in the US Army for a few years and left as soon as he could. He was first in his class at USMA? So what? He was an undergraduate and that was a long time ago. He appears to be filled with a great belligerence towards Russia, Syria and Iran. If President Trump orders him to stop all assistance to the "moderate" and jihadi groups CIA has been assisting in Syria, will he carry out his orders or seek to avoid them? If Romney is made SECSTATE will he follow a policy of detente with Russia, China, etc. or will he try to go his own way? There are yet more important nominations to be made; DNI, and Ambassador to Moscow among others. All of these nominees should be interrogated for the same assurances. If that is done a baseline for performance will be had. pl