Defense Secretary James Mattis announced Thursday he would resign at the end of February, sending a note to President Trump saying he deserved a secretary "whose views are better aligned with yours."
“My views on treating allies with respect and also being clear-eyed about both malign actors and strategic competitors are strongly held and informed by over four decades of immersion in these issues,” Mattis wrote. “We must do everything possible to advance an international order that is most conducive to our security, prosperity and values, and we are strengthened in this effort by the solidarity of our alliances.”
"Because you have a right to have a Secretary of Defense whose views are better aligned with yours on these and other subjects, I believe it is right for me to step down from my position," Mattis wrote.
Ouch. His resignation letter is very telling.
https://thehill.com/homenews/administra … ion-letter
Hi IslandBites, here is an uninformed thought, prompted by the "also Afghanistan" angle.
If we haven't accomplished our goal there after 17 years, (a blurb I heard on the TV), then is it unreasonable to say it is time for them, ((Afghanistan), to stand up for themselves?
As for Syria ... what is our responsibility there? I think the answer to that would determine whether we should stay or leave. Are we in it for humanitarian reasons, or is it a proxy situation?
[EDIT] Your OP drew this response as being relative to Gen. Mattis' sentiment that he disagreed with these actions. (the final straw?)
Once again, GA the voice of reason asking insightful questions.
Putting aside CIA insurgent operations that were instigated in nations like Libya and Syria... which I really have a tough time doing because without factoring in the fact that we backed some of the worst elements that became ISIS, you can't properly address the matter... still, I'll try.
Fact - Syria would not be a destabilized state if not for our interference. The Russians and President Bashar al-Assad would have managed it just fine. There wouldn't have been hundreds of thousands killed and millions who fled if not for America's actions.
Fact - Afghanistan, initially we had to go, and that was understandable, but the past decade or more has been a complete waste of time, money, and lives. What we do there now is a tragedy for all who sacrifice and serve there, we do more to support the opium industry and the terrorists today than you could imagine.
We never should have toppled Libya, never gotten involved with Syria, and should have gotten out of Afghanistan long ago.
Iraq is a mess, I have no good answers for it, and you can't lay the blame for it on anyone but Bush & Cheney & Rumsfeld, but the rest, still being in Afghanistan, and Libya & Syria that's all on Obama and Clinton.
Finally we have a President getting us OUT of wars instead of getting us into new ones.
I think the timing and manner of the withdrawal are the issue.
There are strong indications this was a hurried, unplanned decision, ignoring the advice of advisors and allies alike(1).
The Secretary of Defense resigned soon after the decision was announced. As far as I am aware no Secretary of Defense has ever resigned in protest. In case there is any doubt it was in protest, his resignation letter included:
". . . I believe we must be resolute and unambiguous in our approach to those countries whose strategic interests are increasingly in tension with ours . . .
My views on treating allies with respect and also being clear-eyed about both malign actors and strategic competitors are strongly held and informed by over four decades of immersion in these issues. We must do everything possible to advance an international order that is most conducive to our security, prosperity and values . . .
. . . you have the right to have a Secretary of Defense whose views are better aligned with yours on these and other subjects, I believe it is right for me to step down from my position"(2).
As diplomatic language goes, this is a blistering criticism of a sitting president.
Mattis is essentially saying Trump is weak and ambiguous in the face of foreign adversaries; does not respect allies; is not clear-eyed about those foreign adversaries; and is not doing what's in the interests of the country.
If a Secretary of Defense feels the need to publicly imply the current president is not doing what's in the interests of the country, that's a serious cause for concern.
Also, the U.S. envoy to the global coalition to fight ISIS has now accelerated his planned resignation, in protest. His statements include:
"The recent decision by the president came as a shock and was a complete reversal of policy that was articulated to us . . . It left our coalition partners confused and our fighting partners bewildered. . . I ultimately concluded that I could not carry out these new instructions and maintain my integrity"(3)
Again, this is scathing. It's the equivalent of calling Trump untrustworthy and a liar.
So I think focussing solely on the withdrawal itself is missing the point somewhat. The concern from most commentators I have seen(4), is that Trump is acting in a way that is a risk to national security in terms of the broader geopolitical picture.
It's hard to disagree with that assessment.
(1) https://edition.cnn.com/2018/12/19/poli … index.html
(2) https://media.defense.gov/2018/Dec/20/2 … MATTIS.PDF
(3) https://slate.com/news-and-politics/201 … -move.html
(4) https://www.cnn.com/2018/12/20/politics … index.html
CNN & Slate ... very easy to disagree with anything/everything coming out of those sites. I would sooner trust information coming from China, and I know very well China does not have out best interests in mind.
That said, I am sure every outlet is basically against this.
Doesn't mean its wrong.
“Doesn't matter what the press says. Doesn't matter what the politicians or the mobs say. Doesn't matter if the whole country decides that something wrong is something right.
This nation was founded on one principle above all else: The requirement that we stand up for what we believe, no matter the odds or the consequences. When the mob and the press and the whole world tell you to move, your job is to plant yourself like a tree beside the river of truth, and tell the whole world -- "No, YOU move.”
I don't know where Ken lives and I'm not quite sure he understands the the difference between CNN and China, but CNN is an American, Patriotic News Organization which reports fact based information with occasional human error and China is our enemy which publishes propaganda:
Bozo Trump listens to and believes our enemies like Vladimir Putin instead of our media and law enforcement / intelligence agencies as well, and that's one of the reasons why he's under criminal investigation and if we still have laws, will be REMOVED from our oval office very soon:
The Mattis resignation is nothing less than another SHOCKER, Earth Shattering in its implications that we apparently still have a mad nut case perched in our oval office barking out half baked, ill conceived military orders, this from a 72 year old draft dodger, a dire emergency which republicans in congress must come to grips with or suffer the consequences of their insane complicity as this country is gutted from the inside out:
I appreciate the Mattis quotes Don. I used the same ones to make a point to Jake.
I don't think there can be any doubt about Gen. Mattis' perspective, but my questions were to a different point. One which you identified as "the broader geopolitical picture."
I think it might be fair to frame a new question in line with a consideration of the effects of a nationalistic perspective vs. a global one.
The nationalistic perspective is a simple, but potentially short-sighted one. The global picture is one of a thousand pieces -- nothing simple about it.
Since the Middle East has been a proxy battleground for 70+ years, my thoughts fall between Pres. Trump's "quick" withdrawal, and Gen Mattis' geopolitical truths.
Another 30 years on the same course as the past 70 won't yield different results. Maybe it is time for us, and our allies, to change course.
If, and that is an if because this is all above my pay grade, Afghanistan and Syria truly are just U.S./Russian proxy battles in the larger geopolitical picture, then that can only mean that we have drug our allies into the struggles for the same reasons.
Do you think it could be said that our efforts over the years have been successful? I don't think so, but I don't know.
Maybe someone could prove that like that WWII saying; "If we hadn't entered to help Great Britain we would all be speaking German now," that if we hadn't continued these proxy battles we would all be speaking Russian now. *shrug*
I do believe that Pres. Trump is placing nationalism above our long-term geopolitical interests. But I can't be sure that a change in the way we address those long-term interests, (as is required to deal with this new nationalism thing), a shake-up in the way business is done, is an obviously bad thing.
All nations are in the game. They must be. So if the game rules change, everyone will have to adapt because none can risk being out of the game. The question now is; Who is in the majors and who is in the minors.
I think the withdrawals are good and overdue actions. I just don't know if this is the right way to do them.
No there isn't.
Iran, Syria, Libya, Ukraine, Georgia tie in to Russia in obvious as well as historical ways.
The growing influence and efforts of BRICS and the China - Russia - Iran growing interdependence/alliance.
Efforts to move away from the Dollar and all the intricacies of IMF, WB, WTO efforts may have hastened the demise of certain nations and may be leading to a much larger global confrontation.
Nothing simple about it.
I have to refer back to my previous comment: "The timing and manner of the withdrawal are the issue".
Decisions and announcements on troop deployments should be planned and organized according to a coherent strategy that has been devised by people with the relevant knowledge, skills and experience to maximize the chances of success.
Every indication suggests the decision and announcement to withdraw troops from Syria was the result of a Donald Trump brain fart that completely blindsided the Secretary of Defense, and public officials currently engaging with a 79-nation coalition fighting ISIS(1).
Whatever benefits or disbenefits you believe there are to withdrawing troops from Syria, the manner in which it has come about is alarming, dangerous and appears to be wholly unnecessary; in short, a product of Trump's incompetence.
I understand your point Don. I understood it when it was less bluntly stated in your first response.
Regarding most Trump policy related subjects, I have been riding this fence for over two years, and everytime I consider jumping off on one side or the other I remember that the majority of information I have has been presented by someone that wants to influence my perspective.
For instance; Should I conclude that pulling out of Syria means pulling out of the battle against ISIS completely, or just ISIS in Syria?
And, if it is only Syria, then how pertinent is your link of coalition partners? Are all 79 involved in the Syrian battle against ISIS? If all of them aren't, then would your presentation be an effort to influence, or just an indicator of a bias?
Behavior related issues are easier for me, but even then I am reminded of the anecdotal track record of eye witness testimony challenges.
I will follow your example Don, and also stick with my first response. For now.
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