first published on December 20, 2018 by Will
Secretary of Defense James Mattis has stepped down from his position in the Trump Administration on Thursday, claiming that Trump needs to find someone “better aligned” with his views.
The end of Mattis’ role as Sec Def has been predicted for months. However, it is not surprising that the resignation comes the day after Trump spontaneously called for total and immediate pullout of US troops from Syria without input from his top advisors.
Just hours before Trump said the US was pulling out of Syria, the State Deprtment was telling reporters that our troops were digging in for the long haul.
Trump’s decision to immediately pull out of Syria leaves allies like the Kurds, the French, and Israel flapping in the breeze while giving the upper hand to Iran and Russia. One must give Mattis reverence for putting up with Trump’s irrationality and spontaneity this long.
Mattis has long been known as the “Warrior Monk” because of his thoughtfulness, his precedence placed on diplomacy over violence, and his faithfulness to long-developed alliances and partnerships. In his resignation letter, Mattis states how our nation draws its strength from our relationships with our allies and that must be respected.
He also goes on to say how we must be “clear-eyed about both malign actors and strategic competitors are strongly held and informed by over four decades of immersion in these issues.” Basically, he is saying that ISIS is absolutely not defeated in Syria as Trump claimed in his withdrawal announcement, and that our frigid relationship with Russia is based on decades of turmoil and deceit, of which Trump hasn’t the slightest clue, nor will he listen to reason.
Mattis will continue to serve as the Secretary of Defense through February until a replacement can be named and then accepted by the Senate. He will not be easy to replace.
In Trump’s ever-shifting cabinet, Mattis represented the rock of rationality. His resignation isn’t just a great loss to the Trump Administration, but to our nation as a whole.