The Atlantic

Trump, Unchecked

With Mattis gone, the president is now free to indulge his most visceral instincts.
Source: Mandel Ngan / AFP / Getty

Unlike H. R. McMaster, Rex Tillerson, and Nikki Haley, James Mattis was never going to go quietly. He has read too much history and is too cognizant of his duty for that. His letter of resignation was all the more devastating for its understatement. For more than a year, senior administration officials have constructed the fiction that the United States is following a foreign policy of competing with authoritarian powers. Anyone who has talked with one of these officials in private will be familiar with the mantra—look at the substance of the National Security Strategy, not the tweets. Never mind that the president never spoke of this strategy, even when he made remarks introducing it.

Mattis laid bare the reality. He wrote that his views “on treating allies with respect and also being clear eyed about malign actors and strategic competitors” make it impossible for him to continue to serve the president, because “you have a right to have a Secretary of Defense whose views are more aligned with your views on these and other subjects.”

In a for , Paul Szoldra, a former marine, pointed to a speech Mattis delivered in 2014, shortly after he retired from the Marine Corps. He was asked whether there

Stai leggendo un'anteprima, registrati per continuare a leggere.

Altro da The Atlantic

The Atlantic4 min lettiScience
The Disappearing Y Chromosome
It’s surprisingly common for men to start losing entire chromosomes from blood cells as they age.
The Atlantic5 min letti
The 10 Best Films of 2019
Perhaps fittingly for the end of the decade, 2019 was filled with thoughtful, retrospective works from master filmmakers who cast an eye on the past amid the rapid changes of the present. While veterans like Martin Scorsese and Quentin Tarantino wres
The Atlantic7 min lettiPolitics
The President Can Do Whatever He Wants, Which Is Why He Can’t
The Founders gave the executive branch immense authority—but also counted on the people to hold their leaders in check.