Au Revoir, General James Mattis 😢

Yesterday, the world became a little less safe.  U.S. Secretary of Defense, James Mattis, announced his resignation effective 28 February 2019.  It is understandable, and nobody could possibly blame him, for his has been a thankless job since the day he took office, January 20th 2017.  Mattis has disagreed with Trump on many things during his nearly two-year tenure, from climate change to Russia to pulling out of the Iran nuclear deal.  But the straw that broke the camel’s back was Trump’s announcement that he would withdraw the remaining 2,200 U.S. troops from Syria.  I don’t blame General Mattis for finally saying, “I’ve had enough of this mess” … don’t blame him at all.  But with his departure, the world … not just the U.S., but the entire world … became less safe.

Here are some of the more pertinent parts from the General’s letter of resignation:

  • I believe we must be resolute and unambiguous in our approach to those countries whose strategic interests are increasingly in tension with ours. It is clear that China and Russia, for example, want to shape a world consistent with their authoritarian model gaining veto authority over other nations’ economic, diplomatic, and security decisions to promote their own interests at the expense of their neighbors, America and our allies.

  • One core belief I have always held is that our strength as a nation is inextricably linked to the strength of our unique and comprehensive system of alliances and partnerships.

  • 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 use all tools of American power to provide for the common defense, including providing effective leadership to our alliances. 29 democracies demonstrated that strength in their commitment to fighting alongside us following the 9-11 attack on America.

The threat of a withdrawal of U.S. forces from Syria and also Afghanistan is a disaster on so many levels, not the least of which being that it is a proverbial slap-in-the-face to our allies in Europe.  As the UK’s Middle East minister, Alistair Burt said …

“There are no vacuums in foreign policy, certainly not in the Middle East. In a fragile region every action is a catalyst for another. If allies cannot be relied upon, others are sought to take their place. Jim Mattis understood – vital any successor agrees.”

And UK’s Defense Minister, Tobias Ellwood …

“The most impressive military mind I’ve had the honour to know. Jim my friend – our world will be less safe without you.”

The co-chair of the European council on foreign relations Carl Bildt had strong words …

“A morning of alarm in Europe. Sec Def Mattis is the remaining strong bond across the Atlantic in the Trump administration. All the others are fragile at best or broken at worst.”

Guy Verhofstadt, the leader of the Liberal Democrat group in the European parliament, said…

“A victory for Russia, Iran, Turkey, Turkish proxies & the Syrian regime. Unsurprisingly, it leaves Europeans more vulnerable – and shows how wrong it is that we do not have a defence force able to help stabilise our immediate neighbourhood.”

Neither the Syrian withdrawal nor the prospect of cutting troop numbers in Afghanistan were preceded by any serious consultation with his European allies, many of whom either have ground troops or air forces operating in both countries.

Trump’s selection of Mattis for Defense Secretary was, presumably, because he believed Mattis had the knowledge and experience to be a key advisor on foreign policy and matters of defense.  So why does he consistently ignore the advice of this very knowledgeable man?  Ego, pure and simple.  And that very ego is likely, if left unchecked, to have a number of very serious consequences for the world.  The Middle East is a tinderbox that could well turn into an inferno in short order.  Our allies may well determine they are finished with this alliance and to hell with the U.S.  Who could blame them?

It is said that Trump made the decision to pull out of Syria after a phone conversation with Turkey’s President Recep Erdoğan, who is planning an attack on Kurdish troops in Syria at some point in the near future.  According to Senator Lindsey Graham …

“What Turkey is going to do is unleash holy hell on the Kurds. In the eyes of Turkey, they’re more of a threat than ISIS. So this decision is a disaster.”

Vladimir Putin was also pleased, saying he agreed with the decision.  But, of course.

Even most conservatives are horrified at the thought of Mattis’ resignation, considering it to be the loss of the last adult in the house.  Neo-conservative editor and political analyst Bill Kristol said it best …

“Never been more alarmed for the nation since coming to DC over three decades ago.”

Republican Senator Ben Sasse expressed deep concern …

“This is a sad day. General Mattis was giving advice [Trump] needs to hear. Mattis rightly believes that Russia & China are adversaries. Isolationism is a weak strategy that will harm Americans.”

Former CIA Director John Brennan weighed in …

“Okay, Republicans. How much longer are you going to let this farcical ‘presidency’ continue? At a time of such political, economic, and geo-strategic turbulence – both nationally and globally – are you waiting for a catastrophe to happen before acting? Disaster looms!”

Remember when then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson referred to Trump as a “f**king moron”?  He was right.

General Mattis’ departure did not come as a surprise, for the rumour mill has predicted it for a while now but make no mistake … it is a devastating blow, not only for the United States, but for the world.  Nobody can predict where we go from here, for there is a thoroughly unpredictable madman at the helm of this ship.  In light of Trump’s comment this morning that he is willing to keep the government shut down “for a very long time”, and his reckless decisions regarding Syria and Afghanistan, today I can no longer consider myself a citizen of what was once a respectable nation.  I believe it is time for serious calls for Trump’s removal from office, else next year at this time the world may look much different than it does today – and not in any good way.

Au Revoir, General Mattis … you will be missed.

32 thoughts on “Au Revoir, General James Mattis 😢

    • The writer does make some interesting points, many of which are valid. I still, however, disagree that we should just pull out of either Syria or Afghanistan, for what is not being considered by either Trump or the writer of that article is the effect it would have on the Middle East, the lives that would be lost, the inferno that would ensue. The Middle East has a complex history and at the moment it is a tinderbox, just waiting for the match to be lit. If we pull out of Syria, Erdogan of Turkey has already said he plans to attack the Kurds until every last one is dead … this includes innocent women & children. Too many people who do not understand the dynamics of the region see it in rather simplistic terms that just don’t work over there. Trump is in so far over his head … sigh.

      Liked by 2 people

  1. Very worrying development. I happened to be scrolling down through some tweets of war correspondents in Europe yesterday. One reply, a simple one liner… Said “Watch Ukraine next week, or week after. Just saying.”
    I found that a chilling statement.
    Yes, the world has just entered into instability on a global scale. 🤪

    Liked by 3 people

    • It is chilling indeed, as is this entire situation. Trump is truly the madman at the helm, and our allies are right to believe that we are no longer a reliable, trustworthy ally. When a world leader is without a conscience, the world is in danger, and Trump has shown us many times in the last two years that he has no conscience. But the past 3-4 weeks, and especially the past week, have shown us just how demented he truly is, and we should all be afraid at this point.

      Liked by 2 people

    • You have echoed my fear. But how do we accomplish it? Even if the Senate suddenly grew a pair and was willing to convict and remove, the impeachment process would likely take a year or more … and I don’t think we can afford him in office for another year. Sigh.


  2. “It is in our darkest moments that we must focus to see the light.” – Aristotle. That light seems to be fading day by day and hour to hour. The ripple effect from Trump’s every action in the past few days is beyond alarming. I fear that their is little hope for controlling his detrimental choices by the sitting Congress. I fear more, what might come next! Thank-you! P.S. Total aside, Benjamin has had me check your Wednesday post ‘Filosofa is Sorry’ yesterday and today to see if he made “Miss Jill happy”.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Jill, the greatest threat to our national security will become less regulated by various governors in place. Mattis is the last of the Mohicans to check the rash impulses of that security threat named Donald J. Trump. The man won’t listen to respected advisors and would prefer to be counseled by Limbaugh, Hannity, Putin and Erdogan, four men not known for the truth.

    What has not been said is those folks who respect Mattis, may also leave. Unless our Republican leaders grow a spine, America has once again shot itself in the foot under this President. Keith

    Liked by 3 people

    • PS – Senator Marco Rubio added what Mattis wrote in his letter was disturbing. Conservative pundit Michael Gerson two GOP Senators not known for histrionics said “we are in a panic” over Mattis’ resignation. Leon Panetta noted we can no longer be trusted by our allies, as if we can rashly do things by tweet and not consulting with them, how can we be relied on.

      Liked by 3 people

      • I think perhaps Representative John Garamendi may have summed it up best when he heard that Mattis had resigned, with two simple words: “Oh shit”. Actually, the only person who I have heard try to put a positive spin on anything that’s happened this week is Stephen Miller, who is a grade A jerk to begin with. Did you happen to catch any of his interview with Anderson Cooper?

        Liked by 2 people

    • You are quite right, and admittedly, I hadn’t yet considered that this could cause an exodus of the few remaining ‘cooler heads’ in the administration. I repeat the question I asked in an earlier comment … so what is the solution? I see none, as yet.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Jill, the tenor of the PBS Newshour recap with Mark Shields and Michael Gerson (David Brooks was away) was surprising. Gerson said one GOP Senator said “this is the beginning of the end” of the Trump Presidency. Shields said Mueller’s report will be far more indicting than expected and the word “impeachment” may be unavoidable.

        I believe the comment about Mueller’s report as there are far too many people lying, including the President who has changed his stories dozens of times. He is like a retreating line in the sand writer. Keith

        Liked by 2 people

  4. A dictator can whittle down his advisers until he only has to listen to his own opinion. The minute he does that he listen’s to the voice of a dangerous fool who either makes himself or his country a target.If Trump puts his country at risk how many Americans will go down before someone stops the reign of this stupid, malicious man.

    Liked by 5 people

    • Trump has done just that. He has surrounded himself with sycophants, with ‘yes-men’ who have thrown their lot in with him and are left no choice but to sing his praises, while divesting himself of those who knew what they were doing. My fear, though, isn’t only for the U.S. Today’s world is different than it was 100 years ago, and whether Trump and his followers like it or not, it truly is a global community. Trump’s moves over the past 72 hours are likely to set this planet afire if he isn’t stopped, and that is what keeps me awake nights. Sigh.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Jill, be advised that this story is triggering a surge of anti-American bias masquerading as pro-peace commentary. I find it disingenuous and reprehensible. As you noted, Trump’s move will make the Middle East more unstable, and I am particularly worried about the Kurds who are stateless and extremely vulnerable to Erdogan’s ethnic cleansing plans.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Frankly, at this point, I cannot blame any of our allies for anti-American sentiments. Trump has spit in the face of our allies, while embracing our antagonists, and in several of his moves, ie pulling out of the Paris Accord, pulling out of the Iran nuclear deal, imposing tariffs, and outright insulting leaders of nations such as the UK, Germany, France, Canada and Mexico, he has shown that the U.S. is not a reliable nor trustworthy ally. And now, he is threatening to literally light a fire in the Middle East that will cost … who knows how many innocent lives? And tonight, our government is partially shut down and people out of work or working for no pay, all because the juvenile in the White House didn’t get his $70 billion dollar toy! Personally, I am having anti-American sentiments and am looking into what it takes to renounce my citizenship! Erdogan has made it perfectly clear that his goal is to eradicate the Kurds, and I’m sure others who may stand in his way. Sigh. Where is this world headed, Robert? I think no place good.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Well, I wasn’t referring to our allies; although, those that I was referring to haven’t commented yet on your blog post – so my advisory may not have been warranted.

        Yes, we’re in a terrible mess and a crisis point is near. Trump is isolated and cornered, and that makes him even more dangerous than before. We must hold onto our hats and try not to overreact before this thing is settled. I anticipate more fireworks as we approach February when the Mueller investigation report is due to be released.

        Liked by 2 people

        • AH!!! I’m sorry Robert … I misunderstood your advisory! No, I haven’t received any comments aside from regular readers who share most of my views. I’ll keep my eyes open, though, so thanks for the heads-up.

          Oh yes, he is like a trapped animal and when in panic mode, he will be even more unpredictable than before. Last night a new thought struck me … I wonder if he would even go so far as to use nuclear capability against … pick a country … enemy of the day? Hopefully somebody at that point would bash him over the head and hide the codes. I do try not to be alarmist, but these last few weeks he has been completely off the wall, and I have to wonder: what next?

          Liked by 2 people

          • Your concerns are not alarmist. Megalomaniacs know no bounds and are capable of any action given the right circumstances. And, consider this: Trump is now prohibited from operating non-profit organizations in New York state for a period of 10 years, yet he holds his finger over our nuclear button. How can someone be trusted with that kind of authority if he can’t be trusted to even run a charity?

            Liked by 2 people

            • Yes, I’ve heard many share that same concern about his inability to even run a charity, yet here he is running a nation of 330 million people. The night of the mid-terms, once it because obvious that the House would have a democratic majority, my thought was to wonder how much malicious damage he would seek to do between then and January 3rd. I don’t think we’ve seen the worst of it, either.

              Liked by 1 person

  6. Some have said the U.S. is rapidly losing its influence in the world. No one wants to be associated with the maniac. (Except, of course, Putin and his allies.)

    What’s interesting is the only thing most of his supporters can say is: “He’s a great leader and I support him.” What else can they say since most of them probably don’t have a clue on what just happened.

    Liked by 3 people

    • The U.S. began losing their influence, their respectability among nations when Trump attended his first NATO meeting, and then when he declared he was pulling out of the Paris Accord. It has been downhill all the way from there, and 200 years of working to earn the respect of our allies has been wiped almost completely out in just two short years by a madman with pock-marked skin, a bad toupee, and an ego the size of Russia. I truly wish him to die in his sleep soon, or choke on his Big Mac, before he destroys this nation and perhaps the rest of the world as well.

      You’re right … his supporters … they get all their news from state-run Fox News, where they are told that everyone else is lying to them. And they are, for the most part, not well-educated or intelligent enough to bother to ask questions. It’s easier to watch Fox, while sitting in front of the television scarfing down potato chips and drinking soda pop, gaining a few new pounds every week, but hey … Trump is making America great again, so it’s all good, right?

      Forgive me … my mood is not good tonight … I am … sigh. In a dark humour, I suppose, and very concerned over the latest developments. The madman needs to be stopped, but I don’t know how.

      Liked by 1 person

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