What is Jim Mattis thinking right about now? President Trump’s defense secretary, widely considered to be one of the dwindling number of reality-based officials keeping the president from dangerous and permanent derailment, resigned on Dec. 20. Although his resignation letter made no specific mention of Syria, Mattis chose to hand it in the day after Trump surprised advisers and nearly everyone by announcing that the U.S. was pulling its small military force from Syria. The decision shook many in Congress, including senior Republicans. But Vladimir Putin thought it was a great idea. Mattis is all about being very clear who your friends and enemies are, and in each case treating them as such. The president, he said, deserved a secretary of defense who better reflected his values. So what happened after he resigned? Instead of allowing Mattis to serve until the end of February, the date he had offered to leave the Pentagon, Trump moved his departure up to Jan. 1 and said he had “essentially fired” Mattis. That’s predictable enough, since Mattis made Trump look bad. He already was on shaky ground, and it had only seemed a matter of time before Mattis joined the rest of the “adults”… Read full this story
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