James Mattis' warning to America

Secretary of Defense ...

Posted: Dec 23, 2018 11:06 AM
Updated: Dec 23, 2018 11:06 AM

Secretary of Defense James Mattis is stepping down at an extraordinarily fraught moment in American foreign policy. Coming in the wake of President Trump's surprise decision to withdraw troops from Syria, without having consulted allies and after barely talking to his own national security advisers, Secretary Mattis becomes the latest "adult in the room" to leave.

The resignation takes place at a moment of great risk for the United States and its allies. The President is heading into a tumultuous period at home, which can trigger him to make even more impulsive decisions abroad. Democrats are about to take over the House, the President is facing multiple investigations -- all of which are producing some very serious accusations -- and his national approval ratings remain low. Even though Republicans are still standing by their man, the President is being boxed into a corner. That's when he can be most dangerous.

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The big risk is that the President unleashes on his opponents by moving forward on some of the most radical ideas that have floated in his head, or that he proves that he is in charge by taking big, dramatic actions. That he might just allow the shutdown of the federal government, or make foreign policy based on whims and emotion rather than strategic planning. Perhaps, some fear, he will unleash military force to demonstrate that he is the commander in chief.

Very often President Trump's defenders have assured the public that they don't need to worry. With regard to foreign policy, they say that he is mostly bluster. Although his critics say that he risks undertaking a radical departure on foreign policy, some keep saying that he can be controlled and that in practice he knows what he is doing.

Yet the Mattis resignation letter, written by someone deep inside the cabinet, suggests that the critics have been right along. Stepping down from his job on the basis that someone else would be better able to fulfill Trump's vision, Mattis makes two warnings. The first is that the strength of the United States is "inextricably linked" to the "strength of our unique and comprehensive system of alliances and partnerships." Without those strong alliances, he says, the United States cannot protect itself and other key nations.

Moreover, Mattis issued a stern warning that the President has to be "resolute and unambiguous in our approach to those countries whose strategic interests are increasingly in tension with ours," pointing to China and Russia as countries that want to promote an "authoritarian model" of government to their neighbors.

Mattis' letter is not a warning to President Trump, who, he knows after so many months of close experience, won't change. Mattis understands what this President is all about and that the notion of bringing him to normalcy is a fool's errand.

This letter is not written to him. It is written to other Republicans and conservative national security policymakers who have remained silent during the tumult of the first two years. It is a letter to people who understand the history and complexities of foreign policy, to suggest that the President is not in fact on the same page as many of them. It is a message to say, very clearly, that the United States faces a real risk right now from a President who governs off of his prejudices and impulses, and who is putting at risk some of the core principles that have successfully kept us at peace.

While it is clear that President Trump will probably toss this letter into the Oval Office trash, the real question is whether anyone else in the GOP will listen to what Mattis is saying -- or whether they will continue to close their eyes and hold their ears, hoping that everything will be OK in the end.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 482902

Reported Deaths: 9425
CountyCasesDeaths
Harrison33063488
Hinds31021589
DeSoto30610358
Jackson23687348
Rankin21340370
Lee14909220
Madison14166271
Jones13404227
Forrest13160240
Lauderdale11601305
Lowndes10443176
Lamar10214130
Pearl River9098221
Lafayette8241137
Hancock7514112
Washington7102150
Oktibbeha6964124
Monroe6514164
Neshoba6475201
Warren6464164
Pontotoc630393
Panola6250126
Marshall6126123
Bolivar6115144
Union574186
Pike5613136
Alcorn537290
Lincoln5303131
George471472
Scott459196
Leflore4476140
Prentiss446779
Tippah446480
Itawamba4444100
Adams4416116
Tate4394101
Simpson4335112
Wayne433066
Copiah431787
Yazoo423386
Covington415792
Sunflower4148104
Marion4099104
Leake397586
Coahoma3957100
Newton370875
Grenada3556104
Stone350860
Tishomingo336289
Attala325387
Jasper314162
Winston304691
Clay296473
Chickasaw287065
Clarke282190
Calhoun266141
Holmes262187
Smith250649
Yalobusha221047
Tallahatchie220450
Walthall211058
Greene209045
Lawrence206833
Perry199953
Amite198452
Webster196542
Noxubee178939
Montgomery172454
Jefferson Davis168342
Carroll162137
Tunica153334
Benton142535
Kemper138640
Choctaw127026
Claiborne126834
Humphreys126637
Franklin116728
Quitman103926
Wilkinson101936
Jefferson91333
Sharkey63020
Issaquena1926
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 787421

Reported Deaths: 14022
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson1114521765
Mobile708161234
Madison49744633
Baldwin36201495
Shelby36186315
Tuscaloosa33818548
Montgomery33135678
Lee22590220
Calhoun21140410
Morgan19795335
Etowah19188462
Marshall17659274
Houston16788386
St. Clair15408305
Cullman14568258
Limestone14553188
Elmore14444264
Lauderdale13486281
Talladega12932236
DeKalb12174237
Walker10561330
Blount9693157
Autauga9652137
Jackson9363158
Coffee8847175
Dale8584173
Colbert8508184
Tallapoosa6661181
Escambia6585121
Covington6432167
Chilton6372144
Russell605355
Franklin5779101
Chambers5398134
Marion4789120
Dallas4694189
Clarke462279
Pike461597
Geneva4396117
Winston425295
Lawrence4112108
Bibb408581
Barbour346570
Marengo326285
Butler318190
Monroe318153
Randolph305256
Pickens304474
Henry301358
Hale292285
Cherokee289455
Fayette279073
Washington245248
Crenshaw237970
Cleburne235251
Clay228365
Macon219258
Lamar196243
Conecuh181846
Lowndes170758
Coosa169935
Wilcox159736
Bullock149243
Perry136437
Sumter124436
Greene121243
Choctaw73427
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