Pentagon chief James Mattis left office after Donald Trump decided to withdraw troops from Syria and halve the US military presence in Afghanistan.
Trump lost perhaps the most intelligent and independent minister in his office. Mattis was the only person who could openly argue with Trump and speak to his face about his mistakes. West Point’s graduate explained his decision by the fact that his views on foreign policy do not coincide with those of Tramp.
His departure is related to the fact that it is very difficult for members of the Trump administration to adapt to the president’s style, which is more suitable for managing a large transnational corporation. For Trump, complete and absolute loyalty is needed. The resignation of both Tillerson, and Bannon, and all the others is due to the fact that it is difficult for them to adjust to Trump.
Trump and Mattis disagreed on a number of issues. Mad Dog was embittered by Trump’s statement about the withdrawal of troops from Syria, because it would lead to the strengthening of Russia, Assad, Turkey and Iran in this region, and the Kurds, allies of the United States, will be left to Ankara. For Mattis, this actually means acknowledging the failure of the Syrian campaign.
The last straw for him was, however, not Syria, but Afghanistan. Trump on the eve announced the reduction by half of the military presence in Afghanistan, numbering 14 thousand people. In a country where Mattis made a brilliant career. Collapsing the campaign in Afghanistan for a general is like a demolition of a building that he built with his own hands. The head of the Pentagon fears that the departure of the Americans will strengthen the Taliban insurgents. Without US support, the Taliban will instantly sweep the puppet government in Kabul and take all the power over the country.
The resignation of Mattis is a complex phenomenon, connected with Trump’s desire to control all members of the administration. James Mattis was a man who could argue, disagree, defend his point of view. The second reason is related to the struggle within the administration, between the Trump family clan – this is Kouchner – and the generals in the presidential administration – Mattis, head of the White House office, John Kelly, who also resigned. The Afghan problem is not the only one that caused the resignation of professional general Mattis. But it also played its part, because he looked at the problems in Afghanistan very adequately. Trump looks at the situation as a businessman, trying to get revenues from foreign policy, Mattis understands that in some cases it is impossible, including in Afghanistan. The complete withdrawal of American troops will lead to the fall of the Kabul regime.
Mattis was notable for skillfully combining hard and soft power. Demanding, on the one hand, to leave the army in Syria and Afghanistan, he suppressed Trump’s adventurous decisions on other issues. Mattis prevented the president from bombing North Korea after the countries reached the boiling point in August 2017 and prevented a military clash with Russia in Syria in April 2018.
The pragmatism of the general proved in the Iranian direction. Mattis was opposed to Trump’s withdrawal from the nuclear deal, knowing that this would lead to a big war in the Middle East.
Mad Dog did not agree with the way Trump dealt with Europe. Mattis, in his farewell letter, once again warned Trump, writing that America cannot be a great power without its allies.
Mathis represented such a wing of professional military, who understand the real military-political situation and who were supporters of cautious policies and opponents of some adventurous decisions. The fewer professionals in the administration, the less predictable the situation.
The lack of a deterrent in the face of Mattis will make US foreign policy more unpredictable and dangerous. Trump will now be able to start a war against Iran. And the consequences of this won will be sad for everyone.
By Gasanov Kamran