Tag: Mattis, James N

White House Memo: What Do You Learn About Trump in an 85-Minute Interview?

WASHINGTON — President Trump regularly expresses pique over scathing kiss-and-tell books written by former aides and advisers. But he had no beef with “Let Me Finish” by Chris Christie, the former New Jersey governor and his onetime transition director. “Well, honestly,” Mr. Trump said in an interview in the Oval […]

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No People. No Process. No Policy.

Senator John McCain liked to remind us that it is always darkest before it goes completely black. That may prove an apt metaphor for President Trump’s foreign policy. The past two years have been plenty dark, with a long list of self-inflicted wounds: tearing up the Iran nuclear deal, pulling […]

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5 Times the Trump Administration Has Been Tougher Than Trump on Russia

WASHINGTON — President Trump boasted recently that he has been “FAR tougher” on Russia than other American presidents. But while the Trump administration has cracked down on Russian diplomats, government officials and oligarchs, Mr. Trump himself largely has taken a far more generous stance toward Moscow. The contradiction has taken […]

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The U.S. Withdrawal From Syria: Here’s the Latest

In the weeks since President Trump unexpectedly announced that American troops would withdraw from Syria — “and they’re coming back now” — rejecting the counsel of generals and advisers, some administration officials stepped down and others tried to chart a path forward. If anyone had any illusions about just how […]

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Pentagon Officials Fear Bolton’s Actions Increase Risk of Clash With Iran

WASHINGTON — Senior Pentagon officials are voicing deepening fears that President Trump’s hawkish national security adviser, John R. Bolton, could precipitate a conflict with Iran at a time when Mr. Trump is losing leverage in the Middle East by pulling out American troops. At Mr. Bolton’s direction, the National Security […]

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Editorial Observer: John Bolton’s Wars

It’s temping to pity John Bolton, President Trump’s national security adviser. Tempting because it falls to the irascible but experienced Mr. Bolton to try to explain, or even undo, the president’s more impulsive and erratic foreign policy decisions. Pity because of the mortifying contortions required. This past week Mr. Bolton […]

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White House Mulls Jim Webb, Ex-Democratic Senator, as Next Defense Secretary

WASHINGTON — The Trump administration is considering Jim Webb, a former Democratic senator and Reagan-era secretary of the Navy, to be the next defense secretary, according to three officials, potentially bypassing more hawkish Republicans whose names have been floated to replace Jim Mattis. Mr. Webb, an outspoken opponent of the […]

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Trump Says Mattis Resignation Was ‘Essentially’ a Firing

President Trump said on Wednesday that he had “essentially” fired Defense Secretary Jim Mattis last month because he was dissatisfied with the retired Marine general’s performance in the top civilian job at the Pentagon. Mr. Mattis resigned on Dec. 20 after failing to persuade Mr. Trump to change his mind […]

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Trump Makes Surprise Visit to Iraq to See American Troops

WASHINGTON — President Trump visited American military forces in Iraq on Wednesday, a surprise trip and the first visit to troops stationed abroad in a combat zone by a commander in chief who has made withdrawing the United States from foreign wars a signature issue. The trip, shrouded in secrecy, […]

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Impact of Border Deployments Is Felt by Troops at Home and Away

WASHINGTON — Instead of preparing for a coming deployment to Europe, soldiers with the First Cavalry Division at Fort Hood, Tex., are checking IDs at the base’s entrance gates, filling in for troops who have been sent to the southwest border. Nearby, a medical company is not getting ready for […]

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‘America Is Respected Again!’ Trump Tweets as Allies Question His Leadership

WASHINGTON — President Trump modified his favorite campaign slogan in a defensive response to a shifting worldview on Monday, tweeting “AMERICA IS RESPECTED AGAIN!” even as lawmakers and foreign allies alike braced for the potentially destabilizing effects of his policy decisions on national security. He also said Saudi Arabia would […]

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The Generals Won’t Save Us

ImageJim Mattis, the secretary of defense, outside the Pentagon in Arlington, Va., last month.CreditYuri Gripas/Reuters In a pique of anger over Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis’s resignation letter, President Trump announced over the weekend that Mr. Mattis would be out of a job on Jan. 1, instead of the end […]

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The Threat in the White House

This country’s national security decision-making process is more broken than at any time since the National Security Act became law in 1947. Nothing illustrates this dangerous dysfunction more starkly than President Trump’s reckless, unilateral decisions to announce the sudden withdrawal of all 2,000 United States troops from Syria and to […]

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The General Who Preferred the Foxhole

ImageJim Mattis, the secretary of defense, during a hearing of the Senate Appropriations Committee Subcommittee on the Department of Defense on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC., in May.CreditBrendan Smialowski/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images I met Jim Mattis in Anbar Province, Iraq, in 2004. He was a major general, commanding the […]

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Trump After Mattis

Jim Mattis, as secretary of defense, has done his best to preserve and defend the system of global alliances that the United States spent the last 70 years building and leading. In his resignation letter on Thursday, Mr. Mattis wrote that the United States was the “indispensable nation in the […]

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Brett McGurk, Top U.S. Diplomat Leading Fight Against Islamic State, Resigns

Brett McGurk, the special presidential envoy to the coalition fighting the Islamic State, has accelerated his resignation, telling colleagues this weekend that he could not carry out President Trump’s newly declared policy of withdrawing from Syria. A seasoned diplomat considered by many to be the glue holding together the sprawling, […]

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Shutdown? More Like a Breakdown

Watching President Trump hold the nation hostage over funding for his border wall has been enough to give a person vertigo. The spectacle began gearing up early last week, when, in an Oval Office tête-à-tête with the Democratic congressional leaders Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer, the president boasted that he […]

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In a Flash, U.S. Military Policy Turns Inward and Echoes Across the Globe

WASHINGTON — Over the course of 24 extraordinary hours this week, 17 years of American military policy was thrown out the window as President Trump spurned his defense secretary’s plea to keep United States troops in Syria and began the long process of pulling out of Afghanistan. On Friday morning, […]

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