SEVERE WX : Dense Fog Advisory View Alerts

James Mattis' warning to America

Secretary of Defense ...

Posted: Dec 23, 2018 12:06 PM
Updated: Dec 23, 2018 12:06 PM

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.

Continents and regions

Donald Trump

Foreign policy

Government and public administration

Government bodies and offices

International relations

International relations and national security

James Mattis

North America

Political Figures - US

Politics

The Americas

United States

US federal government

White House

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.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1118335

Reported Deaths: 17712
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1455892240
Lake724831254
Allen67063882
Hamilton51060487
St. Joseph49820649
Elkhart40268546
Vanderburgh34714497
Tippecanoe30808276
Johnson27696467
Hendricks26313385
Porter25657386
Madison21131455
Clark20238279
Vigo19059309
LaPorte17192261
Howard16770314
Delaware16761303
Monroe16628220
Kosciusko14293167
Hancock13113186
Bartholomew12983190
Warrick12210190
Wayne12090269
Floyd12011226
Grant11998245
Morgan10409192
Boone9869124
Noble9316122
Henry9177169
Marshall9152147
Dearborn8970100
Dubois8835140
Shelby8281130
Cass8167128
Lawrence8057185
DeKalb7817109
Jackson770793
Huntington7661115
Gibson7102118
Montgomery7101123
Harrison6954100
Knox6915116
Steuben669089
Whitley659660
Miami6595113
Putnam645085
Clinton627179
Wabash6221111
Jasper613192
Jefferson5856105
Ripley557294
Adams542281
Daviess5076117
Scott491580
Wells4836105
White478469
Greene4701101
Clay464662
Decatur4611110
Fayette452496
Jennings452067
LaGrange427491
Posey410044
Randolph3944107
Washington390956
Fountain375964
Fulton364874
Spencer362247
Starke355574
Owen353577
Sullivan348555
Orange331372
Jay331050
Rush309533
Carroll296239
Franklin292744
Perry290553
Vermillion283658
Tipton251167
Parke250130
Pike248644
Blackford222144
Pulaski210359
Newton182452
Brown177550
Crawford169129
Benton168417
Martin152120
Switzerland147612
Warren135816
Union122616
Ohio92413
Unassigned0595

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1717876

Reported Deaths: 26851
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1793291843
Cuyahoga1681592655
Hamilton1137721544
Montgomery805721405
Summit719531210
Lucas630291027
Butler56852814
Stark538501183
Lorain42330645
Warren35959417
Mahoning35798788
Lake32314501
Clermont31289369
Trumbull27344620
Delaware27206185
Licking26658344
Medina26042353
Fairfield24638287
Greene24378373
Clark22122390
Portage21257283
Richland21102342
Wood20128248
Allen18969326
Miami17338352
Columbiana16905335
Muskingum16726207
Wayne15740307
Tuscarawas14454362
Marion13332196
Ashtabula12732237
Erie12685199
Scioto12475188
Pickaway12260155
Ross11719226
Hancock11529175
Geauga10934179
Lawrence10653172
Belmont10459234
Huron9805159
Jefferson9632228
Union957375
Sandusky9348166
Seneca8917161
Knox8792176
Washington8688159
Darke8399181
Athens838197
Ashland8029152
Auglaize7943120
Shelby7511135
Defiance7358117
Crawford7281150
Fulton7215113
Brown7173116
Logan7003111
Guernsey696186
Mercer6933100
Highland6745120
Clinton6526106
Williams650099
Madison649790
Preble6274140
Putnam6244122
Jackson581597
Champaign580887
Perry566779
Coshocton5645108
Ottawa5641102
Morrow517765
Fayette494072
Hardin4895100
Gallia471478
Van Wert467895
Pike465578
Adams4592110
Henry434280
Hocking410193
Holmes3999141
Wyandot377675
Carroll366178
Paulding325451
Meigs305961
Monroe235961
Noble220349
Morgan216939
Harrison213153
Vinton187638
Unassigned06
Fort Wayne
Cloudy
29° wxIcon
Hi: 46° Lo: 29°
Feels Like: 23°
Angola
Partly Cloudy
27° wxIcon
Hi: 42° Lo: 29°
Feels Like: 27°
Huntington
Cloudy
29° wxIcon
Hi: 46° Lo: 29°
Feels Like: 29°
Decatur
Cloudy
29° wxIcon
Hi: 47° Lo: 31°
Feels Like: 23°
Van Wert
Cloudy
34° wxIcon
Hi: 46° Lo: 31°
Feels Like: 30°
Saturday is looking great, with warmer temperatures, wet and windy conditions returning Sunday.
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events