Cutting bait

The resignation of Defense Secretary Jim Mattis is the icing on this blood-drenched cake. Yes, Mattis was a vital obstacle to some of Trump’s criminal and impulsive tendencies. In his resignation letter, he cited the need to sustain alliances across the world, and the need to constrain Russia. Fair enough. But it is telling, is it not, that he didn’t resign when Trump told NATO that Article 5 was effectively void; he didn’t resign when Trump launched his bizarre love-in with Kim Jong-un; he didn’t quit after the disastrous G7 meeting this year, or after the staggering Helsinki press conference; he didn’t quit when Trump openly tried to break up the European Union; he didn’t quit when Trump moved to change his plans on transgender troops by fiat; he didn’t resign when his Afghan surge failed yet again; and he didn’t resign when Trump ordered 5,000 troops to the Mexican border as a political stunt. He quit when he was told to end a failing, forever war and an indefinite occupation of yet another country. That’s the red line: any retrenchment of the ever-expanding American empire.

Andrew Sullivan, who with Rod Dreher, and unlike most of the authors of the Iraq catastrophe, learned his lesson.

Sullivan is under no illusions that Trump has a coherent foreign policy, or even is fit for office, but

There comes a point when a president has to say no to the neo-imperial blob, to cut bait in wars that have become ends in themselves, generating the very problems they were launched to resolve. There is never a good time to do this. There wasn’t in Vietnam and there isn’t in Afghanistan and the Middle East. Sometimes, you just have to do it.

It’s quite a good column, swimming against an a bizarrely unanimous neoconservative and liberal interventionist consensus.

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