Although President Donald Trump has made clear that he wants U.S. troops to leave Syria as soon as possible, Defense Secretary James Mattis said on Monday that the president has not indicated he wants to withdraw from Afghanistan.
Secretary of Defense James Mattis and newly-named Trump administration national security advisor John Bolton couldn’t be more different. Mattis is known for his stolid respect to the sanctity of public service, his modesty, and his devotion to the men and women under his command; Bolton is known for his obsession with preemptive and total war and his willingness to let other people’s children die in his stead. They will not be West Wing work spouses, especially given a March 24 New York Times report that Mattis “did not know if he could work” with Trump’s replacement for ousted Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster.
The United States places the blame on Russia for the breakdown in relations between NATO and Moscow. In the view of U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, Russia chose to be a strategic competitor to the United States and NATO.