Trump’s Decision to Leave Syria Was No ‘Surprise’

Trump’s Decision to Leave Syria Was No ‘Surprise’

In 1966, in the midst of the Vietnam War, Vermont Senator George Aiken recommended that President Lyndon Johnson simply “declare victory and get out.” While what Aiken actually said was more complex (because the U.S. couldn’t win militarily, he implied, it should stop deploying troops and start deploying diplomats), his statement is commonly cited as an example of foreign policy wisdom—then, as now, a much depleted currency in Washington. While it’s doubtful that President Donald Trump has studied Aiken’s views (or even heard of him), his decision on Wednesday to order the unilateral...

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James Mattis’ 33-Year Grudge Against Iran

For many, and even for self-proclaimed progressives, Donald Trump’s pick to be secretary of defense, retired Marine Corps Gen. James Mattis, is a light in the darkness—a kind of oasis in the midst of a vast reactionary desert. And so it seems, all of us can now breathe a sigh of relief: After all these weeks, there’s finally an adult in the room. What’s not to like? Mattis, as has been reported, is not just a warrior, he’s an intellectual. Entire websites are dedicated to his pithy bon mots (“be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everybody you meet”), which, along with his...

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