Trump’s Favorite General: Can Mattis Check an Impulsive President and Still Retain His Trust?

Trump’s Favorite General: Can Mattis Check an Impulsive President and Still Retain His Trust? By Greg Jaffe and Missy Ryan – Washington Post

Throughout his 40-year career as a Marine, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis built a reputation as an aggressive warrior, leading a blitz on Baghdad and pushing a reluctant Obama administration to hit back against Iran.

Over the past year, he has learned to play a different role: acting as a check on an impulsive president.

The big question is how long Mattis can continue to act as a force for continuity and caution and still retain influence with a president impatient to hit back at America’s enemies and swiftly win wars.

These days, Mattis’s influence radiates across the government. In places such as Afghanistan and Somalia, he has been a force for stability, resisting the president’s instincts to withdraw. In Iran and North Korea, he has curbed Trump’s desire for a show of military strength.

One tense moment came last May as officials grew increasingly concerned about aggressive Iranian behavior.

For weeks, Mattis had been resisting requests from the White House to provide military options for Iran. Now Trump made clear that he wanted the Pentagon to deliver a range of plans that included striking Iranian ballistic missile factories or hitting Iranian speedboats…

Read on.

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