Don’t Let Jim Mattis Get Away by Michael O’Hanlon – Wall Street Journal
President Trump is reportedly considering a change of leadership at the Pentagon, perhaps after the midterm elections. He shouldn’t do it. Rather than ask Defense Secretary Jim Mattis to resign, Mr. Trump should keep him through 2020.
To be sure, I am exactly the kind of moderate foreign-policy establishmentarian who would say such a thing. That people like me admire Mr. Mattis is one of the reasons Mr. Trump may want a change. Yet there are two compelling reasons to keep “Chaos,” Mr. Mattis’s call sign and preferred nickname, that have little to do with making the establishment happy.
First, he is an excellent defense secretary—and he is Mr. Trump’s choice. That obvious point is too frequently forgotten. In the daily rough and tumble of Washington, the president may feel that no one gives him personal credit for his wise selection. But the history books won’t forget.
Second, Mr. Mattis needs more time. Since the position of defense secretary was created in 1947, almost all important legacies were achieved by men who held the job at least three or four years. The Defense Department is simply too big, the challenges of American national security policy too sweeping, and the domestic politics of implementing a given vision at the Pentagon too daunting for meaningful change to happen more quickly…