Small Wars Journal

This is the One Norm Trump Didn’t Break When He Pulled Troops Out of Syria

This is the One Norm Trump Didn’t Break When He Pulled Troops Out of Syria by Alice Hunt Friend – Washington Post

Over the holidays, President Trump lashed out at outgoing Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, pointedly rebuking the support for U.S. allies that Mattis, equally pointedly, raised in his Dec. 20 resignation letter. Trump also accelerated Mattis’s planned February departure, forcing him out on Tuesday, and this week claimed he had “essentially” fired his defense secretary.

 

What to make of this public dust-up?

 

As Michael A. Robinson previously outlined in Monkey Cage, Trump has routinely broken with civil-military norms by, for instance, treating the military like a political constituency and a punching bag.

 

[What the Mattis resignation tells us about how Trump is damaging the military’s credibility]

 

But somewhat surprisingly, the policy decision that prompted Mattis’s resignation actually reinforced one civil-military norm: Civilians control the military

Read on.