General Jim “Mad Dog” Mattis, after leaving his position at this White House as Secretary of Defense, released a memoir about his life as a Marine. Respectful, loyal and discrete, he barely mentions President Donald Trump, but it was clear when he resigned that he deeply disapproved of the way America had severed ties and alienated our long-time friends and allies under this administration.
He wrote, “When my concrete solutions and strategic advice, especially keeping faith with allies, no longer resonated, it was time to resign, despite the limitless joy I felt serving alongside our troops in defense of the Constitution.” A pragmatic and strategic thinker, he knows the danger of unpredictability and chaos in policy and statecraft. He knows that internal division makes us weaker, and without allies, we are vulnerable.
Without allies, without strategy or stability, this president leads our nation into an increasingly dangerous world. Has President Trump hurt farmers? Even while Trump tried to buy farmers’ loyalty temporarily, milk and soybeans prices continue to tank. And few people understand that tariffs on soybeans have created fires and deforestation in the Amazon since Brazil is now supplying China with soy. Unexpected consequences lead us into peril and the role of strategy is to plan for unexpected outcomes.
Persons of character are reliable, honorable, and trustworthy. If my honorable neighbors continue to support President Trump’s policies, we risk cutting off our noses to spite our faces. Character matters and character runs deep. “[Character] requires the conviction of truth,” wrote James Davison Hunter. Character means keeping promises, not pumping up falsehoods. We have one more chance to restore truth in our leadership by rejecting the danger of chaos and deception of this administration and his Party’s enablers at every level of government.