Lexington Herald-Leader (Sunday) - - Opinion -

’Tis not the sea­son to be jolly, thanks to Don­ald Trump. His sud­den, uni­lat­eral de­ci­sion to with­draw troops from Syria, forc­ing the res­ig­na­tion of Sec­re­tary of De­fense Jim Mat­tis — one of the last bul­warks against the pres­i­dent’s im­pul­siv­ity — has cast a pall on the hol­i­days and, per­haps, the fu­ture.

In his let­ter of res­ig­na­tion, Mat­tis said the pres­i­dent de­serves a de­fense sec­re­tary who is “bet­ter aligned” with his world­view. This alone is a ter­ri­fy­ing thought -what mad­man (or woman) would fit that de­scrip­tion? There can’t be many gen­er­als left who would want the task of tak­ing or­ders from a com­man­der-in-chief who de­vel­oped his mil­i­tary strat­egy play­ing Mo­nop­oly.

Hav­ing lost his bat­tle to keep the pres­i­dent away from mak­ing stupid de­ci­sions that will back­fire, he sur­ren­dered to what he ap­par­ently saw as his only op­tion: aban­don­ing ship. From this pres­i­dent’s bizarre flir­ta­tion with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un — declar­ing with­out ba­sis the end of Py­ongyang’s nu­clear as­pi­ra­tions — to his on-again-off-again ro­mance with Rus­sian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin and a prob­lem­atic trade war with China, Trump has be­haved more like a casino­goer play­ing roulette than the leader of the world’s most-sta­bi­liz­ing force.

Kath­leen Parker

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