Anne Applebaum’s June 25 op-ed, “Mattis can’t do it all alone,” hit the high points relating to President Trump’s deferring big military decisions to Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and the Pentagon more generally. But I’m sorely disappointed that she didn’t address the question of why.
The president is on record as saying:
“There’s nobody bigger or better at the military than I am.” “I know more about offense and defense than they will ever understand, believe me. Believe me. Than they will ever understand. Than they will ever understand.” “I know more about ISIS [the Islamic State] than the generals do. Believe me.” And, perhaps most disconcerting for South Korea: “There is nobody who understands the horror of nuclear more than me.”
It’s readily apparent that by effectively relinquishing his constitutional responsibilities for decision-making, Mr. Trump is explicitly acknowledging that he doesn’t really believe his self-aggrandizing extraordinary bombast. At least he knows what he doesn’t know. Most unfortunately, he doesn’t want to know, as Ms. Applebaum illustrated by noting that Mr. Trump “does not read complex security briefings, so the decision to hand off authority to his top commanders has a certain logic.”
Steve Tracton, Washington