Trump Attacks General James Mattis for Remarks About “America First”

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President Donald Trump launched an attack against James Mattis, his former defense secretary, after Mattis expressed a desire to see Trump’s signature “America First” policies removed from national security strategy for the incoming Biden-Harris administration.

That says it all about Mattis. Obama fired him. I should have fired him sooner,” Trump wrote on Twitter. “Did [his] best work after he was gone. World’s most overrated general!”

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Mattis, part of a team of experts writing an op-ed for Foreign Affairs, criticized “America First” policies, calling them “a delusion.”

“Advocates of the current administration’s approach seem to believe that other countries will have no choice but to accede to the United States’ wishes and cooperate on its terms. This is delusion,” the authors, who include Kori Schake, director of foreign and defense policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute, Jim Ellis, a fellow at the Hoover Institution and former commander of U.S. Strategic Command, and Joe Felter, a fellow at the Hoover Institution, wrote. “Sovereign countries always have choices: to compromise with aggressors, take actions opposed to U.S. interests, opt out of assistance when the United States needs it, or cooperate with one another on activities from which the United States is excluded. Assuming otherwise has the result of emboldening adversaries and encouraging tests of the strength of U.S. commitments.”

Under Trump’s leadership, the United States is “undermining the foundations of an international order manifestly advantageous to U.S. interests, reflecting a basic ignorance of the extent to which both robust alliances and international institutions provide vital strategic depth.”

“In practice, ‘America first’ has meant ‘America alone,’” they wrote. “That has damaged the country’s ability to address problems before they reach U.S. territory and has thus compounded the danger emergent threats pose.”

President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris have signaled their commitment to restoring the United States’ relationships with its allies.