The president’s surprise decision to withdraw US troops from Syria and Afghanistan has weakened allies and given a fillip to jihadists
Donald Trump’s sudden decision to pull US troops out of Syria, and slash the numbers deployed in Afghanistan, came as a nasty shock to Britain, regional allies such as Israel, and to many in his own administration and Republican party. Although he had threatened such action in the past, his wiser, more experienced advisers had succeeded in restraining him – until last week, when the president finally got away from the White House “grown-ups” and went rogue.
Trump’s move proved the final straw for James Mattis, the defence secretary and last of the old guard, whose relationship with the president was already strained. In his resignation letter, Mattis did not specifically mention Syria and Afghanistan but he warned that Trump was placing US security at risk by letting down and denigrating America’s friends and allies.