The Evening: Mattis Resigns, Troop Withdrawals, Santa Claus is Coming to Town and More
December 20, 2018
It's Thursday, December 20th.
Note: The Evening will be “gone fishin’” until January 2, 2019. I wish you all a Merry Xmas and a happy, healthy New Year!
Defense Secretary James Mattis resigned today, a day after President Donald Trump's plans to withdraw troops from Syria became public, as CNN reports.
Afghanistan Troop Drawdown Considered
The Trump administration is actively considering plans for a significant drawdown of American troops in Afghanistan that could begin in as soon as several weeks, multiple officials said, in the start of the conclusion of the 17-year U.S. war effort, as the WSJ’s Gordon Lubold and Jessica Donati report.
President Trump today defended his plan to withdraw American troops from Syria against mounting criticism from Republicans and Democrats and concerns from his military and diplomatic advisers who were caught off guard by his abrupt announcement a day earlier, as the NYT’s Eileen Sullivan reports.
Dive Deeper: “Losing on All Fronts: The Failed Trump Strategies for America's Wars,” by CSIS’s Anthony Cordesman.
“Critical Questions: The Implications of the U.S. Withdrawal from Syria,” by CSIS’s Jon Alterman and Will Todman.
“As Washington Prepares to Withdraw from Syria, Turkey Is Set to Invade,” by the Washington Institute’s Dana Stroul and Soner Cagaptay.
“Trump, Erdogan, and the Surprise U.S. Troop Withdrawal from Syria,” by CSIS’s Bulent Aliriza.
"Trump’s Syria pullout: A quick assessment,” by Brookings’s Daniel Byman.
“Barack Trump and the failure of leadership on Syria,” by AEI’s Danielle Pletka.
Europe's Continuing Terror Threat
U.S. allies in Europe face a continuing “significant threat” of terrorist attacks from Islamic extremists, even as terrorism is taking a back seat in U.S. security planning that increasingly focuses on challenges from China and Russia, according to a report published today by CSIS, as the WSJ’s Warren Strobel reports.
Dive Deeper: “From the IRA to the Islamic State: The Evolving Terrorism Threat in Europe,” by CSIS’s Seth Jones.
Putin Accuses U.S. of Raising Risk of Nuclear War
President Vladimir Putin on Thursday accused the United States of raising the risk of nuclear war by threatening to spurn a key arms control treaty and refusing to hold talks about another pact that expires soon, as Reuters reports.
And North Korea
North Korea said it wouldn’t give up its nuclear arsenal until the U.S. first removed its nuclear threat, raising fresh doubts about a breakthrough in stalled bilateral talks, as the WSJ’s Andrew Jeong report.
The Justice Department today unveiled indictments of two Chinese hackers who allegedly pilfered vast amounts of valuable confidential data from U.S. government agencies and corporate computers in 12 countries, as the Washington Post’s Ellen Nakashima and David Lynch report.
Do you have any questions about trade and how a changing U.S. trade policy may affect your life? If you do, please email me your question(s) to firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll publish some of the best questions and get our experts to answer them on an upcoming CSIS podcast.
CSIS’s Trade Guys Crash Course
Now enrolling for CSIS Crash Course, a one-day seminar on the fundamentals of U.S. international trade policy and politics for trade professionals. This program will be conducted by CSIS experts Scott Miller and Bill Reinsch, known as the Trade Guys from their highly-rated weekly podcast. Information here.
In That Number
Between 2007 and 2017, the number of failed, foiled, and successful terrorist attacks perpetrated by Islamic extremists in Europe increased by 725 percent.
Source: “From the IRA to the Islamic State: The Evolving Terrorism Threat in Europe,” by CSIS’s Seth Jones.
“Because you have the right to have a Secretary of Defense whose views are better aligned with yours on these and other subjects, I believe it is right for me to step down from my position.”
— Defense Secretary Jim Mattis
The Pacific Islands are emerging as yet another arena of competition between China, the United States, and other powers. In response, Australia, the United States, and New Zealand have refocused economic and diplomatic efforts in the region. Read how China is challenging the Pacific powers here.
The Andreas C. Dracopoulos iDeas Lab at CSIS enhances our research with the latest in cutting-edge web technologies, design, and video.
(Photo credit: Win McNamee/Getty Images). Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) spoke out today on Capitol Hill against President Donald Trump's decision to remove U.S. military forces from Syria.
“America’s Yo-Yo Diet in the Middle East,” by CNAS’s Ilan Goldenberg for Politico.
Trade experts Scott Miller and Bill Reinsch break down the buzz around trade, how it affects policy, and how it impacts your day-to-day. The Trade Guys is hosted every week by H. Andrew Schwartz.
Listen on SoundCloud or Apple Podcasts.
The Evening will be off for the next week through New Years and I want to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a happy, healthy New Year. And what better way to do it than with the Boss’s “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town.” Bless you all and thank you for reading the Evening in 2018. We’ll see you next year!