Secretary of Defense James Mattis travelled to Asia to calm nerves in Tokyo and Seoul. America’s Asian allies have been unnerved by President Donald Trump’s dismissive rhetoric about alliances based on cost/benefit grounds, and his decision to dump the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement. America’s European allies are also deeply unsettled by Trump’s bad-mouthing of NATO and his inclination to view alliances as business transactions. Part of Secretary Mattis’s and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s job descriptions are to help a President who shoots from the lip and whose understanding of geopolitics is skin deep.
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