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Trump’s combative words on NATO put Mattis in an increasingly tough spot

2018-07-10 09:49:56       source:The Washington Post

July 9, 2018

For Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, this week’s NATO summit presents a central test: how to preserve a U.S.-European alliance that he sees as crucial to America’s security while not crossing a boss who doesn’t share that view.

The summit, which will bring Mattis and President Trump together with the traditional allies of the United States, illustrates the tightrope the former general has walked since arriving at the Pentagon. The two have differed on torture, the war in Syria and, most centrally for Mattis, the value of America’s alliances as it confronts an increasingly aggressive Russia and other threats.

Mattis has compensated by keeping a low profile, downplaying differences with Trump and quietly urging the Europeans to judge the administration by its actions and not the president’s tweets.

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