President Donald Trump speaks at a hanger rally at Al Asad Air Base, Iraq, Wednesday, Dec. 26, 2018. In a surprise trip to Iraq, President Donald Trump on Wednesday defended his decision to withdraw U.S. forces from Syria where they have been helping battle Islamic State militants. (Andrew Harnik | Associated Press)

President Donald Trump speaks at a hanger rally at Al Asad Air Base, Iraq, Wednesday, Dec. 26, 2018. In a surprise trip to Iraq, President Donald Trump on Wednesday defended his decision to withdraw U.S. forces from Syria where they have been helping battle Islamic State militants. (Andrew Harnik | Associated Press)

Opinion: How Trump is making our country less secure

Our nation’s security and future seem so uncertain.

Not since the Cuban Missile Crisis, when our country stood at the brink of nuclear war with the Soviet Union, has our nation’s security and future seemed so uncertain — owing to Donald Trump’s continuing spate of erratic, if not irrational, behaviors in office.

His unilateral decision to withdraw our troops from Syria in the fight against ISIS; his growing isolation in office, coupled with an almost childlike impetuosity in the face of criticism and mounting legal jeopardy, evidenced by the steady stream of rants and tweets aimed at anyone deemed disloyal to him; his volatile and unpatriotic attacks on the press who report, among other things, the effects of his inhumane immigration policies at the southern border; his refusal to acknowledge the harmful consequences befallen many American consumers stemming from the tariffs he has imposed on our trading partners; and his unconscionable pay-no-heed attitude towards our ballooning national debt, together, give us witness to a White House in chaos and our country being rendered less secure every day.

[Earthquake dominates Dunleavy’s talks with Trump, cabinet]

His precipitous decision to withdraw our troops from Syria, against the advice of Secretary James Mattis, resulting in his and Chief Envoy Brett McGurk’s resignation, has not only ruptured a critical multi-national coalition in the fight against ISIS, but also opened the door even wider to Iran’s and Russia’s ominous influence in the region. By abdicating our responsibilities to our coalition partners in the fight against ISIS, Trump further leaves the Syrian Kurds, an important ally, nakedly exposed to Turkey’s aggression as well.

By fracturing the coalition of partners in the fight against ISIS, most importantly, not only are our allies and partners left more vulnerable to the aggression of those opposed to democracy, but our national security will be weakened as well. His misguided sense of nationalism, simply, has shaken the trust and confidence of others in the integrity of the United States — a fact that cannot be minimized or papered-over, making those countries far less inclined to work with us in the future on matters of mutual security or concern.

Trump’s impulsive shutting down of the government last Friday, upending a bipartisan agreement reached earlier to keep the government running into February — which sent the stock market into a nose dive not seen since 2008 — merely adds to this already disturbing portrait of an increasingly isolated, unstable man serving in an office for which he has proven to be palpably unqualified.

[Opinion: We have ourselves to blame for Trump’s rise]

Should Trump’s apparent ignorance of the complexities of leadership at home and on the world’s stage continue to manifest itself, and it triggers an international crises moving forward, God help us! In such an event, let’s hope there will be constitutional restraints available to us to rein him in, thereby safeguarding the nation from undue harm. In the meantime, let us hope the Republican leadership in Congress will finally step forward to embrace its constitutional responsibility to the nation, putting political self-interest aside, and neutralize a president who, by all accounts, is becoming increasingly unstable.

• Richard Hebhardt is an educational consultant and retired Alaskan superintendent of schools (Bristol Bay Borough School District), who lives in Juneau. His views are his own.


• Richard Hebhardt is an educational consultant and retired Alaskan superintendent of schools (Bristol Bay Borough School District), who lives in Juneau. His views are his own. My Turns and Letters to the Editor represent the view of the author, not the view of the Juneau Empire.


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