That the canary is already mostly dead. Why? Because Mattis was left out of the Muslim Ban executive order. Why is this problematic? The ban had significant military equities (a term I learned in 2001-02 referring to when the US military had some stakes in a policy):
- The ban means that Iraqi pilots were supposed to come to the US to train to fly the planes the US sold them can't.
- Some of the folks whose travel to the US was blocked were interpreters who had served in harm's way to help American forces. So, who is going to serve as interpreters now that the promise of a life in the US (staying in one's country is often no longer possible after working closely with foreign forces) is gone?
- Predictably, Iraq may ban Americans, including the contractors who provide vital support for the war effort.
- Previous American generals have noted that Islamophobia in the US is a recruiting tool for Islamist terrorsts. ISIS is already making much of this ban. Indeed, Islamophobia in the US may endanger American troops. Remember green on blue attacks where the people the US trains shoot at the trainers?
- Many members of the US armed forces either themselves are green card holders or their families are (or both). So, this executive order directly impacts a significant number of the troops. (Thanks to Heather Hurlburt for reminding of this).
I am not sure what the allies should do, but counting on Mattis is a thin reed upon which to rest their hopes. As I discussed on twitter with Colin Kahl, an academic and former National Security Adviser to the Vice President, there will be a lot of self-help going on, and with that, spirals of increasing insecurity.
Sorry to be a Debbie downer, again....