On Thursday, retired Marine Corps General James “Mad Dog” Mattis warned, during a meeting of the Congress, that Russia and especially its president Vladimir Putin, is trying to “break the North Atlantic alliance”. He is the president-elect’s choice for Defense Secretary, but is seems like his approach is much tougher than that of Donald Trump. During the confirmation hearing, Mattis said that he wishes for a collaborative relationship, but that he cannot ignore the reality. According to him, the U.S. has more areas where it could confront Russia than collaborate with it.
The mad dog talks
In order to be eligible to become Secretary of Defense, a waiver from the House and the Senate is needed. This is necessary because federal law says that a service member can occupy a defense position only seven years after he has retired from duty. Mattis is not retired for seven years, so this is the reason for the waiver. The committee voted for it, as well as the Senate, on Thursday.
His hearing lasted for three hours. Three hours in which Mattis touched on many subjects and offered his ideas. He wants the U.S. to expand its military forces and improve its readiness. Moreover, he advised that the country should keep armed forces in the Baltic regions at all times. According to him, this would make it harder for Russia to attack, if they ever wanted to. His military motto is that the nations which have allies win battles, while those without allies often do not. He mentioned a lot of things which are in deep contrast with the president-elect’s ideas. Which is a bizarre thing, considering that Trump actually chose him to be his Secretary of Defense.
Apart from voicing his skepticism towards Russia and his bright vision of NATO, Mattis also touched on another subject. He said that the U.S. should do everything possible in order to keep and strengthen the deal which constraints Iran’s nuclear program. This is interesting because Donald Trump often said during his presidential campaign that one of the first things he will do is “dismantle the disastrous Iran deal”. As for Obama’s decision of opening combat positions to women and gay individuals, Mattis said that he will not touch those decisions while stating that he never really cared about these kinds of things. Also, that service should be for every patriot, no matter his sexual orientation.
Mattis also maintained his idea that Israel is the only existing democracy in the Middle East right now. Apart from this Senate hearing, Mattis was also supposed to make an appearance before the House Armed Service Committee but it was all cancelled for unknown reasons. James Mattis retired from the U.S. Marine Corps back in 2013. He was the 11th Commander of U.S. Central Command and replaced another familiar name, General David Petraeus, as the man taking care of U.S.’ operations in Afghanistan and Middle East. However, he has a long history because before that, he was a commander of NATO forces in Europe.
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