A 'Mad Dog' In The White House?
I’ve said it a thousand times before (not necessarily in written form); politics is one of my favorite sports. I know, politics is not a sport, but I would rather watch some political wheeling and dealing than a Baseball or Basketball Game. (I’m weird; I only really like Hockey, Soccer and Football). Knowing that, you can only imagine my excitement during campaign season and now during the transition process. This election cycle was a beast I had never seen before, and that most of the county had never seen before. It was equal parts frustrating, energizing and entertaining.
Now that the election cycle is over and our new President-Elect is attempting to fill his cabinet, things are getting… interesting. The rumors of people being brought into the fold are something to behold. I mean Preibus, Bannon, Romney, Palin, Carson, and Giuliani, come on! Some names confirmed, some just floated out there, but this is shaping up to be some American’s dream cabinet (If that was ever an actual thing, and others’ nightmare).
The most recent addition to the list is the Mad Dog himself. The President-Elect’s office is naming James ‘Mad Dog’ Mattis as Secretary of Defense. (I was horrified to think that General Flynn could have been named for this post, so at least that bullet was dodged). Mattis’ pending appointment will not be without challenge. Under current law, it is not legal for him to serve as SecDef. The General’s resume speaks for itself, but laws are laws. And as of now, the law is that the SecDef cannot have been in active duty service in the 7 years preceding the post. Well, Mad Dog retired in 2013. I know my math skills are not that great but there is still some time on that mandatory hiatus. However, congress can overturn the law, like they did to allow George Marshall to take up his post in 1950 (Yes, the law has been unchanged for 65 years).
Should all of this go through congress, and I believe it will. This could actually be a good thing for the incoming administration. President-Elect Trump has consistently touted that he knows more than the Generals when it comes to fighting ISIS. The Mad Dog may be able to bring his signature blend of strategy, experience and just the right amounts of aggression. Mattis served in the Marine Corps for over 40 years, and retired as the Commander of US Central Command. He “has often said that Washington lacks an overall strategy in the Middle East, opting to instead handle issues in an ineffective one-by-one manner.“
There is a clear belief that the American strategy in the Middle East is failing. Maybe under the watchful eye of a seasoned vet who has much maligned US strategy in the region, things could get better. Mattis is an outspoken critic of as he calls it “Political Islam,” to him this is the likes of ISIS and Iranian backed terror networks.
More than his stance on the Middle East, I think there are two things that make Mattis a great choice for the Secretary of Defense. First, Mattis stands opposite Trump on NATO. Mattis served as Supreme Allied Commander of transformation for NATO, and was in charge of making sure that allies were prepared militarily for any threats. In essence his job was to make sure that they could carry their own weight and do their part. Which goes against what the President-Elect claims about our allies in NATO.
Second, Mattis stands opposite Trump on the Iran nuclear deal. Say what you will about the deal, but it is a legally binding document. A fact that General Mattis is well aware of. In April of 2016 Mattis gave a speech at the Center for Strategic and International Studies where he said that the nuclear deal might slow Iran’s ambitions, and not stop them. But, without a clear violation he sees no conceivable way to back out of the deal.
This is the kind of politicking I am happy to be seeing. Bringing people into the administration who will not be ‘Yes Men” but instead who are capable and will hold their ground on their beliefs. There needs to be more appointees like Mad Dog if the other half of this country is ever going to accept and trust Trump in the White House.