“The job of the president is to keep America safe, and that will always be my highest priority,” President-elect Donald Trump said while speaking in Cincinnati, Ohio. To this end, Trump added a second retired General to his upcoming administration after he appointed Gen. Michael Flynn as his National Security Advisor. Retired 4-star US Marines General and former CENTCOM Commander James Mattis, nicknamed “Mad Dog”, will be his Defense Secretary (DEFSEC).
“He’s our best. They say he’s the closest thing to (World War II) General George Patton that we have,” explained Trump whom foreign policy, he said, will look for stability by rebuilding the US rather than chaos by toppling regimes. Despite his long career started at age 19, Mattis will need both Senate confirmation and special waver of a law that bans military officers from serving as DEFSEC for 7 years after leaving active duty. Mattis retired in 2013.
A number of the Senate minority Democrats will likely oppose the waiver, considering Trump’s surrounding himself with military figures as taking too much distance from the fundamental principle of civilian control of the military. Supporter of a two-State solution for the Israel-Palestinian peace process, Mattis denounced the July 2015 international agreement signed with Iran against which he advised for the providing of weapons to Syrian “rebels” as soon as 2012.
“I consider the Islamic States (ISIS) nothing more than an excuse for Iran to continue its mischief. Iran is not an enemy of ISIS. They have a lot to gain from the turmoil in the region that ISIS creates,” said Mattis in April 2016. Mattis also regretted the apparent military disengagement of the US and advocated closer intelligence cooperation with Middle-Eastern allies, especially Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia.