Writing at The American Conservative, Cato Institute’s vice president for defense and foreign policy studies, Chris Preble, takes a look at Trump’s foreign and defense policy team with special attention given to retired Marine Gen. James Mattis.
I sense in Mattis a healthy appreciation for the limits of military power. He’s obviously no pacifist (check out some famous #Mattisisms), but he asks tough questions about what military action is intended to achieve, and whether the mission has the support of the American people. This is not a man who is inclined to treat every problem as a nail, just because Uncle Sam wields a massive hammer.
Mattis has also raised some serious concerns about the deficit and the debt, and challenged some sacred cows, including the need for maintaining a nuclear triad.
For now, I’m reserving judgment on the “Warrior Monk.” He is sure to be a very important player in the Trump administration, and has the potential to steer the new president away from his hawkish impulses, if he, Mattis, is actually so inclined—and if the president is willing to listen.