As Trump's cabinet picks undergo their respective confirmation hearings, the million dollar question that is probably on everyone's mind is whether Trump's picks have broken rank with the President-elect, and want confrontation with Russia...or if they are simply saying they want an aggressive stance towards the Kremlin because that is what congressional war-hawk neocons like McCain and Graham want to hear.
Senator John McCain even went so far as to ask Trump's pick for secretary of defense James Mattis:
"Do you believe that...world order is now under more strain than its ever been?"Mattis replied:
"I think its under the biggest attack since World War II, sir."Music to McCain's ears.
"And that's from Russia, from terrorist groups and with what China is doing in the South China sea."
The Daily Caller reports...
As the former commander of U.S. Central Command, Mattis is intimately familiar with the threats facing the U.S., specifically terrorism and Iran.The WSJ notes that ...
Regarding Iran, Mattis noted that the nuclear deal struck in July 2015 was a flawed arms control agreement, but despite his concerns, it was important to continue to work with it.
"When America gives her word, we have to live up to it," said Mattis, responding to a question from Sen. Jack Reed.
That said, Mattis also said the U.S. needs to publicly display what Iran is up to, specifically regarding its support of terrorist proxies and multiple cyber attacks. Mattis once requested to engage in a retaliatory strike against Iran after it was discovered the country was providing rockets to Iraqi insurgents, which were killing more than a dozen troops a month in 2011. The Obama administration subsequently denied the request, as officials felt it would escalate tensions with Iran. Administration officials were engaging in secret negotiations with Iran at the time.
Mattis also touched on the threat posed by Russia, and noted that the U.S. has a "relatively short list of successes" when trying to reset with Russian President Vladimir Putin. He warned that Putin is trying to "break" NATO, and that the U.S. must push back.Retired Gen. James Mattis: The world order is under the biggest attack since WWII https://t.co/j6jNyCkKvZ https://t.co/JXtwKNd7ul
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) January 12, 2017
- "so far, there is no sign that he will face any resistance on for his Senate confirmation. He's winning a fair amount of praise from Democrats. It this continues to hold, he could have one of the smoothest confirmation votes of any Trump administration nominee."
"Our Armed Forces must remain the best led, best equipped, and most ready force in the world."
"We must also embrace our international alliances and security partnerships. History is clear: nations with strong allies thrive and those without them wither."