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Mattis Urging Biden to Scrap Trump's 'America First' Defense Plan

mattis in a black suit and purple tie at a cfr event
Former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

By    |   Tuesday, 24 November 2020 02:24 PM

Former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis is calling on Joe Biden to dump President Donald Trump's "America First" defense strategy.

In a commentary written by Mattis and three others posted in Foreign Affairs, they warned "the world is not getting safer, for the United States or for U.S. interests."

"To dismiss U.S. involvement today in Afghanistan, Iraq, and elsewhere as 'endless' or 'forever' wars — as both President Donald Trump and President-elect Joe Biden do — rather than as support to friendly governments struggling to exert control over their own territory misses the point," they warned.

"It is in the United States' interests to build the capacity of such governments to deal with the threats that concern Americans."

As defense secretary, Mattis was the main force behind the national defense strategy that directed the military to prepare for potential conflict with Russia and China, Military.com noted.

Now, Mattis is looking for a rewrite.

"In January, when President Joe Biden and his national security team begin to reevaluate U.S. foreign policy, we hope they will quickly revise the national security strategy to eliminate 'America first' from its contents, restoring in its place the commitment to cooperative security that has served the United States so well for decades," he and his co-authors wrote.

"'America first' has meant 'America alone.'" 

Mattis' co-authors were Kori Schake of the American Enterprise Institute; retired Adm. Jim Ellis, former head of U.S. Strategic Command; and Joe Felter, a fellow at the Hoover Institution.

According to Military.com, retired Gen. Jack Keane, the former Army vice chief of staff, said he'd talked with Trump and Army Gen. Austin Scott Miller, commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, about the risks posed by withdrawing troops there.

Keane told Military.com Trump actually stopped short of his initial impulse to order a complete withdrawal.

"I know that, from my own interactions with him on the subject, and I know as recently as last week, he still wanted to pull out of Afghanistan and he had people telling him, largely the new people brought into the Pentagon, telling him that we can get down to zero," Keane, chairman of the Institute for the Study of War, told Military.com.

"And certainly he was inclined to do that, but he didn't do it."

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Former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis is calling on Joe Biden to dump President Donald Trump's "America First" defense strategy.In a commentary written by Mattis and three others posted in Foreign Affairs, they warned "the world is not getting safer, for the United States or...
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2020-24-24
Tuesday, 24 November 2020 02:24 PM
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