General Jim Mattis – recommended by President Obama to President Trump and perhaps naively accepted – has penned an op-ed for the narrowly-read foreign policy industry magazine Foreign Affairs. In the co-authored piece, the four authors appear to embrace an “America Last” foreign policy in the style of the Obama administration.
In what could only be viewed as a bid for “jobs for the boys” in a potential Biden administration, Mattis alongside his co-authors from the D.C.-swamp think tanks the Hudson Institute and American Enterprise Institute state:
The United States today is undermining the foundations of an international order manifestly advantageous to U.S. interests, reflecting a basic ignorance of the extent to which both robust alliances and international institutions provide vital strategic depth.
In practice, “America first” has meant “America alone.” That has damaged the country’s ability to address problems before they reach U.S. territory and has thus compounded the danger emergent threats pose.
In reality, America First never meant America alone – with President Trump actually forcing NATO member countries to pay their fair shares and elevating them to partners in the deal, rather than protectorates.
But the neocolonial instincts of America’s pro-war, foreign policy establishment have clearly not been quelled by four years of relative peace under President Trump. Clearly, they’re more bloodthirsty than ever.
Revealingly, the authors denigrate America’s abilities to defend itself, despite record military investment over the past four years and a series of effective detentes with previously aggressive and hostile regimes.
“Not even the United States is strong enough to protect itself on its own,” states Mattis alongside his authors Kori Schake, Jim Ellis, and Joe Felter.
The piece calls for more nation-building: a strategy that manifestly failed in Iraq and Afghanistan:
“It is in the United States’ interests to build the capacity of such governments to deal with the threats that concern Americans; that work isn’t quick or linear, but it is an investment in both greater security and stronger relationships and preferable to the United States’ indefinitely having to take care of threats on its own.”
“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.”
The elimination of “America First” signals a return to America last. And every American should be appalled.