Friday, December 28, 2018

Trump vs. Mattis - Mattis Blew An Awesome Opportunity

This bromance bites the dust.  Well, it should NOT shock anybody who understands Trump or Mattis, two obstinate men from radically different backgrounds who possess radically different world views.  Mattis abruptly resigned when Trump announced that he was pulling out of Syria and Afghanistan, although his departure as Secretary of Defense has been speculated for months because of policy differences.

Donald J. Trump tweeted: ‏ "When President Obama ingloriously fired Jim Mattis, I gave him a second chance. Some thought I shouldn’t, I thought I should. Interesting relationship-but I also gave all of the resources that he never really had. Allies are very important-but not when they take advantage of U.S."

Although the effective date of the resignation of Mattis was the end of February, Trump was so infuriated with his blistering resignation letter that Trump moved it up and appointed an Acting Secretary of Defense effective January 1, 2019.

What went so wrong with a relationship that started off so good?  It starts with understanding Trump. Trump is an entrepreneur and marketing genius who loves accomplishing great things and usually by taking big risks.   His presidential campaign was unlike anything any of us have ever witnessed.  Trump's uncanny ability to read and understand people and their mood was the driving force behind his populist campaign that hit the raw and angry nerves of average Americans.  He profoundly understood that American workers were being royally screwed by nasty trade deals and open borders, a theme he reinforced day after day on the campaign trail.  It's what helped Trump crush Hillary Clinton in the general election.

Trump even went so far as to invoke his 'Drain the Swamp' theme.  Make no mistake, Trump fully intended to march into DC to profoundly shake it up and create a New Deal for the American people and America, both economically and on the foreign policy front.

If ever there was was a swamp creature who was the personification of the establishment, the Deep State, the military industrial complex, the US empire and America's deeply flawed foreign policy, it's Mattis who devoted his entire life to clawing his way up to the top. The warrior-scholar who was also known as the warrior monk and Mad Dog enjoyed a reputation as a tough and crusty Marine.  He was fired by Obama for supposedly clashing with Obama's civilian officials over policy, specifically the Iran Deal.  Mattis is a study in duopoly.  He's played the role of a salty Pattonesque commander who was revered by his subordinates as a tough no nonsense leader.  On the other hand, Mattis was also respected as deeply intellectual, well read and sophisticated enough to be welcomed into the highest echelons of power.

Henry Kissinger is viewed as the daddy of the US Empire, endless wars and interventionism. He's on the board of Center for the National Interest, an organization founded by neocon Irving Kristol (father of Trump hating Bill Kristol) that also publishes The National Interest. In July 2018, Mattis was honored by The Center for the National Interests and his speech spewed gobs of love for Kissinger, here.  Mattis adores Kissinger and said "I am enormously grateful for Dr. Kissinger’s strategic mentorship over many years.."

At heart Mattis was a well entrenched Deep State player, an advocate for globalist organizations and institutions like the UN and NATO.  Mattis is only viewed as a populist patriot because of his highly cultivated tough guy image and in the context of his military service and raunchy military statements that drive the meme world of blind adoration. While the outrageously crusty memes attributable to Mattis are true, documented and dazzle the average American voter, the simple soldier persona is fraudulent although I don't doubt Mattis actually believes what he says.
“Be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everybody you meet.” 
“There are some people who think you have to hate them in order to shoot them. I don’t think you do. It’s just business.”

“There is nothing better than getting shot at and missed. It’s really great.”

“You go into Afghanistan, you got guys who slap women around for five years because they didn’t wear a veil. You know, guys like that ain’t got no manhood left anyway. So it’s a hell of a lot of fun to shoot them. Actually it’s quite fun to fight them, you know. It’s a hell of a hoot. It’s fun to shoot some people.”

“The first time you blow someone away is not an insignificant event. That said, there are some a**holes in the world that just need to be shot.”

“I come in peace. I didn’t bring artillery. But I’m pleading with you, with tears in my eyes: If you f*** with me, I’ll kill you all.”
Mattis has devoted decades of his life to organizing and methodically killing a ton of folks and it certainly isn't something that plagues his conscience.  His golden opportunity was born on September 11, 2001 with the 911 attack and the ensuing War on Terror.  For a man who believed he was destined to command battlefields, he was ready, tough as nails and pursued his duties valiantly and with vigor.  It's how he earned his 4 stars.  The combative combat man rose in the ranks but managed to get fired by 2 presidents - Obama fired him outright, and his relationship with Trump had deteriorated to the point where many believed he would be fired so he resigned.

It's ironic that Obama fired him for opposing the Iran Deal and that Trump was unhappy with Mattis for defending the Iran Deal.  For the record, I'm with Mattis on the Iran Deal because Iran isn't building nuclear bombs or enriching uranium, and Iran is in compliance.  That automatically makes the world a safer place so why nullify something that works?

Let's get back to Donald Trump, the draft dodging real estate developer turned TV reality star.  I don't doubt that Trump was impressed with the tough guy image of Mattis.  Few would question that both Trump and Mattis are tough guys but that's where the similarities end.

In April, 2018 Trump told a crowd at one of his rallies "We have spent $7 trillion — trillion with a T — $7 trillion in the Middle East, You know what we have for it? Nothing. Nothing."

Mattis could care less how many trillion we spend on wars - he's in the business of waging them so the more the better.  Trump even gave Secretary of Defense Mattis and the DOD a blank check just to appease a man who said he couldn't defend America without more money.

When Trump marched into DC and was inaugurated as the 45th president in January 2017, I doubt that Trump knew much of anything about how DC and Congress really operate. This is a guy who spent his life building condos, resorts and golf clubs.  But as a business man settling into DC, Trump does understand value and he started question US foreign policy and the enormous amount of money spent on it.

Even more alarming to the establishment and the DC Swamp, Trump was a quick study who unlike Mattis had little use for think tanks, the UN, NATO and all the globalist organizations and alliances that drive US empire and militarism.  Folks who don't especially like or value opaque, unelected and unaccountable yet extremely powerful organizations oppose the idea of hiding behind them, something Mattis is a master at doing.  Trump as a corporate CEO loves taking responsibility for his decisions, something the politicians, MIC, bureaucrats and elites abhor.

While President Trump believed that he had a tough guy Secretary of Defense to help implement his vision of evolving foreign policy views, that view was quickly shattered.  Trump the highly energized entrepreneurial creator was bound to clash with the stodgy institutional guy who viewed change as a threat the the existing world order. 

America has $22 trillion in debt and it was recently reported that the Pentagon failed an audit and couldn't account for $21 trillion.

The Pentagon Fails Audit – $21 Trillion in Transactions Could Not Be Traced, Documented, or Explained

Again, this leads back to Trump questioning spending $7 trillion in the Middle East.  Trump's antiwar instincts kicked in, as they have over the years as he asked what is the value to the US of spending so much money on wars?  Trump managed to offend our notoriously cheap allies by asking them to cough up some money for defense, defense dollars that are largely born by American taxpayers.  GASP!  Mattis was appalled as Trump ordered him to visit our allies and shake them down to pay their fair share of the big fat defense bill.

For a guy like Mattis, I'm sure that his POTUS preference is closer to Hillary Clinton than Donald Trump when ideology is factored into the equation.

1. Mattis is on recording opposing Trump getting out of the Paris Climate Accord, a nasty socialist policy that is nothing more than a wealth transfer from rich countries to poor countries.
2. Mattis opposed Trump moving the US Israel embassy to Jerusalem, something that turned out to be a non event.  Yawn!
3. Mattis opposed Trump's views on transgenders in the military.  Mattis supported the policy of allowing transgenders in the military while Trump sought to change it. I'm anything but convinced that transgenders even want to be soldiers and fight in wars.  However, since health insurance generally does not pay for transition surgeries and a lifetime of very expensive care, the military option is appealing to transgenders because taxpayers become saddled with their huge medical expenses.
4. Mattis opposed reducing the US military presence anywhere because control of turf is an obsession of empire builders, bureaucrats and military men because it's the mothers milk of their power and ability to grow it exponentially.

The Trump-Mattis marriage was doomed from the outset because one wanted change while the other demanded obedience to the status quo.

However, the world is rapidly changing and it's changing in way more ways than Mattis was willing to grasp; in many ways Mattis is a holdover relic from an era that no longer exists or at least is dying.  Specifically, the US Empire is gasping it last breath as the $22 trillion in debt to support never ending wars and the 800 military bases strung around the world under an MIC octopus is unsustainable.  America, peace and prosperity were sacrificed on the altar of empire and militarism. 

Trump is beginning to question the MIC and its vast network of globalist institutions that feed and sustain policies that are NOT in the best interest of America.

Trump the creative thinker who thinks out loud on Twitter butted heads with Mattis, an immovable object accustomed to stealth and is too dense to recognize that the world is changing beyond his ability to even understand it or where it's going.  Mattis follows the standard same old Kissinger script: sanction and destroy the economy and if whoever is targeted for whatever fake propaganda reason doesn't capitulate to the US empire then bomb them into oblivion and destroy entire nations and cities.  The murder of innocent people according to Mattis is just collateral damage.  After the US military does it's job, the DOD chiefs then turn the big pile of rubble over to the State Department and US Aid, supposedly to rebuild in the image of America.  It's frequently dubbed mop up operations.  US foreign policy is a disaster that spends a ton of money and accomplishes NOTHING except enriching defense and other crony contractors involved in wars, destruction and reconstruction - a cycle that never ever ends.

The whole game of US foreign policy, sanctions, bombings, destruction and rebuilding is a BIG FAIL.  This is something that Trump is beginning to see clearly. Mattis can't eject himself from the 'same old, same old' mold and freaks out as if his world is collapsing.

It's really tragic that Mattis, who is not stupid and is in fact well anchored in history and geopolitics, simply refused to be Trump's partner in forging a new and less interventionist foreign policy to position America for a better future.  Mattis views himself as a conquerer of turf that must be permanently occupied by the military which is in fact colonialism and empire.

Mattis is also revered in neocon and globalist circles while Trump is despised because he's a direct threat to them and their draconian powers.

If Mattis wasn't such a hardheaded ego driven man who tenaciously clings to the past and its failed policies and values, he would have been a valuable player in the Trump Administration. He could have been part of making history.  He should have played a critical role in building a safer, more peaceful and more prosperous future for America and the entire world.

Instead Mattis opted to do what is instinctively repugnant to any military man - cut and run.

Frankly, I doubt that the next Secretary of Defense will be any better than Mattis and is in fact likely to be far worse given that that the US Senate that confirms such nominees is largely comprised of Republican and Democrat neocon empire builders who are bought and paid for by the military industrial complex (MIC).

The real problem isn't Mattis who is just a product of an era with a long history of deeply flawed foreign policy and ideology.  The real problem is that the MIC of which Mattis is an integral player has such control over our government, foreign policy and elected Congress Critters.

Trump was ELECTED while Mattis was SELECTED.  Big difference!  Trump was elected because he campaigned on forging a more peaceful and less interventionist foreign policy.  As Secretary of Defense Mattis' only duty was to implement orders from his boss, the Commander in Chief, President Trump and give advice when asked.  Mattis is guilty of dereliction of duty.  For a military man to be insubordinate is a serious offense but Mattis the knucklehead reneged on his duties because he was convinced that he was right and Trump was wrong.

Going forward, Mattis will have lots of time to seriously engage in soul searching as he ponders his failures, his obstinate temperament, his tenure as Secretary Defense and his experience with Trump.  Mattis blew one whopper of an opportunity to be a part of something that America and the world desperately needs.  PEACE.

Mattis simply failed to be the visionary that Trump is and I'm in no way implying that Trump always gets it right but at least he's trying and fighting the good fight.  Mattis the legendary fighter simply refused to fight for America, his Commander and Chief and a saner foreign policy vision.

Of course it's sad and tragic, for America and a man who devoted his entire life to serving his country.


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