Mattis Is ‘Dead Wrong’ Says U.S. Secretary of State Pompeo – America First vs America Last

U.S. Secretary of Defense via Flickr

Former U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has received a lot of blowback for recently co-authoring a piece in Foreign Affairs magazine titled “Defense in Depth,” where he argues for removing President Trump’s signature mantra “America First” from its national security content. Among his critics is U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo who called Mattis “dead wrong” on this.

Though Mattis was instrumental in developing Trump’s National Security Strategy in 2017, he and his co-authors now write that “In practice, ‘America first’ has meant ‘America alone.”

The article’s authors include establishment experts such American Enterprise Institute Director of Foreign and Defense Policy Studies Kori Schake, Hoover Institution fellow and former Commander of U.S. Strategic Command Jim Ellis, and Hoover Institution fellow Joe Felter. They add that, “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.”

How Trump’s policies actually did this is left rather vague.

Mathis, et al. conclude by stating their hope that Joe Biden “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.”

While this has been a persistent criticism of Trump’s foreign policy from Never-Trumpers of all stripes, it has been, at best, less than accurate, and at worst, highly misleading.

In an interview on Fox News, Pompeo said, “I have a lot of respect for Jim, but he’s just dead wrong on that,” adding that he takes “great umbrage” at the suggestion of “America first” meaning “America alone.”

“I would tell you our Japanese colleagues, our South Korean colleagues, our Indian colleagues, our Australian colleagues, all know that the [Obama administration] pivot to Asia was a joke but that the United States under President Trump actually delivered real benefits to them,” he continued.

“‘America First’ has been at its heart, a recognition that when America is secure at home, when America does good things for our own economy, for our own prosperity, that America will be a force for good,” Pompeo said.

When asked by Brett Baier about his greatest foreign policy concern about the next administration, Pompeo said plainly, “I know some of these folks, they took a very different view, they lived in a bit of a fantasy world. They led from behind, they appeased. I hope they will choose a different course.”

In reality, the choice may really be between the Trump policy of America First, or a return to the Obama-Biden policy of America Last.


Paul Crespo

Paul Crespo is the Managing Editor of American Defense News. A defense and national security expert, he served as a Marine Corps officer and as a military attaché with the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) at US embassies worldwide. Paul holds degrees from Georgetown, London, and Cambridge Universities. He is also CEO of SPECTRE Global Risk, a security advisory firm, and President of the Center for American Defense Studies, a national security think tank.

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Grampa Mullan
Grampa Mullan
8 months ago

Mathis is a warrior first and foremost. his men would follow him to the gates of hell and quench its fires had he ask them. with such power and dedication from the ones he leads doesn’t make him fit to advise a president. his scope to victory is limited to military action. while he understands that needalies around the world his view that having them because they want to be on the side that wins are views compiled on the battlefield not with a handshake. Now I must criticize him because of the way he has been used to undermine the president. he like others are persuaded to write books they believe will help. the problem is they have the opposite effect. he should know that any good military commander never opposes the president in public, or in private where others can hear. a president must show a unified front to the enemy. an enemy that could cost many lives if emboldened by the rhetoric of arguing and uncertainty within themselves. as with most great people they also have a great ego. an ego that can be exploited. that is what is happening. exploited by people who care little about the American people just their own goals to power and rule of America. just who will gain with the fall of America. they want Americas resources and control of its people. they are now well on their way with the help of the media. I wish I could be here when they realize that their voice is no longer needed finding they have no skills useful to the left and no place in the hierarchy of rule.————Grampa

steve norman
steve norman
8 months ago

Hard to believe any thinking person disavows the good things Trump did for America.

Bill R
Bill R
8 months ago

A Biden administration would give a perception of weakness, gullibility and embolden bullying by our enemies and never Americans. Our best posture is a strong willed America looking out for number one, the American People not illegal immigrants and refugees from failing foreign countries.

Hopiter
Hopiter
8 months ago
Reply to  Bill R

Obviously the moment Biden was declared on 11/4 illegal surge across Southern border bloomed, 100,000 since 11/4 with 1,000 unaccompanied children. We are again being invaded and going back to Obama type policies as well as upping the Socialist Marxist ideology. This is going to further stifle our economy. Covid will disappear if voting fraud is ignored as it has been by the courts in these dominate partisan states. There is truly evil stomping on our door and Who are they going after…..anyone who supports our constitution. Taxing gun owners, mandatory registration of guns and bullets? None of the things Biden is touting will keep us free. Tax the rich except those like him, Kerry, Clintons and Obama, they’ll have already move the money off shore. I’m just livid!

Northpaw
Northpaw
8 months ago

Now it wouldn’t be because “Mad Dog” Mattis is a China big bucks recipient is it?

Mark
Mark
8 months ago

This story reads as though Biden is already in the WH. This as PA just got handed back to Trump as it should be after all the fraudulent ballots were cast out. The other states in question will follow. And unless there’s a concession, there is no President elect until the electorate makes that declaration on December 14th, and in this special circumstance due the the democrats wide spread ballot fraud, it may take longer if it goes to the Supreme Court.

Ben Matthews
Ben Matthews
8 months ago

This ‘hired monkey-general’ will just say ‘whatever’ his trainers/handlers, have told him to say…dance 🐒 dance!

Gale Benton
Gale Benton
7 months ago

He is like Biden, Dementia


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