Gen. James “Mad Dog” Mattis appears to be moving rapidly to the top of Donald Trump’s list of candidates for Secretary of Defense. Appointed during the Obama Administration from 2010 to 2013, Mattis headed the United States Central Command (CENTCOM), which has authority over all U.S. forces in the Mideast. Not reflected in his muscular and accomplished résumé, however, is a surprisingly anachronistic understanding of the ideological dynamics in the region — a woefully outmoded policy template that urgently needs updating in view of Iran’s hegemonic designs.
Instead of attributing the region’s atrocities to radical Islam’s 1,400-year-old track record, Mattis blames regional anti-Western hostility on the “Arab street’s” perception of the injustice of oppression suffered by Palestinians under the Israeli occupation.
At the 2013 Aspen Security Forum, speaking about the Israeli-Palestinian situation, Mattis defended the two-state solution and repeated the oft-quoted State Department mantra putting a bull’s-eye on Israeli intransigence. “I paid a military security price every day as the commander of CENTCOM because the Americans were seen as biased in support of Israel.” Calling Israeli control of Judea and Samaria “unsustainable,” Mattis warned that Jewish “settlements” could turn Israel into an “apartheid state.”
Mattis has already witnessed the political upheaval of the “Arab Spring” and the sobering reality that radical Islam has been the unrelenting driver of more tortured deaths of innocent Muslims than any other religion or ideology. With the vast accumulation of wealth in the region, he continues to see only a dribble of financial relief from oil-rich nations seeking to lessen the suffering of their brethren. Apparently, Muslim lives matter except when Muslims have to help other Muslims.
The false hypothesis that seeks to pawn radical Islamist atrocities off on an invalidated sense of injustice does not square up in the face of Muslim-on-Muslim killing. History clearly demonstrates that Muslim enmity is not about anything that Western civilization has done. Rather, it’s about an internal conflict interpreted by some Muslims as a Koranic mandate for imperialistic subjugation of non-believers.
In spite of this historical truth, coupled with the morally bankrupt nature of the ruling Palestinian kleptocracy, Mattis continues to cling to an invalidated theory of regional anti-Western hostility.
There is no doubt that the man who once said, “Be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everybody you meet” will wage a far more intense battle against ISIS than what we have yet seen. But the job doesn’t stop there.
Israel’s essential contribution to this effort should not be understated. Aside from the invaluable geo-strategic advantages, Israel is an innovative and experienced operator when it comes to radical Islam. Unlike the other “helpers” in the region, Israel is politically impregnable to radical Islamist influence. This is more than can be said about our NATO allies, most of whom are up to their eyeballs in emerging and vocal Muslim populations. With the unbelievable appeasement of our arch-foe Iran, it may also be concluded that our very own policy-making apparatus has been insidiously encroached upon by Islamist influence.
Within the context of Iranian hegemony and the prevailing UN bias against Israel, Gen. Mattis’ appointment threatens to expose Israel to diplomatic tyranny that will have dire strategic consequences. Territorial concessions, or gestures of support for Palestinian sovereignty that have been diplomatically extorted, will serve only to increase Israel’s burden of defense. Stripping Israel of the control of Judean and Samarian borders would serve only to handicap its military capacity as a vital geo-strategic platform in the face of radical Islam’s expansive objectives. That doesn’t sound like something that a general who likes the smell of victory would want to do.