Former Defense Secretary Mattis urges Biden administration to abandon “America First” foreign policy

by Peter Heck · Nov 24th, 2020 9:42 am
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Last Updated Nov 28th, 2020 at 12:04 pm

Former Secretary of Defense for President Trump, General Jim Mattis, wrote an op-ed for Foreign Affairs where he expressed his hope that Joe Biden would remove "America First" from the U.S. national security strategy.

"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," Mattis wrote along with three co-authors from the American Enterprise Institute and Hoover Institution.

"The best strategy for ensuring safety and prosperity is to buttress American military strength with enhanced civilian tools and a restored network of solid alliances – both necessary to achieving defense in depth," they added.

Mattis, whom Trump once praised as "the real deal," went on to blast the Trump administration's apparent belief that "other countries will have no choice" but to do what the United States wants because of its powerful military.

"This is delusion," Mattis and his co-authors wrote. "Sovereign countries always have choices: to compromise with aggressors, take actions opposed to U.S. interests, opt out of assistance when the United States needs it, or cooperate with one another on activities from which the United States is excluded."

Believing otherwise, they advised, opens the U.S. up to "tests of the strength of U.S. commitments." The authors of the piece suggested that strong allies "supplement" the strength of the American military.

"Not even the United States is strong enough to protect itself on its own," they continued. "Cooperating with like-minded nations to sustain an international order of mutual security and prosperity is a cost-effective way of securing that help."

The piece encouraged the incoming Biden administration to depart from the "with us or against us" approach that the authors believe plays directly into rival China's hands.


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