FT. BRAGG – U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis was in the Old North State last week to offer his wisdom and encouragement to those that put it all on the line to protect the free world. Being ‘First in Freedom’ could also apply to North Carolina’s high concentration of integral military forces and installations, warranting a visit from Mad Dog as we head toward a new year of geopolitical tensions.
When it comes to leaders of our nation’s defense, there are few that have more experience, credibility, and respect among fellow soldiers than former General, now U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis.
Mattis is a living legend of a Marine that has a long history of striking fear in the heart of America’s enemies. His call sign is ‘Chaos.’ His nickname is ‘Mad Dog.’
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Now in his role as ‘Mr. Secretary,’ Mattis visited the elite military bases in Eastern North Carolina to warn our men and women in uniform of ‘storm clouds’ on the horizon.
“”Storm clouds are gathering” over the Korean Peninsula, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis declared Friday. And as diplomats try to resolve the nuclear standoff, he told soldiers that the U.S. military must do its part by being ready for war.
Without forecasting a conflict, Mattis emphasized that diplomacy stands the best chance of preventing a war if America’s words are backed up by strong and prepared armed forces.
“My fine young soldiers, the only way our diplomats can speak with authority and be believed is if you’re ready to go,” Mattis told several dozen soldiers and airmen at the 82nd Airborne Division’s Hall of Heroes, his last stop on a two-day pre-holiday tour of bases to greet troops.”
Being ready to go and back up diplomatic talk with military might is precisely why Mattis was such an effective military leader. He warned the enemy, in infamously colorful fashion, then he followed through with equally impressive execution.
Being prepared is a theme Mattis impressed upon the men and women at Fort Bragg and Camp Lejeune.
“President Donald Trump and other top U.S. officials have made repeated threats about U.S. military action. Some officials have described the messaging as twofold in purpose: to pressure North Korea to enter into negotiations on getting rid of its nuclear arsenal, and to motivate key regional powers China and Russia to put more pressure on Pyongyang so a war is averted.
For the military, the focus has been on ensuring soldiers are ready should the call come.
At Fort Bragg, Mattis recommended the troops read T.R. Fehrenbach’s military classic “This Kind of War: A Study in Unpreparedness,” first published in 1963, a decade after the Korean War ended.
“Knowing what went wrong the last time around is as important as knowing your own testing, so that you’re forewarned – you know what I’m driving at here,” he said as soldiers listened in silence. “So you gotta be ready.””
Having tested ballistic missiles that experts believe could have the ability to hit anywhere in the United States, and recent tunneling activity at the favored nuclear test site, the despotic North Korean regime continues to play with fire.
Even as the United Nations, the U.S., Japan, South Korea, and, perhaps most importantly, China, pressures Kim to abandon his provocations, there is no indication that any diplomatic efforts will change the course of a delusional and cultish communist leader hell bent on gaining nuclear leverage over the U.S. and reuniting the Korean peninsula by force.
The New Year will bring new risks, as the 2018 Winter Olympics with be held on Rocket Boy’s door step in South Korea.
“Mattis said he sees little chance of Kim disrupting the Winter Olympics, which begin in South Korea in February.
“I don’t think Kim is stupid enough to take on the whole world by killing their athletes,” he said.
Mattis repeatedly stressed that there is still time to work out a peaceful solution. At one point he said diplomacy is “going positively.” But he also seemed determined to steel U.S. troops against what could be a costly war on the Korean Peninsula.
“There is very little reason for optimism,” he said.”
One can hope that rationality takes hold of the chubby dictator in the coming months, for the sake of the soldiers and their families here in North Carolina and across the globe.
No matter what happens, Americans should feel lucky to have a General of Mad Dog’s caliber at the helm. And if Kim had any sense at all, he wouldn’t test a man that is known for using chaos to his and America’s advantage.