I’m happy to to see that Donald Trump has named James Mattis as his choice for Secretary of Defense. (Just think: a warrior who understands what the miltary is and isn’t for. Amazing.) As a recently retired member of the armed forces, he will, according to the National Security Act of 1947, need a waiver from Congress to serve:

SEC. 202. (a) There shall be a Secretary of Defense, who shall be appointed from civilian life by the President, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate : Provided, That a person who has
within ten years been on active duty as a commissioned officer in a Regular component of the armed services shall not be eligible for appointment as Secretary of Defense.

That ten years was later reduced to seven, but he’ll still need a waiver. I hope he gets it. Marshall did.

Meanwhile the big unknown is still Secretary of State. That’s a hard one. John Bolton’s name is on the list, but he’s way too much of a neocon for me. With him I’d have the same worries I had about Hillary Clinton’s foreign policy: hawkishness in general, confrontation with Russia, and futile wars all over the world.

What would I like in a Secretary of State? Mr. Trump hasn’t called yet to ask, but should his staff happen to see this, I’d like someone who:

1) Exhibits the social grace and other civilized qualities of the natural aristoi, as one thinks of when imagining a great nation’s top diplomat;

2) Puts America’s interests above global utopianism;

3) Has a broad, preferably even scholarly, knowledge and understanding of history;

4) Strongly favors the Anglosphere as our organic allies;

5) Understands also that Russia has a far deeper kinship with the West than with any other conceivable bloc of nations, and would be far better as an ally against Islam and China than a foe;

6) Has a clear-eyed understanding of the devastating effect of mass alien immigration on any nation, and is therefore sympathetic to the desire for cultural self-preservation that is awakening all over the West;

7) Doesn’t go blundering around wrecking nations in the hope of perfecting the world;

8) Doesn’t have the neocon bee-in-the-bonnet about democracy as the one-size-fits-all solution to every nation’s problems, and understands that different peoples naturally form different cultures and types of sovereignty. Russia, for example, has never had any sort of real democracy, and doesn’t want or need one — and to make Putin an enemy simply because he is authoritarian (as many mainstream conservative types do) betrays, I think, a naive universalism that works against our better interests.

I’m not particularly optimistic about this appointment; that’s a pretty tough resume to fill. (In a pinch, point 2 would be an improvement all by itself.) We’ll see what happens.


  1. Every Cabinet Officer still takes his broad-brush marching orders from the President. So, aside from your #1 and #3 (which are personal qualifications to be desired for our Chief Diplomat), all your other numbers appear to be those that Mr. Trump favors and would presumably tell his Secretary of State to abide by.

    Posted December 2, 2016 at 2:32 am | Permalink
  2. Whitewall says

    Sec. State is a tough one after what we have had for the last eight years. I would combine items 2 and 6 above as one single requirement. The candidate should realize the West is under full assault from Leftism, as usual, as well as Islamism.

    The candidate needs to be a man. Not a male like the swishy John Kerry nor the female version of Kerry, displayed by HRC.

    The exterior of this candidate needs to present the image of item #1 but have an iron will within. At the moment I don’t know who has the entire package. A couple of men have parts but not all. Maybe somebody is waiting in the wings that we haven’t seen.

    Posted December 2, 2016 at 8:04 am | Permalink
  3. Jake says

    John Bolton

    Posted December 2, 2016 at 8:43 pm | Permalink
  4. M says

    SHS is a much more important position than SOS for you to look at, although SOS has been getting all the attention in the media. The SHS pick will signal whether Trump is serious about immigration enforcement or not (along with Sessions at AG, which is a very helpful step in the right direction). If Trump picks Kobach for SHS? He’s serious. If he picks McCaul? He’s not serious. It’s really quite simple.

    Posted December 4, 2016 at 2:07 am | Permalink
  5. Jeremy Nimmo says

    Gawd- I’d love to think that the appointment of all the establishment dogs over the past week or so has just been preparation for the second SoS Buchanan.

    Posted December 4, 2016 at 1:29 pm | Permalink
  6. Malcolm says


    I agree about the importance of SHS, and I’m hoping for Kobach.


    I doubt it will be Buchanan. This Dana Rohrabacher fellow, whose name is in the air, might be a good pick, though.

    Posted December 4, 2016 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

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