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.