Mattis Identifies America's Biggest Internal National Security Threat: 'It's the Lack of Friendliness'


Former Secretary of Defense James Mattis has been out of the news for a while, no doubt enjoying his well-earned retirement after stepping down from his post at the beginning of this year. Now he’s back in the spotlight, thanks to a new book that outlines his life and accomplishments.

“Mad Dog” Mattis, as he was admiringly nicknamed during his time as a Marine Corps general, has a reputation for being blunt.  So it’s no surprise that his book “Call Sign Chaos: Learning to Lead” called out a few people, including former President Barack Obama.

But Mattis has much more to be blunt about. During a recent interview on the long-running CBS News program “Face The Nation,” the veteran warrior was asked to describe the biggest national security threats to America — and his answer may surprise you.

After host Margaret Brennan asked the retired general to lay out the major threats to our nation, the always thoughtful Mattis gave a detailed answer. “I think the biggest national security threat can be broken into two segments,” he explained, according to the Washington Examiner.

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The first segment was a fairly traditional answer. Mattis pointed out potential threats from other world powers like Russia and China — threats especially menacing under leaders who have not been afraid to rattle the saber.

“So, externally I would look at those two,” Mattis said. “That’s why we rewrote the national defense strategy to acknowledge the reality of those nations — not the nations that we wanted to be dealing with, but the Russia of Putin, the reality; the China of President Xi.”

That isn’t a particularly shocking answer. Both of those nations have strategic interests that are often opposite of our own, and both have powerful militaries that might aspire to stretch their muscles.

The second part of Mattis’ answer was more interesting. The former defense secretary pointed to rising national debt and political animosity as potential tinderboxes that could lead to problems here at home.

Do you agree with Mattis about our "lack of friendliness?"

“My bigger concern is twofold: It’s our growing debt that we’re going to transfer to the younger generation with seemingly no fiscal discipline,” Mattis said. “And more than that, it’s the lack of friendliness, it’s the increasing contempt I see between Americans who have different opinions.”

That last point is all too real in the era of antifa, seemingly endless protests and hatred which is spread even by establishment news outlets and elected officials.

The solution? According to Mattis, it involves remembering that all Americans should be on the same page when it comes to the big issues.

“We’re going to have to sit down and remember, if we want this country to survive, we’re going to have to work together,” the retired general said. “There’s no way around that. That’s the way a democracy is set up. So, I would break it into those two fundamental different threats.”

He may be on to something — and you have to admit, a lot of the “lack of friendliness” is being spread by the left.

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Take a look at the rhetoric being thrown around by leftists these days. Some declare that not just “MAGA” hats but all red caps are racist and symbols of hate no matter who wears them. Meanwhile, anybody who defends the president — a man that nearly 63 million Americans voted for — is smeared as a hateful, racist bigot.

And don’t even think about being pro-gun or proud of your country. You might end up being blacklisted or having your address published by the mob.

Of course, it’s not just the left that is guilty of unfriendliness. Conservatives can be equally nasty at times, especially in the strange world of social media and round-the-clock cable news.

The bottom line is that Mattis has significant experience, and it would be unwise to ignore his warning. We should remember that we are Americans and seek to find common ground on the big issues when possible.

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Benjamin Arie is an independent journalist and writer. He has personally covered everything ranging from local crime to the U.S. president as a reporter in Michigan before focusing on national politics. Ben frequently travels to Latin America and has spent years living in Mexico.