- The Washington Times - Monday, May 29, 2017

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Defense Secretary James Mattis was just asked on “Face the Nation” on CBS what keeps him awake at night. And his awesome answer?

Nothing.

Not a thing.

In fact, Mattis said, the Daily Mail noted: “I keep other people awake at night.”

He went on to discuss the threats of a war against North Korea, and the “catastrophic” combat situation that would result, not just with Pyongyang, but also involving Russia and China.

But his sleep quip was precious.

What an applause worthy change of leadership from the previous faces of the position, Ashton Carter, Chuck Hagel, and Leon Panetta. Imagine: a U.S. military leader who personifies tough military leadership.

It was a “Mad Dog” moment, that’s for sure.

It was also a stark deviation from Barack Obama days, when defense secretaries were more political faces of the White House than true military strategists, diplomats and — gasp — fighters.

Look at this, from Carter, in 2016: “Through a principled security network, we can all meet the challenges we’re facing together — whether it’s Russia’s worrying actions, North Korea’s nuclear and missile provocations, the threat posed by extremists groups or the growing strategic impact of climate change,” he said, during a Singapore speech, the Center for Climate & Security reported.

And this, from Hagel, while announcing in 2014 the Pentagon’s new operational direction, The Hill reported: “Among the future trends that will impact our national security is climate change. Rising global temperatures, changing precipitation patters, climbing sea levels and more extreme weather events will intensify the challenges of global instability, hunger, poverty and conflict. … [Climate change] poses immediate risks to U.S. national security.”

And this, from Panetta, in 2012 remarks delivered to the Environmental Defense Fund: Climate change dramatically impacts national security, in that “rising sea levels, severe droughts, the melting of the polar caps … all raise demand for humanitarian assistance and disaster relief,” Climate Depot reported.

The take-away?

Obama’s defense secretaries fought the weather. Mattis, by stark contrast, fights actual flesh-and-blood enemies — you know, the real ones, the ones who will truly kill.

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