When Somebody Called “Mad Dog” Is The Only Adult In The Room
When Somebody Called “Mad Dog” Is The Only Adult In The Room
In the last few days it has come to pass that twice US Secretary of Defense, James “Mad Dog” Mattis has shown himself to be the only adult in the room in the Trump administration. His first such exhibition of adulthood came during the bizarre spectacle of Trump’s first full televised cabinet meeting. Trump openly demanded verbal obeisance from those assembled, promptly delivered by all but one in the room, with some of them embarrassingly effusive, such as Reince Priebus declaring it to be a “blessing” to serve Trump. Ugh. Even SecState Tillerson chimed in with a relatively perfunctory bit of praise for Trump. Only Mad Dog Mattis refused to go along, making a statement praising US military personnel around the world without a single word about Trump.
And then we have the under reported event yesterday that I saw on Juan Cole’s blog that Mattis signed a $12 billion dollar deal for F-15s with Qatar. Now I am not in general a big fan of these Middle East arms deals with anybody, but in this case this blatantly goes against Trump’s absolutely stupid and probably corrupt (Saudis paid $270,000 in hotel bills at Trump’s hotel in Washington since Trump took office) support for the Saudi move to blockade Qatar and pressure it into going along with Saudi aggression in Yemen and more generally against Iran. Both Tillerson and Mattis made verbal statements last week arguing for a more balanced approach there, only to have Trump double down on supporting this very stupid policy. Tillerson is not able to cut deals independently supporting Qatar, but Mad Dog Mattis has just done so.
Maybe Trump will fire him, but I kind of think that maybe even he is not quite that stupid in the current circumstances. So there we have it, having to thank somebody nicknamed “Mad Dog” twice in a few days for being the much=needed adult in the room.
“Trump openly demanded verbal obeisance from those assembled…”
Can you post a video of his “[demanding” verbal obeisance”. None of the videos I’ve seen show his doing that.
Gosh, Warren, you are right. He only openly suggested it, rather than demanded it. Big difference, and obviously their outpouring was heartfelt and spontaneous and genuine. SecDef Mattis should be ashamed of himself for not joining and speaking about US military personnel instead of what a blessing it is to work for Our Dear Leader.
Thank you . . .
“He only openly suggested it….”
Didn’t even hear that. What, exactly, did he say that you interpret as suggesting “verbal obeisance from those assembled”?
Gosh, you are so right, Warren. I have totally misrepresented this. This unprecedented outpouring of obeisance was just totally spontaneous, not a hint from the president of wanting any praise whatsoever. Indeed, that we have never seen anything like this in a public cabinet meeting is proof that this is the greatest president every in the entire history of the US. No other president, not Washington, not Lincoln, none of them, has received or even remotely deserved such an outpouring of unmitigated and totally deserved praise.
Which certainly confirms that there must be something wrong wiith this Mad Dog that somehow he thought it was more important to praise military personnel. What could have been thinking?
I would just as soon Qatar go with Iran.
Doha’s crime against the Wahhabi ‘protectors of the Great Mosques’ is not going along with the Sunni eclipsed of Arab Spring.
How they going to put 36 F-15’s at al Udeid, with all that CENTCOM stuff there?
Not a fan of Mattis, US activity in Syria is a continuation of neocon insanity funding al Qaeda……….
I can not disagree with you. We have meddled enough in the Middle East and the meddling there since WWI has been the stick poking the hornet’s nest. That was one of the reasons I was asking Barkley about natural, or ethnic, borders.
Not sure if “My Cousin Vinny” is on your scale of watchable movies. Side story. In 71, I married a straight-to-the-point woman of similar looks who lived between two of my aunts and a flock of younger cousins in Queens (she never had a chance). This movie reminded me of her boldness and straight to the point responses minus the cuss words (her Italian mom would have killed her). We both laugh at this.
Your answer to Warren about the General-and-his-comment and Mona’s comment to Vinny were laughable and right to the point. My wife would have answered me in the same manner.
Mona: “Support? Is that what you want? I’m sorry, you were wonderful in there! The way you handled that judge… ooh you are a smooth talker. You are… you are! ”
Thank you again for the laugh . . .
Run says above that he asked me about “natural” or “ethnic” boundaries of nations in the Middle East, which could be extended to the broader MENA. I do not have a simple answer to that, although it is pretty obvious that most of the nations created by European colonists, which would incllude at least Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Jordan, and maybe Israel all have essentially arbitrary and “unnatural” borders (no, I am not going to comment further on the sinkhole issue of Israel and Palestine, for which borders are very much up in the air anyway).
To the extent one finds MENA nations with borders that make some sense ethnically or “naturally,” most of them are ones drawing on an ancient or much older civilization or nation, with many of these also having questionable borders as well in places. Turkey is not too far off, although it has this big chunk in the southeast where ethnic Kurds predominate, the largest group there with no nation, which they were promised at Versailles but did not receive. Saudi Arabia is mostly Arab, but even within it there are major splits, with the dialect of Arabic spoken in the hard-Wahhabi central Nejd region closer to classical Arabic and quite different from the Arabic spoken in the western coastal region of Hejaz where the Holy Cities of Mecca and Medina are located and which was long ruled by Egyptians for the Ottomans and was only conquered in the 1920s, with Asir province in the southwest corner where most of the 9/11 participants came from being full of people much closer to Yemenis culturally and ethnically.
Morocco is not too lillogical, but there is ongoing controversy over its taking control of the former Spanish Sahara to its southwest. Egypt is an ancient civilization and nation, but precisely what its borders should be is not obvious, and neighboring Libya was cobbled together out of an eastern part that long identified with Egypt and a western part more oriented to Tunis or Carthage, with the fact that Libya has fallen effectively into two pieces since the fall of Qaddafi not surprising, and something I forecast several times on Econospeak when the whole issue first arose. The line between them is that between the Roman province of Tripolitania in the west and Cyrenaica in the east and when Rome split into its eastern and western halves, their boundary was that line in northern Africa.
Iran has had the boundaries of an older Persia for quite a long time and has avoided full conquest by Europeans, but it only 69% of its population is ethnic Parsi, with its border areas populated by groups that are also dominant across the border in neighboring nations such as Baluchis, Turkmen, Azeris, Kurds, and even Arabs.
I could go on, but I think that will do for now.
By all means, I was not complaining and you made a superlative effort explaining to me. It is a curiosity of mine. I have watched all of these countries which existed pre-WWI reappear along similar boundaries. Thank you.
Boundaries after the Ottoman was kicked over in 1918.
Here is wiki on Sykes-Picot 1916.
I am studying this thesis about the Yemen Arab Republic civil war of 1962 to 1968.
Saudi meddling like in Bhrain and Qatar today.
While prior to WWI Oman had territory in what is now the Balluch areas of Pakistan and Iran……..
The ultimate borders do not correspond to what was in Sykes-Picot, with them ultimately being settled after Versailles. One important difference is that France was supposed to get most of the Mosul Province of the Ottoman Empire, but the Brits got it instead, having troops on the ground as well as interest in the oil there. There were other differences.
As for the 60s Yemen war, that was pretty ugly with reputedly chemical weapons getting used. Fighting between the Saudis and the Yemenis goes back much earlier than that, with the Saudis long wanting to control the Zaydi Shia in northern Yemen, which what this current round of fighting is really about, despite all the whining about supposed Iranian involvement. Two curious details one rarely hears is that Yemenis are the only foreign naitonal group that can freely enter and leave Saudi Arabia without visas and special permission, and a portion of the border between the nations has never been drawn; a proper map willl show an empty space. That area is mostly desert. .
Oh, so the matter of Mosul province is why it ended up as part of Iraq rather than part of Syria.
I read somewhere that bombing “Iraqi villages” from the air was a first attempt at using airplanes for counter insurgency in the early 1920’s…….
The Brits were playing with high tech counter insurgency to avoid losing long before the US.
Victor McLaghlin did a movie The Lost Patrol about desert guerilla war, possibly framed in Mesopotamia.