U.S. Secretary of Defense via Flickr

Former U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has received a lot of blowback for recently co-authoring a piece in Foreign Affairs magazine titled “Defense in Depth,” where he argues for removing President Trump’s signature mantra “America First” from its national security content. Among his critics is U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo who called Mattis “dead wrong” on this.

Though Mattis was instrumental in developing Trump’s National Security Strategy in 2017, he and his co-authors now write that “In practice, ‘America first’ has meant ‘America alone.”

The article’s authors include establishment experts such American Enterprise Institute Director of Foreign and Defense Policy Studies Kori Schake, Hoover Institution fellow and former Commander of U.S. Strategic Command Jim Ellis, and Hoover Institution fellow Joe Felter. They add that, “That has damaged the country’s ability to address problems before they reach U.S. territory and has thus compounded the danger emergent threats pose.”

How Trump’s policies actually did this is left rather vague.

Mathis, et al. conclude by stating their hope that Joe Biden “will quickly revise the national security strategy to eliminate ‘America first’ from its contents, restoring in its place the commitment to cooperative security that has served the United States so well for decades.”

While this has been a persistent criticism of Trump’s foreign policy from Never-Trumpers of all stripes, it has been, at best, less than accurate, and at worst, highly misleading.

In an interview on Fox News, Pompeo said, “I have a lot of respect for Jim, but he’s just dead wrong on that,” adding that he takes “great umbrage” at the suggestion of “America first” meaning “America alone.”

“I would tell you our Japanese colleagues, our South Korean colleagues, our Indian colleagues, our Australian colleagues, all know that the [Obama administration] pivot to Asia was a joke but that the United States under President Trump actually delivered real benefits to them,” he continued.

“‘America First’ has been at its heart, a recognition that when America is secure at home, when America does good things for our own economy, for our own prosperity, that America will be a force for good,” Pompeo said.

When asked by Brett Baier about his greatest foreign policy concern about the next administration, Pompeo said plainly, “I know some of these folks, they took a very different view, they lived in a bit of a fantasy world. They led from behind, they appeased. I hope they will choose a different course.”

In reality, the choice may really be between the Trump policy of America First, or a return to the Obama-Biden policy of America Last.

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of AmericanActionNews.com.


  1. It should always be America first, It is hard to believe Mattis went so far in his career if he truly believed otherwise. Not to mention he has taken an oath many time over to protect and defend.

  2. Mattis is a part of 40% military communist and part of the 85% military leadership communist traitors that should pay the ultimate price for their treachery!

  3. Mattis is another old liberal who needs to just go away and live his retirement out. The mind seems to go with those demorat libs.

  4. I still don’t count President Trump out. Exactly, it should be America first. To my mind it WILL BE America first! If it has to be up to the people to get that done, so be it. Amen III%

  5. This is a problem with military folks. They spend so much time out fighting, while being away from their family, they forget what they’re fighting for. “That their family is safe & secure”. Christian ethic on our priorities are God, Spouse, Family, Friends, Neighbors, Community, Country & by extension the World but if you mix those up then you are less the man for it. If we can’t care for those closest to us then we haven’t earned the right to “care” for others.

  6. As long as it is your son or daughter not theirs the military – industrial complex and its allies in the deep state and media are all for war and the resulting dollars in their pockets.

  7. He is not correct until Obama came to USA and corrupted the government as an illegally elected president, It was always america first. Obama is the traitor that sent this government into the abyss.

  8. A major concern of mine is the far left high ranks in our milatary. the Pentagon is a roost for big birds apparently replacating our thanksgiving bird…

  9. Mattis may be a general, but I never cared for his beliefs. I think he doesn’t really have America as his first concern and that it has always been about him. Not Country first as it should be when in his position.

  10. America First is the view that without strengthening the country socially, economically and politically, we are vulnerable to those who wish our destruction. Just like a mother must be strong for her children, the country’s leaders must be strong to be the caregivers and protectors of its citizens.

  11. True to the left’s ability to change the meaning of words they give us “lead from behind”. In the era before the age of “depends what the meaning of is is” “lead from behind” meant following.
    It leads one to wonder what these next 4 years will bring.

  12. of course-america first- why is it even a question at all-where is everyones common sense-i know it has already escaped the biden people

  13. If the Supreme Court rejects Trump’s law suits it means the Rich and powerful have won. They rule us through the News media and we are mere puppets, peons, serfs, tenants, Slaves Without Chains. How much straw do we get to make bricks with master Satan? How many hours a day must we work? Do we have to bow down each day and do obeisance? Have mercy Bill, Zucker, Jack, and the rest of you $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ BILLIONAIRES $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ we know you the boss, and we the Hoss. Yes, the Senate, the House, the Supreme Court, and through election fraud even the Oval Office. Please have mercy……..because Christ is watching and he just may delete your name from his Lamb’s Book of Life? When all is said and done, he is our Ace in the Hole. And he is mightier than all of you rolled up into one.

  14. Oboma? I agree he took it further, but I blame Clinton. At the end of his terms-beginning of Bush’s you could not find anything but China in the stores. I was bought up never to buy from a communist country but by 2000 it was impossible not to. I agree with Pompeo. We were great under Reagan and took a great stand against our enemies. Your not alone with like minded nations and I don’t want to be around my enemies.

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