“Be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everyone you meet”. This is the advice General James Mattis used to give to the US Marines going on a mission. They thought the commander, who they had affectionately nicknamed “Mad Dog”, was just great.
Gen Mattis has been made Defence Secretary by Donald Trump, who has also appointed Lieutenant General Michael Flynn as his National Security Advisor. Two other generals, David Petraeus and John Kelly, have been seen by the President-elect for possible jobs in his administration.
This infuses a distinct military hue to the people the President-elect is gathering around him. It may be that reality TV star Trump, who dodged the Vietnam draft, has a fascination for men of action. But it has given rise to the thought that his presidency may be intrinsically hawkish on a number of policies. This may not necessarily be the case: the presence of the commanders may actually moderate the stance of the coming Presidency on a number of important issues.