Defense Secretary Jim Mattis recently unveiled a new Pentagon strategy for national security. It removes any mention of climate change as a threat, deprioritizes counter-terror efforts, and instead aggressively pursues a massive arms race with both Russia and China.
It also calls for an astronomical spending increase at a time when the country's defense budget is larger than the next eight biggest nations' budgets — combined.
With the context of this year's State of the Union, it seems clear that the Trump administration is marching toward war on the Korean Peninsula. Trump's words regarding North Korea closely echoed Bush's case for the invasion of Iraq. However, many believe this will spill into a greater nuclear conflict.
This isn't a necessary conflict. North Korea has recently shown an unprecedented interest in diplomacy. Next week, North and South Korea will participate in the Olympics under a unified flag and integrated teams. Tensions have lowered dramatically.
This extremely aggressive stance is exactly why law requires the Secretary of Defense to be a civilian, at least seven years removed from active duty. This law was waived for Mattis' appointment.
Shockingly, Mattis was approved in a nearly unanimous 98-1 vote and still enjoys bipartisan support. Recently, Josh Welle, a Democratic Congressional candidate for NJ's District 4, stated "General Mattis is keeping the [Department of Defense] on track."
Our militaristic defense priorities are backwards. We continue feeding the bipartisan military-industrial complex, while ignoring the basic needs of our people and the planet. And it's going to get us all killed.