Whatever one thinks about the man in the Oval Office, and opinions widely vary on that subject, most can agree that the United States Military is in good hands with Secretary of Defense James Mattis. The tough-talking Marine has a keen grasp on strategic reality and has the ability to penetrate them fog to get at what needs to be done. He proved this when he sat down for an interview on “Face the Nation.”

America still supports NATO

German Chancellor Angela Merkel snarkily suggested that American is no longer a reliable ally, by which she means that Trump disagrees with her on climate change and immigration.

Mattis was pleased to disagree when it comes to things that matter, ranging from terrorism from ISIS, to a possible insurgency in Turkey, to the developing threat from Russia. Despite what some commentators have suggested, we are not in a post-NATO world yet despite the president’s view that certain allies should pay more for their own defense.

A Second Korean War would be a catastrophe

When Mattis said that any conflict in Korea would be a catastrophe he was not saying anything anyone did not know. North Korea is not only refining its nuclear arsenal but is hell bent on getting missiles capable of delivering mushroom clouds as far as way as The United States. The problem is that North Korea has Seoul, the capital of South Korea, under an impressive force of artillery and missiles and could level the place at will.

At the same time, North Korea cannot be permitted to have a nuclear arsenal that it can strike an enemy with.

‘Annihilation tactics’ against ISIS

Mattis was a little bit more optimistic where it came to the war against ISIS. The United States and her allies have abandoned the strategy embarked upon by the Obama administration of degrading and defeating the terrorist army.

Now the coalition means to surround ISIS forces and annihilate them. No one is going to escape the Middle Eastern battlefields to slither into Europe and North America to wreck revenge and mayhem. The new strategy has some risks, but it may avoid more massacres such as what recently happened in Manchester.

What keeps Mattis awake at night

Of course the above is a trick question. Nothing keeps “Mad Dog” James Mattis awake at night. It is his job to keep the enemies of our Republic awake at night. To the extent that the secretary of defense does so, Mattis will have begun to repair the tattered strategic position of the United States.