Mattis was introduced by former Senators Sam Nunn (D-Georgia) and William Cohen (D-Maine), who also served as Defense Secretary under Bill Clinton.
The general’s nickname of ‘Mad Dog’ a “misnomer,” Cohen said. “It should be Braveheart,” he said, adding that Mattis is not only a courageous warrior but a scholar of military history, with an extensive collection of books.
“Our Armed Forces must remain the best led, best equipped, and most ready force in the world,” Mattis told the lawmakers.
“We must also embrace our international alliances and security partnerships. History is clear: nations with strong allies thrive and those without them wither.”
“My watchwords will be solvency and security in providing for the protection of our people and the survival of our freedoms,” Mattis said.
The US should not be turning to military power as the answer to all of its concerns around the world, the retired Marine general added.
“America has two fundamental powers. One is intimidation,” Mattis told Senator Gary Peters (D-Michigan). “The other power, which we’ve used less in the last 20 years, is the power of inspiration.”
Russia and other enemies
Chairman of the committee, Senator John McCain (R-Arizona), questioned Mattis on his opinion of how much threat Russia represents.
The world order is “under biggest attacks since WW2, from Russia, terrorist groups, and China’s actions in the South China Sea,” Mattis told McCain, agreeing with the bellicose senator that Russia is trying to break up NATO.