Mattis Points to 'Increasing Contempt' and 'Growing Debt' As Major National Security Threats

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By Susan Jones | September 9, 2019 | 5:35 AM EDT

Former Defense Secretary Gen. James Mattis is now on a tour to promote his new book. (Photo: Screen capture)

( - "What is the biggest national security threat?" Margaret Brennan, the host of CBS's "Face the Nation," asked former Defense Secretary Gen. James Mattis on Sunday.

He said one of the threats is external, while the other is internal:

I think the biggest national security threat can be broken into two segments.

One is external. And, clearly, those nations, Russia and China, that are trying to impose their authoritarian models and decisions over other countries, whether it be in the South China Sea or in the Ukraine, in parts of Georgia that Russia has occupied, they've mucked around in our elections.

So, externally, I would look at those two. And that's why we rewrote the national defense strategy to acknowledge the reality of those nations, not the nations we wanted to be dealing with, but Russia of Putin, the reality, the...China of President Xi.

But, internally, my bigger concern is twofold. It's -- it's our growing debt that we're going to transfer to the younger generation, with seeming no fiscal discipline. And more than that, it's the -- it's the lack of friendliness.

It's the increasing contempt I see between Americans who have different opinions. I mean, we're going to have to sit down and remember, if we want this country to survive, we're going to have to work together, and that there's no way around that. That's the way a democracy is set up.

So, I would -- I would break it into those two fundamental different threats right now.



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