Saturday, July 11, 2015

Go go Fightin' Joe

Marine Corps Commandant General Joseph F. "Fighting Joe" Dunford Jr. is currently fighting one of first major political battles in the upper house of the United States congress. His aim is to be confirmed by the Senate as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff [CJCOS], the highest ranking military position in the U.S. Armed Forces.

During his confirmation hearings Dunford did discuss ISIS and North Korea as threats but suggested a close eye be kept on China. As for the Middle-East, he described Iran as "the most destabilising element" in the region and "clearly a malign influence."

Dunford was explicitly asked what he thought was the primary existential against the United States and the General was quick to unequivocally respond: 

 "Russia presents the greatest threat to our national security." 

Dunford told committee Chairman John McCain that as it had a large nuclear arsenal, was destabilising Ukraine and a threat to NATO nations on its borders, Russia presents a significant challenge to the U.S. and that it would be "reasonable" for the United States to provide sophisticated anti-tank and artillery assistance to the Ukrainian government in response to the situation in eastern Ukraine.

The view that Russia was the greatest threat was in fact one of Mitt Romney's claims during his presidential bid in 2012 and decried by Barack Obama as outdated, but this was obviously before the Crimea annexation. While Dunford is Obama's pick as CJCOS, senior White House officials were quick to point out that General Dunford's opinions are his own and not those of the administration.

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