James MattisSo, I think that we have been engaged in the world for a long time. I think historically the Americans have been reluctant to see themselves in that role. It — we were quite happy between our two oceans to stay there.

The 20th century took us out of that. But at the same time, we recognized, especially the greatest generation we call them, coming home from World War II. What a crummy world if we all retreat inside our own borders. How many people deprived of good lives during the Depression. How many tens of millions of people killed in World War II.

Like it or not, we’re part of the world. That carries through for all the frustrations that are felt in America right now, for the sense that at times we have carried inordinate burden. That is still very deeply rooted in the American psyche, that engagement with the world.

—Secretary of Defense James Mattis

Remarks by Secretary Mattis at Shangri-La Dialogue, June 3, 2017

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