Top Marine commander preps US troops for ‘big-a** fight’

During a holiday visit with US troops based in Norway last week, the Commandant of the Marine Corps offered a grim prognosis for the prospect of peace in the coming year, saying a “big ass fight” could be on the horizon, according to

Speaking to 300 US troops stationed at the Norwegian Home Guard base on the importance of readiness during peacetime, General Robert Neller said, “I hope I’m wrong, but there’s a war coming. You’re in a fight here, an informational fight, a political fight, by your presence.”

Future points of conflict could include Russia and the Pacific, according to Neller, whose comments were reported by

General Robert Neller, the Marine Corps commandant (screengrab)

“I think probably the focus, the intended focus is not on the Middle East,” said the general during the town hall-style forum. “The focus is more on the Pacific and Russia.”

“The problem is, we may not be interested in the Middle East, but they seem to be fascinated with us,” said Neller. “And as long as there are groups there that threaten the United States, there will have to be some presence.”

While President Trump has sought better relations with Russian President Vladimir Putin, US diplomats and intelligence analysts have long believed that Russia actively works against American interests, and Trump’s new “America First” national security strategy reflects that view.

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“Through modernized forms of subversive tactics, Russia interferes in the domestic political affairs of countries around the world,” the document reads. “Russia uses information operations as part of its offensive cyber efforts to influence public opinion across the globe. Its influence campaigns blend covert intelligence operations and false online personas with state-funded media, third-party intermediaries, and paid social media users or ‘trolls.'”

Defense Secretary James Mattis has echoed similar sentiments of late, telling US soldiers in Fort Bragg on Friday that “storm clouds are gathering” over Korea.

“My fine young soldiers, the only way our diplomats can speak with authority and be believed is if you’re ready to go,” said Mattis during a pre-holiday tour last week.

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