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US Defense Secretary James Mattis resigns

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dr demented:
https://news.usni.org/2018/12/20/document-secdef-mattis-resignation-letter?fbclid=IwAR0YZTp37EoAcwzgWNr3kZFuGVtCM7xsN6I7V9W1xpBKeolc_6EQGkI5_P0


--- Quote ---Dear Mr. President:
December 20, 2018

I have been privileged to serve as our country’s 26th Secretary of Defense which has allowed me to serve alongside our men and women of the Department in defense of our citizens and our ideals.

I am proud of the progress that has been made over the past two years on some of the key goals articulated in our National Defense Strategy: putting the Department on a more sound budgetary footing, improving readiness and lethality in our forces, and reforming the Department’s business practices for greater performance. Our troops continue to provide the capabilities needed to prevail in conflict and sustain strong U.S. global influence.

One core belief I have always held is that our strength as a nation is inextricably linked to the strength of our unique and comprehensive system of alliances and partnerships. While the US remains the indispensable nation in the free world, we cannot protect our interests or serve that role effectively without maintaining strong alliances and showing respect to those allies. Like you, I have said from the beginning that the armed forces of the United States should not be the policeman of the world. Instead, we must use all tools of American power to provide for the common defense, including providing effective leadership to our alliances. NATO’s 29 democracies demonstrated that strength in their commitment to fighting alongside us following the 9-11 attack on America. The Defeat-ISIS coalition of 74 nations is further proof.

Similarly, I believe we must be resolute and unambiguous in our approach to those countries whose strategic interests are increasingly in tension with ours. It is clear that China and Russia, for example, want to shape a world consistent with their authoritarian model – gaining veto authority over other nations’ economic, diplomatic, and security decisions – to promote their own interests at the expense of their neighbors, America and our allies. That is why we must use all the tools of American power to provide for the common defense.

My views on treating allies with respect and also being clear-eyed about both malign actors and strategic competitors are strongly held and informed by over four decades of immersion in these issues. We must do everything possible to advance an international order that is most conducive to our security, prosperity and values, and we are strengthened in this effort by the solidarity of our alliances.

Because you have the right to have a Secretary of Defense whose views are better aligned with yours on these and other subjects, I believe it is right for me to step down from my position. The end date for my tenure is February 28, 2019, a date that should allow sufficient time for a successor to be nominated and confirmed as well as to make sure the Department’s interests are properly articulated and protected at upcoming events to include Congressional posture hearings and the NATO Defense Ministerial meeting in February. Further, that a full transition to a new Secretary of Defense occurs well in advance of the transition of Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in September in order to ensure stability within the Department.

I pledge my full effort to a smooth transition that ensures the needs and interests of the 2.15 million Service Members and 732,079 DoD civilians receive undistracted attention of the Department at all times so that they can fulfill their critical, round-the-clock mission to protect the American people.

I very much appreciate this opportunity to serve the nation and our men and women in uniform.

(signed)

James N. Mattis
--- End quote ---

adroth:
One by one they go  :(

dr demented:
Mattis was seen by US allies as "the adult in the room" in the Trump Administration.

With Mattis gone, everyone is freaking out.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-mattis-nato/exit-of-trusted-mattis-sparks-concern-among-u-s-allies-idUSKCN1OK10I


--- Quote ---U.S. allies in Asia-Pacific region rattled after Mattis quits
Tom Westbrook, Josh Smith

SYDNEY/SEOUL (Reuters) - The abrupt resignation of U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis sparked concern among Asia-Pacific allies who credit the retired general with building trust and tempering isolationist impulses, regional officials and analysts said on Friday.

The region - which includes strong U.S. allies Japan, South Korea and Australia - hosts some of the world’s most volatile flashpoints, with high tension on the Korean peninsula and China’s militarization of the South China Sea causing friction.

Mattis, who embraced America’s traditional alliances, said he was quitting after falling out with President Donald Trump over foreign policy, including surprise decisions this week to pull troops from Syria and start planning a drawdown in Afghanistan.

“He has generally been referred to as one of the adults in the Trump administration,” Australian government Senator Jim Molan told The Australian newspaper.

He said his departure was concerning because it introduced “another extreme variable” into U.S. decision making.

Mattis has been a vocal critic of China’s increasing presence in the South China Sea but he worked to ensure tensions did not boil over.

“He’s been the point of continuity and the gatekeeper in the administration that they’ve relied on most to temper the instincts of Trump, which are much more, I think, isolationist and clearly highly skeptical ... about alliance commitments,” said foreign policy and security analyst Euan Graham, executive director of La Trobe Asia at Australia’s La Trobe University.

Mattis’ departure also robs Australia, without a U.S. ambassador since 2016, of a key ally in the Trump administration.

“Australia has always had the ear of Mattis,” a U.S.-based diplomatic source told Reuters.

Australia has had roughly 800 troops in the Middle East since 2014, mostly based in Iraq, as part of coalition efforts to combat the Islamic State group.

About 300 troops are based in Afghanistan, where they have had a presence since not long after the war began 17 years ago.

Trump announced on Wednesday that U.S. troops in Syria would be withdrawn, a decision that upended U.S. policy in the region.

A U.S. official said on Thursday Trump was planning to withdraw at least 5,000 of the 14,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan. Mattis had advocated for a strong U.S. military presence to bolster diplomatic peace efforts there.

Adam Mount, defense analyst at the Federation of American Scientists, said Mattis was a steady hand on North Korea and was instrumental in preventing a war.

“Mattis was bailing water out of an alliance being buffeted by an erratic president, an advancing North Korea, and an increasingly assertive China,” Mount said.

“His work kept the alliance afloat but major questions will have to be resolved to keep it strong,” he said.

--- End quote ---

dr demented:
Mattis has been ordered to vacate his post by the end of the year by President Trump.  Deputy Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan has been named Acting Secretary of Defense.

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2018/12/23/donald-trump-james-mattis-stepping-down-january-1/2401617002/


--- Quote ---President Trump orders Defense Secretary James Mattis to leave immediately, names Patrick Shanahan as acting secretary
Bart Jansen, USA TODAY Published 11:56 a.m. ET Dec. 23, 2018

WASHINGTON – Defense Secretary Jim Mattis will leave Jan. 1, rather than the previously announced resignation Feb. 28 because of policy disputes with President Donald Trump.

Mattis announced Thursday he was stepping down Feb. 28 because of disagreements with Trump ranging from Syria to global alliances and sparking deep anxiety among lawmakers about national security.
For his part, Trump increasingly resented the idea that Mattis was viewed as the adult in the room who had to talk to foreign officials about what U.S. policy really was, officials said. The move Sunday was an abrupt change from a conciliatory Trump tweet Saturday, which said he had given Mattis a second chance after his service in the Obama administration.
But Trump tweeted Sunday that Mattis would leave sooner. Trump named Patrick Shanahan, the deputy defense secretary, as acting secretary of defense.

Shanahan will be taking over as acting Defense secretary Jan. 1, Dana White, chief Pentagon spokeswoman said Sunday.

Mick Mulvaney, acting White House chief of staff, said Sunday that relations between Trump and Mattis had been fraying and that it was the right thing for a cabinet secretary to resign if he couldn't serve the president. But Mattis' departure led to widespread criticism from Republicans and Democrats in Congress.

The departure comes at a tumultuous time for the administration. Besides Mattis, other cabinet departures since the midterm election in November include Trump firing Jeff Sessions as attorney general and the resignations of Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and White House Chief of Staff John Kelly.

The announcement capped a turbulent series of events in which Trump abruptly gave notice Wednesday that 2,000 troops would be withdrawn from Syria, the prospect of a partial government shutdown drew closer and financial markets plunged.

In his resignation letter, Mattis, 68, acknowledged his differences with Trump over the need for alliances and bluntly told him that he should choose a different chief for the Defense Department.

“Because you have the right to have a secretary of Defense whose views are better aligned with yours on these and other subjects, I believe it is time for me to step down from my position,” Mattis wrote.
--- End quote ---

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