Secretary of Defense James Mattis stepped down on Thursday, notifying President Trump in a letter that he believes someone should be in the role whose "views are better aligned with yours" when it comes to international alliances and partnerships.
Mattis submitted the letter one day after Trump announced the Islamic State has been defeated and he wants to pull all U.S. troops from Syria, much to the delight of Russia. In his letter, Mattis said one "core belief" he's 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 U.S. 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."
He also believes the United States "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."
Allies must be treated with respect and the U.S. "must do everything possible to advance an international order that is most conducive to our security, prosperity, and values," Mattis continued, and because he is of the opinion that Trump has "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." His final day will be Feb. 28, 2019. Read the entire letter below. Catherine Garcia