US: James Mattis to step down as defense secretary over differences with Trump

US: President Trump announced Thursday that Defense Secretary Jim Mattis would leave his position in February, marking the departure of an influential figure who has steered the Trump administration toward foreign policy continuity and restraint.

Mattis’s departure could add new uncertainty to which course the administration might take on its global challenges, including Iran and North Korea, amid questions about the pending withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria and a possible drawdown in Afghanistan.

“General Jim Mattis will be retiring, with distinction, at the end of February, after having served my Administration as Secretary of Defense for the past two years,” Trump said in a tweet.

The retired Marine general, 68, had again and again moved to reassure allies unnerved by Trump’s unpredictable pronouncements and argued successfully for continued U.S. commitments in Syria, Afghanistan and other places where military leaders see an ongoing threat.

Source: The Wahington Post