Published: Fri, January 04, 2019
World Media | By Shelia Harmon

Trump gives new Pentagon chief Shanahan a taste of his world view

Trump gives new Pentagon chief Shanahan a taste of his world view

In fact, Mattis tendered his resignation in response to Trump's announcement that he would withdraw all 2,000 USA troops deployed to Syria within the next several months.

After a string of policy clashes over the past almost two years, Mr. Mattis resigned abruptly in the wake of Mr. Trump's order late last month to withdraw all 2,000 USA forces now deployed to Syria, and slash the 14,000 US forces in Afghanistan by half in the coming year, citing in part the strain Mr. Trump's policies have placed on America's allies.

"As you know, President Obama fired him, and essentially so did I", Mr. Trump told reporters of Mr. Mattis' departure.

Mattis had strongly held beliefs about maintaining and respecting allies, which he cited in his resignation letter to Trump. It said what it described as a senior Defense Department official confirmed Webb's name had been circulating at the White House. Mattis and other Trump advisers tried unsuccessfully to persuade Trump to stay in Syria long enough to ensure that the Islamic State group, which has largely been defeated on the battlefield, can not regroup.

Shanahan, who had served as deputy to Mattis since July 2017, is a career business executive with no prior government or military experience. "And it is really important that we find ways to maintain the security architecture of the Pacific Rim", he said.

Mattis had planned to stay as Pentagon chief through Feb 28 to ensure a smooth transition but Trump announced on Dec 23 that he will have a new secretary by Jan 1.

A Vietnam veteran, Webb briefly registered on the 2016 campaign's media radar when asked who he was most proud to have as an enemy, answering "I would have to say the enemy soldier that threw the grenade that wounded me, but he's not around right now to talk to".

In that context, Shanahan said the Pentagon leaders should remember, "China, China, China", according to one official, who was not authorized to publicly discuss internal defense meetings and spoke on condition of anonymity.

Shanahan told key Defense Department staff to focus on the National Defense Strategy, a broad review that highlights a new era of "Great Power competition" with Russian Federation and China.

The Trump administration has had a rocky relationship with China.

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