MOSCOW, December 21. /TASS/. Chairman of the Russian Federation Council’s (upper house of parliament) Foreign Affairs Committee Konstantin Kosachev has said that the departure of US Secretary of Defense James Mattis is a positive signal for Russia, since Mattis was far more hawkish on Russia and China than US President Donald Trump.
Kosachev wrote on his Facebook page on Friday that Mattis and Trump had dissenting views on some fundamental issues, including Washington’s approach towards those countries whose strategic interests were out of sync with America’s, that is namely, China and Russia. "According to the defense secretary, that approach should be firm and unshakable," he noted.
Besides, Mattis and Trump disagreed on Washington’s relations with its allies, the senator added.
"One can thus draw a conclusion that Trump deviated from Mattis’ stance as far as attitude towards Washington’s allies, relations with Russia and China and a reduction of America’s presence abroad are concerned. It is not for nothing that he considered Mattis to be ‘somewhat of a democrat.’ This is indeed closer to the Democratic Party’s line," Kosachev noted.
In his view, Trump considered the continuation of the chosen course to be "more important than keeping James Mattis at his post." "That’s an interesting signal, and a more positive [than negative] one at that," Kosachev concluded.
On December 20, Trump tweeted that Mattis would retire in late February, adding "a new secretary of defense will be named shortly." Mattis said in his resignation letter that he was quitting because of a difference in opinion between himself and the US commander-in-chief.