Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, perhaps the most respected foreign policy official in Trump's administration and seen as a moderating force, will leave his post by the end of February. Withdrawal of US troops from Syria was reportedly the last straw for Secretary Mattis.
The US will begin to pull out 2,000 military troops as President Trump claims victory over the Islamic State in northeastern Syria. The abrupt change in foreign policy will have dramatic consequences on Syria's reconstruction and Turkey's campaign against Kurdish militias.
During a battle of the Philippine-American war in 1901, the US Army reportedly killed thousands of villagers and took three church bells. On Dec. 11, the United States returned the Bells of Balangiga in a symbolic gesture of friendship and understanding.