Even measured against the standards of US President Donald Trump's first two years, it has been a turbulent week in DC, as lawmakers, pundits and experts scramble to find an underlying pattern to the consistently off-the-cuff foreign policy moves made by the current White House.
"I don't see any chance for Trump resigning, unless there were some impeachment proceedings, the way Richard Nixon did when he resigned," noted executive director of the Washington office of the International Institute for Strategic Studies Mark Fitzpatrick, cited by Dw.com.
"Resigning would be an admission of defeat for a man who insists on winning, winning, winning," Fitzpatrick remarked, adding, "I don't think we can expect a Trump resignation as a solution to the growing concerns people have."
Mattis, viewed as one of the last holdouts to Trump's ‘yes-men' cabinet, was seen as an anchor slowing down what are viewed as increasingly impetuous moves by the US president, typically by tweet and often in the early hours of the morning, according to CNN.
World leaders new to the game, including Trump — a reality-television and beauty-pageant producer with no political experience — ordinarily take a little time to decide how to run their administrations, eventually settling in with the right people and implementing workable policies, but, according to many, Trump's methodology appears to be chaos.
"All the changes Trump has made are to get rid of the grown-ups in the room and bring in the children," asserted conservative politics scholar Norman Ornstein of the American Enterprise Institute, cited by Deutsche Welle.
In a rambling and contentious interview with the Washington Post just last month, Trump declared that "my gut tells me more sometimes than anybody else's brain can ever tell me."
The idea of making gut instinct more important than the recommendations of experienced foreign policy leaders like Mattis is what has many in the international community worried,
"Frankly, that gigantic gut does not have a lot of intelligence, depth or sensitivity to the larger consequences of actions," stated Ornstein, adding that "it's time to be afraid," cited by Dw.com.
While experts are agreed that it is fortunate that the Trump administration has not yet had to address a major national security crisis, most agree that one is likely.
"Whoever will be secretary of defense will be concerned not to see a world war launched," observed Fitzpatrick.
Fitzpatrick, a nuclear security specialist alongside his other duties, affirmed that, "Although Trump has an individual ability to start a war and to launch nuclear weapons, there are other people involved who will try to steer him in the right direction should he go crazy."