Each year, Time Magazine unveils their list of the 100 most influential people on the planet, per their estimations.  The list often includes people ranging from heads of state to heads of businesses, as well as celebrities with significant social leverage.  Not everyone included on the list always has first name recognition in the minds of the American public, but their influence can be felt throughout the world.

The list is, of course, subjective – and Time Magazine actually addresses that in their explanation of this year’s listees.  They claimed that in previous years, they had a social gathering in mind, wherein the most important people in our world would theoretically meet and mingle, and they believed, possibly even get along.  Of course, the intent wasn’t specifically to actually throw this “dinner party,” but they saw it as more of an interesting mental exercise.  This year, however, Time claims the world’s politics have driven a divisive edge between many people on the planet, and their list reflects that: listing heads of state marred in conflict with one another like Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un, as well as individual citizens that found themselves in the spotlight of America’s ongoing social debates about race, gender identity, and poverty.

Time asks important people of note, usually with direct experience with the listees, to write brief explanations of the people and their influence on the world.  Robert Gates, former Secretary of Defense under Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush, took to the pen to provide a brief glimpse into one of this year’s 100 Most Influential People: current Secretary of Defense, James Mattis.

Mattis amassed a cult following among Marines during his time in the Corps, and even briefly considered a presidential run himself.  Noted as a scholar that doesn’t mince his words, Mattis’ nickname of “Mad Dog” has been questioned in Congress and by the media, prompting him to often suggest that it wasn’t of his choosing, and may not be entirely accurate.  Instead, a different nickname he’s earned in uniform may be more fitting: the Warrior Monk.

Here is Robert Gates’ take on Mattis, as published by Time Magazine:

Jim Mattis is a worthy successor to the only previous general officer to serve as Secretary of Defense, General George C. Marshall. Mattis shares Marshall’s deep knowledge of history, his strategic vision, his appreciation of both America’s national interests and its values, his tough-mindedness about policies and people, and his integrity. Like Marshall, Mattis is also unafraid to speak truth to power.

As Secretary of Defense, I recommended Jim Mattis to take charge of both Joint Forces Command and Central Command. His tasks were challenging: he had to dismantle the former, and he oversaw the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. But I never worried about him sugarcoating his message to me or others.

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Finally, Jim Mattis loves the troops. He will do what is necessary to protect the country, and he will care for our men and women in uniform as if they were his own children.”

 

Image courtesy of the Associated Press