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Secretary Of State Rex Tillerson–Cagey Or Powerless?

March 12, 2017

At this rate Secretary of State Rex  Tillerson will bypass former Secretary of State William Rogers (President Nixon era) for being a potted plant and allowing the White House to call the shots.  While it is early in the Trump Administration the fact is Tillerson has been a blank slate and seemingly molded by others with lots less clout than he has on the international scene.   Perhaps there is a keen mind at work and ready to pounce on the international scene, but from what has happened thus far the Steve Bannon mentality has taken over the White House.

Rogers was, all but in name, replaced by National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger.    That Nixon and Kissinger were two insightful and intelligent drivers of foreign policy made such an arrangement constructive.   But with Trump having no political or diplomatic background and Bannon nothing more than a prickly nationalist makes for a very shaky foundation for international policy-making.   Unless Tillerson can make a showing–and soon–that he has not only the title but the reins and power in his hands there will be much for us to worry about.

Mr. Tillerson has skipped every opportunity to define his views or give guidance to American diplomats abroad, limiting himself to terse, scripted statements, taking no questions from reporters and offering no public protest when the White House proposed cutting the State Department budget by 37 percent without first consulting him.

He suffered in silence, State Department officials said, when President Trump called, in a matter-of-fact way, to reject Mr. Tillerson’s choice for deputy secretary of state. He has been absent from the White House meetings with key world leaders, and when the State Department issued its annual report on human rights — usually a major moment for the United States to stand up against repression around the world — he skipped the announcement.

 

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