Tuesday, 25 September, 2018

Rex Tillerson Is Fired. Whither US Foreign Policy?

Rex Tillerson Is Fired. Whither US Foreign Policy? Rex Tillerson Is Fired. Whither US Foreign Policy?
Melinda Barton | 14 March, 2018, 11:18

"When you look at the Iran deal, I think it's bad, I guess he thought it's okay".

Trump told reporters Tuesday morning he and Tillerson "have been talking about this for a long time", and they "got along quite well", but they have a different mindset and different thinking. Skabeeva was not the only one speculating that Trump was under Russian control, with numerous president's critics openly questioning whether there was an ulterior motive behind Tillerson's firing.

"I'll now return to private life", he said, "as a private citizen, as a proud American - proud of the opportunity I've had to serve my country".

"The next secretary of state faces a number of pressing challenges overseas, particularly Russian Federation and North Korea", Collins said. Tillerson will remain secretary in name until March 31, when he formally resigns his commission.

"Trump is ours!" a Russian state journalist declared after Donald Trump's controversial decision to fire Secretary of State Rex Tillerson just hours after Tillerson publicly criticized Russia for allegedly attacking an ex-spy in the United Kingdom using a military-grade nerve agent. Thank you to Rex Tillerson for his service! Hours later, he was sacked, too.

In the hours before his sacking, he also said Russia's alleged poisoning, in public, on foreign soil could "certainly will trigger a response" from the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (Nato).

"She does bring continuity after Pompeo", said the former senior intelligence official, noting the two were in accord on strengthening the agency's counterterrorism operations.

Some said Washington may take a harder line under Pompeo and the Europeans may be under more pressure to offer concessions, while others suggested his views on the deal have evolved and he may be better placed to influence Trump to keep it. Tillerson canceled his entire schedule that Saturday in Ethiopia, with the State Department telling reporters he was sick.

Then there was the flap over Tillerson allegedly calling Trump a "moron".

The US President has publicly undercut Tillerson's diplomatic initiatives many times, including this week when the former Secretary of State's comments about Russian Federation appeared at odds with those of the White House.

Trump's change puts Pompeo, an ardent foe of the Iran nuclear deal, in charge of US diplomacy as the president decides whether to withdraw the USA from the agreement.

No doubt that was true, one prime example being the agreement to restrict Iran's nuclear efforts.

"I wanted to either break it or do something, and he felt a little bit differently", Trump said.

Tillerson was seen as a rare member of the Trump administration who was vocally supportive of talks with North Korea, which sometimes put him at odds with Trump.

It's no secret that Tillerson and Trump had a combative relationship. The State Department's attempt to undermine the White House on Iran appears to be the straw that broke the proverbial camel's back. I am surprised he lasted as long as he did.

Known for his blunt-talking style, Pompeo has already been confirmed by the Senate for his current role at the Central Intelligence Agency, making it likely that he will be confirmed for the State Department role. Trump tweeted, "He will do a fantastic job!" He must be confirmed by the Senate. He might indeed make a fine secretary of State - that is assuming he chooses to exhibit more spine than his predecessor and actually restore and replenish the diplomatic foot soldiers that this nation depends on to carry out the mission around the world. Just hours before that announcement, however, Mr Tillerson had said that the U.S. was a "long ways from negotiation".

The personnel change comes as the White House prepares for a summit between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in the coming months - set to be the first-ever meeting between a sitting US president and a North Korean leader.

Trump says he and Pompeo have a "very, very similar thought process".

Donald Trump at campaign rally in Pennsylvania at the weekend.