Tuesday, 20 November, 2018

Post-Tillerson US May Take Harder Line on Iran Deal

Post-Tillerson US May Take Harder Line on Iran Deal Post-Tillerson US May Take Harder Line on Iran Deal
Melissa Porter | 16 March, 2018, 01:44

Tillerson, who has advocated a more moderate and diplomatic approach to US foreign policy, was out days later, replaced by CIA Director Mike Pompeo, a Trump loyalist.

He shared no details, and did not mention Trump again.

While State Department officers may be pleased to have a new boss who has the president's ear, they will be watching closely to see if he breaks with Tillerson's much-criticized approach of relying on a tight inner circle of aides and marginalizing many career diplomats. His top economic adviser Gary Cohn, who disagreed with him on trade and other issues, resigned. Cohn resigned March 6.

Curiously, in his 1,132-word farewell address to his former staff at the State Dept., Tillerson did not mention Iran even once.

"The Secretary had every intention of staying because of the critical progress made in national security", the statement said. One of them, Steve Goldstein, was sacked later on Tuesday after he contradicted the White House's version. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the official was not authorized to speak publicly.

Trump's tweet came a few hours after Tillerson returned to the nation's capital after a trip to Africa. Tillerson presided over a dismantling of the US diplomatic corps - upwards of 60 percent of the agency's top career diplomats resigned - and will exit Foggy Bottom without any notable accomplishments.

Tillerson praised US diplomats in Washington and overseas, as well as the USA military. He also said that the United States global campaign of putting maximum pressure on North Korea "exceeded expectations".

The 65-year-old former energy executive highlighted some of what he called "accomplishments under this administration".

The reality is that while North Korea threatens violence, Iran is already instigating or provoking it on considerable scale - in Syria, Lebanon and Yemen and, recently, by flying a drone into Israel from Syria, prompting Israeli reprisals.

Much work remains to establish a clear view of the nature of our future relationship with China.

"Nothing is possible without allies and partners, though", said Tillerson, whose mission included selling a wary world on Trump's "America First" approach to global affairs.

Mr Cohn has now resigned, having lost a power struggle over trade to the America First group who support the president's imposition of tariffs to protect United States industry; Ms Powell has quietly arranged her departure; Mr Tillerson has been sacked and the American media never stop predicting when Gen McMaster will follow him out.

Tillerson continued, "continuing on their current trajectory is likely to lead to greater isolation on their part, a situation which is not in anyone's interest".

Tillerson said he would return to private life as a private citizen.

Back in 2017, the Senate gave quick confirmation to President Donald Trump's national security team and his first secretary of state. Tillerson never fully denied that report. Kono had been "looking forward to working on the North Korea issue" with him.

"I think he's going to have a tough time here", said Sen. White House Spokesperson Raj Shah said Tillerson was informed earlier on last Friday.

"I'm really at a point where we're getting very close to having the cabinet and other things that I want", Trump told reporters at the White House shortly after announcing his new choice for top diplomat.

For one thing, as many observers have noted, it will be hard to credibly persuade Pyongyang to give up its nuclear weapons program even as we're tearing up a comparable deal that the United States and other members of the worldwide community have made with Tehran - a deal aimed at preventing Iran from starting such a program. Countryman, who was assistant secretary of state for worldwide security and nonproliferation, said if Pompeo "has a disdain for diplomacy mirroring Trump's, it will be bad for the department and the country".

"Serving alongside the great men and women of the Central Intelligence Agency, the most dedicated and talented public servants I have encountered, has been one of the great honors of my life".