I’ve generally been pleased with the quality of President-elect Trump’s cabinet nominees. It will be good to have adults in charge of U.S. foreign and national security policy after the eight infantile years of the Obama Administration. However, I must confess to uneasiness, if not concern, about his nomination of Exxon/Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson to be Secretary of State. John Bolton would have been my first choice.
I have no problem with Tillerson being the CEO of a fossil fuel company. After the childish infatuation with green energy over the past eight years, it will be good to have a Secretary of State who recognizes the critical importance of fossil fuels in shaping global security and stability and enhancing global prosperity. It’s also good Trump’s picks to be Secretary of Energy and head of the EPA have keen appreciation for the criticality of fossil fuels and acute skepticism toward climate change hysterics!
I think Tillerson’s corporate experience will enable him to be an effective manager of the State Department’s bureaucracy which has, unfortunately, had the tendency to put the interests of other countries and their leaders ahead of U.S. national interests. It’s also probable that Tillerson has good basic comprehensive knowledge of world affairs which will be strengthened as he receives classified briefings from people at the State Department, National Security Council, Treasury Dept, Defense Dept, and various segments of the intelligence community.
My concerns with Tillerson include his apparent uncritical embrace of the climate change hysterics and whether he has a realistic understanding of the unremitting core geopolitical core antagonism the U.S . has with Vladimir Putin’s Russia. We must also not forget that social issues also affect international affairs. As a leader of the Boy Scouts, Tillerson played a sad role in capitulating to the coercion of the GLBT Waffen SS and let adherents of that group into the Boy Scouts which once was an organization promoting the highest levels of moral virtue among boys. In addition, as Exxon Mobil CEO, Tillerson allowed his company to financially support Planned Parenthood. Various UN entities have decided that evangelically promoting the GLBT agenda and the euphemism “reproductive rights” are essential pillars of international foreign policy despite these beliefs being morally antagonistic to significant portions of the world’s nations including some in strategically important regions to the U.S. To win the support of social conservatives, Tillerson must demonstrate that he and the U.S. will not seek to promote socially libertine behavior as part of U.S. foreign policy and actively work to promote pro-life and pro-traditional family positions on social policy in international forums.
While Tillerson may have had good energy business dealings with Russia and Vladimir Putin, he must now recognize that as our chief diplomat and foreign policy architect that Russia is a growing geopolitical threat to our interests and to those of our European allies. Tillerson must demonstrate that he comprehensively understands the danger of Russia’s Eurasian ideology which is antagonistic to democratic governance, nostalgic for totalitarian ideologies such as Nazism, seeks to promote perpetual conflict with the West, reclaim at least some territory of the former Soviet Union including Ukraine, and adheres to a revived form of Orthodox Nationalism which was prevalent in Tsarist Russia before the 1917 Communist Revolution. Florida Senator Marco Rubio has rightly expressed concern about Tillerson’s positive attitude toward Putin.
To win my support and the support of all geopolitically aware conservatives, Tillerson must demonstrate his unequivocal understanding that Vladimir Putin’s Russia is not a strategic partner but a cunning and ruthless adversary which seeks to coerce Eastern European countries back into Moscow’s orbit and to gain increased strategic influence in the Middle East as demonstrated by its behavior in Syria. Tillerson must also show he understands the close ties between Russia and Iran which have enabled Tehran’s nuclear program, the need to build up strong ballistic missile defense and other military forces in NATO’s Eastern European countries, and that the close level of cooperation between Russia and China does not serve our geopolitical interests. He also must reject the mythology that the Palestinean problem can be solved by further reducing Israeli territory and have the courage to make the long overdue relocation of the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem a reality. Tillerson will, hopefully, work with President Trump to be a bold defender of Israel and aggressively take the offense against Islamist terrorists in all corners of the globe.
Tillerson’s attitude toward Putin and Russia must adapt the words of the Bob Hope song “Thanks for the Memories” and change to a realistic understanding of Russia’s antagonism toward U.S. values and interests and be boldly reflected in succinct and effective articulations of U.S. foreign and national security policy interests during the next four years.