Trump's Secretary of State Pick: What Every American Should Know About Rex Tillerson
By Robert Charles | FoxNews.com --
Trump has done it again. Bang. Another fascinating, deep, insightful choice – Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson for Secretary of State. What should every American know about this selection? A few things they may not have heard yet.
Exxon’s Chairman and CEO, Rex Tillerson is another novel choice, as edgy in diplomacy as he is proven in business. What do we know about Tillerson? What does what we know tell us about Tillerson’s prospects for diplomatic success? Much and much. First, an engineer by trade, he is an accomplished manager. That is two legs up on most of the State Department.
Tillerson has managed Exxon’s holdings in Russia and the Caspian Sea for almost two decades. That alone suggests potential negotiating depth needed to resolve the Ukraine/Crimea problem with Russia, emphasis on economic variables and mutually agreed geopolitical and sovereignty considerations. The wider world would celebrate it – as Americans should.
What else is knowable and what might it mean for American diplomacy? Tillerson’s age and depth in global “big picture” and “big power” sensitivities may, in fact, dovetail exceptionally well with former General Officers likely to lead Defense, Homeland Security, and the National Security Council. Those who have been around the block, albeit in different directions, tend to know the block.
Tillerson’s ties include time with the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Business Roundtable and Business Council, which augur in favor of balance when it comes to preserving pro-American international trade relationships – and avoiding any sudden tips toward runaway protectionism. He is obviously close to Russia, but in an age where strains and miscommunication have been the hallmark of American diplomacy, with Russia and the world, there is room for improvement in that relationship, as there is with others globally.
And here is another unheralded bonus. Anyone who has spent time on the 7th floor of the U.S. State Department (and I have), knows that being Secretary of State is about one-on-ones, personal and unblinking, detailed and bilateral connectivity. That is how you get results in diplomacy, whether on that floor or flying around the world.
John Foster Dulles used to command attention – and get significant results – with presence and wit, focus on person and detail. Colin Powell did the same thing. One-on-one is where proverbial rubber meets road, where trust forges agreements, and the agreements do not get broken.