Tillerson is a Superb Choice for Secretary of State.
On Tuesday, Donald Trump announced that his choice for secretary of state will be Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson. This selection signifies a sharp difference in direction from administrations in the past and is proof that American foreign policy under a Trump administration will be focused around building solid partnerships with other nations to resolve conflicts around the world. During the presidential election, Trump campaigned that America’s role should not be the world’s policeman but should serve more as a mediating role to promote freedom and commerce around the world. Tillerson is a superb choice to implement Trump’s foreign policy objectives.
As head of a multi-national corporation, Tillerson has had solid experience dealing with governments across the world. Former Secretary of State James Baker gave Tillerson a ringing endorsement, “As CEO, head of one of the world’s largest and best-run companies, he (Tillerson) has demonstrated the management and also negotiating skills and has the international experience that are required for the job, Further, I am confident he will understand the global challenges facing the United States and has the intellect to address them.”
It was another former secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice, who recommended Tillerson to Mike Pence. Immediately after the announcement, Rice released the statement, “I know Rex as a successful businessman and a patriot. He will represent the interests and the values of the United States with resolve and commitment and he will lead the exceptional men and women of the state department with respect and dedication.”
The search for a secretary of state was exhausting. There were several leading contenders including former CIA director and CENTCOM commander General David Petraeus, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani and 2012 Republican nominee Governor Mitt Romney. Petraeus’s main issue was his mishandling of classified information while as CIA director. Giuliani, a favorite of Trump loyalists, withdrew his name from consideration. For a while, Romney was the top contender for the role and in matter of fact, he met with the president-elect twice. However, many Trump loyalists protest that choice because of Romney’s sharp criticism of Trump’s campaign back during the election. It was only within the last week that Tillerson’s name started to circulate around as a potential contender for head of the state department.
Rex Wayne Tillerson is from Wichita Falls, Texas. He graduated from Huntsville High School and went on to graduate from the University of Texas at Austin with a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering. He started working at Exxon back in 1975. When Exxon merged with Mobil, Tillerson became an executive vice president for the new Exxon Mobil. Seven years later, he was elected chairman and CEO of the corporation and has served in that role since.
Unfortunately, there are concerns over Tillerson’s ties to Russia and that country’s president, Vladimir Putin. Tillerson and Putin became acquainted with one another during the presidency of the late Boris Yeltsin. Under Tillerson’s chairmanship, Exxon Mobil signed an agreement with Russia to drill in the Arctic. Due to the close relationship between Putin and him, Tillerson was awarded the Russian Order of Friendship in 2013.
Although it is very likely that Tillerson will be confirmed by the Senate, the nomination is receiving criticism from the newly elected president’s own party. With allegations floating around that Russia was behind the hacking of the Democratic National Committee, some have expressed concerns over the Tillerson pick due to his cozy relationship with Putin. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) tweeted that “being a friend of Vladimir Putin is not an attribute I am hoping from a secretary of state.”
However, the selection of Tillerson as secretary of state is a superb way to thawing the cold relationship that the United States has had with Russia in recent years. It is proof that a Trump administration is willing to do the groundwork to build partnerships in the world community. As head of Exxon Mobil, a company that operates in two-hundred countries around the world, Rex Tillerson has the practical knowledge dealing with multiple nations. That experience will serve him and the nation well in his role as our chief diplomat.