December 14, 2018

New US Secretary of State Unlikely to Improve Relations with Russian Federation

14 March 2018, 07:47 | Devin Moran

Trump's CIA pick is career spymaster who oversaw secret prison

Donald Trump dumps Rex Tillerson as secretary of state

The climate science and policy community was taken aback when President Donald Trump nominated Rex Tillerson, then the head of ExxonMobil, to take over the State Department in January 2017. She drafted the order to destroy the videos even after the White House instructed the Central Intelligence Agency not to do so. A former senior official of the State Department told me recently that Tillerson was expected to announce his departure around the first anniversary of his swearing-in, on February 1.

On the other hand, unlike Tillerson, Mike Pompeo is very close to Trump's thinking on these issues.

The absence of USA diplomacy in the past 15 months is not a Tillerson problem as much as it is a White House problem.

Indeed, the evidence is that the agreement is working, which is why Trump wants to destroy it.

Sounding breathless and looking shaken, Tillerson said he had spoken to the President to ensure clarity in the days ahead.

Tillerson himself, his voice occasionally quavering, gave brief farewell remarks at the State Department, thanking department staff and diplomats around the world - but not mentioning Trump except to say that he'd spoken by phone to the president Tuesday while Trump was on Air Force One, hours after the tweeted firing.

"Just judge that and look at her entire record, that's all I ask", he said.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Piskov said that Russian Federation is hoping for a "constructive" approach from the United States. One thing is sure; we have not heard the end of the behind-the-scenes decision to fire Tillerson and its connection with Trump's policies towards Russian Federation.

"We disagreed on things", Trump told White House reporters after the news broke.

The firing of Tillerson and Goldstein shows that the State Department remains under siege by the White House until further notice.

The Trump approach has been one of uncertainty and unpredictability and certainly we will see a little bit of the same in Pompeo taking over State Department.

Speculation that Tillerson would be fired grew last fall with the reports of his "moron" insult, which the secretary state never personally denied. "There's nobody to be a check and balance on Trump". Institutional and personal rivalries are common in the USA bureaucracy; however, the president typically remains above the fray.

There was no immediate official reaction in Asia, partly because of the timing of Trump's announcement - late evening in China, Japan and the Korean Peninsula, where news of his intended meeting with the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, is still sinking in.

Tillerson dismissed the notion as "laughable" as Pompeo remained silent.

Tillerson had criticised Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain and Egypt for severing diplomatic and trade ties with Qatar in June past year from the very beginning.

Pompeo said his goal as America's spymaster was to create a culture that says: "If you are in a process and you're not adding value, get out of the way". "No one has a stronger relationship with President Trump than Mike Pompeo".

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. Now, it may be a different ballgame.

The list of White House evacuees is really long, but "just because they're gone, it doesn't mean they have to be forgotten", Kimmel said.

"If Tillerson was a speed bump for our worldwide cooperation on climate, Pompeo could be a wrecking ball", said Jean Su, an attorney with the Center for Biological Diversity's Climate Law Institute, in a statement.

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