Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Rex Tillerson

My Zimbio  Should Donald Trump appoint the CEO of Exxon to be the next Secretary of State?  An engineer by training, Rex Tillerson may not have the formal  history and foreign policy training we might expect for a Secretary of State.  However, his roles  in Russia and Yemen for Exxon, and other roles including the most senior at that company, mean that Tillerson has a practitioner's perspective in parts of the globe where most people are (at best) tourists.

Those concerned that Rex might not have the human rights and environmental perspectives needed from a US  secretary of state may have valid concerns.  Presumably confirmation hearings will flesh out the man's perspectives in these areas, and we expect his responses to questioning will not be cavalier.

All the top cabinet picks Trump has revealed thus far are white men.   What about Carly Fiorini?  Ben Carson?  Other highly qualified people (Republicans?) who might communicate Trump's intent to make things better for all of us?  Stay tuned...

I have spent a great deal of time parsing the dynamic in  Ukraine this past year (see my book, Navies, Petrol and Chocolate, available on Amazon), and suspect Tillerson's  substantial  experience in the  energy sector will help put Ukraine in a  better situation, if  he  chooses to  include that agenda among his top priorities.  I also suspect his  relationships  with Putin  and  Sechin will help us keep Russia in line without sparking World War III.  Certainly, his career at Exxon show he doesn't "sell out" the organization he works for/leads, so  I suspect his relationships with Russians will  mostly help make Europe safer and drive a strong, well informed, United States foreign policy.

I understood Exxon negotiations with Russia that spooked Putin (described in my book) were conducted by Lee Raymond, the previous Exxon CEO.  Tillerson's negotiating success doing arctic drilling in Russian waters was perhaps a consolation prize awarded the company after Putin blocked the acquisition/merger with Yukos a few years before.  In any event, confirmation hearings should be entertaining!