Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Status Rex

Donald Trump made his choice for Secretary of State official by naming Rex Tillerson, the CEO of ExxonMobil, for the post.  Tillerson has no diplomatic experience but has done business in various countries and thus has had to practice corporate diplomacy, which I assume his is biggest qualification for the job. He interestingly accepts, despite heading an oil company, that climate change is a reality, in contrast to the man who appointed him.  That would be a good thing when you remember that the Paris Agreement on climate change is a diplomatic pact, so that would be one of two good reasons to hope he gets confirmed.  That and he's not John Bolton.
The only problem is that he has close ties to Vladimir Putin, and that has caused concern among Senate Democrats and even some Senate Republicans who would have to vote to confirm him.  The fear is that he'd be happy to give Putin a pass on bilateral disagreements that the U.S. ought to stand firm on.  In light of revelations that the Russians may have been responsible for  hacking in to the Democratic National Committee's e-mails and given them to WikiLeaks, that's a legitimate concern.   On the other hand . . . the CIA charge into Russian hacking in to the DNC's computer has produced skepticism among those who note that the CIA has produced no hard evidence that it was indeed the Russians who hacked the DNC e-mails, and there is also the FBI's disagreement on the motive behind the hacking.  (The FBI doesn't think it was done to help Trump, apparently.)  One of my friends, an online columnist, says that the charges against the Russians are just another effort to stoke anti-Russian paranoia among Americans and start a new cold war to keep Americans too afraid to reject this country's political status quo.  My friend is not a Trump supporter, by the way.
Things are going to get more interesting than I thought . . ..    

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