Why Rex Tillerson would be a disaster as Secretary of State

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By Douglas E. Schoen,

from FoxNews,

On Tuesday morning, after a weekend of anonymously-sourced winks and nudges, President-elect Trump formally announced that he will nominate ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson to be the next Secretary of State.

Tillerson’s nomination would be a disaster.

He is a CEO, not an experienced diplomat. Moreover, he is simply too close to Russia and Vladimir Putin to be an effective or credible advocate for American interests around the world.

Tillerson has direct economic interests in Russia having cut multi-billion dollar deals with Putin himself as well as Kremlin confidant Igor Sechin, the head of Russian state-owned oil company Rosneft. When Sechin isn’t palling around with Tillerson, he keeps busy selling nuclear capabilities to Venezuela or negotiating oil deals with Cuba. Tillerson doesn’t seem to mind, and even appeared with Sechin after he had been formally sanctioned by the United States.

Tillerson’s loyalty to Russia has not gone unnoticed, and Putin personally awarded him Russia’s “Order of Friendship” in 2013.

Senator John McCain has called Tillerson’s “friendship award from a butcher […] an issue that I think needs to be examined.” Marco Rubio has expressed “serious concerns about his nomination,” since “the next Secretary of State must be someone who views the world with moral clarity.”

And it’s not as if Tillerson would be the first Putin pal in Trump’s cabinet.

Michael Flynn, Trump’s choice for National Security Advisor, has been honored by Russian state propaganda network RT, sitting at Putin’s right hand during the awards dinner. Just as Tillerson has opposed sanctions against Russia over the invasion of Ukraine, so too has Flynn urged that America “move forward” from Putin’s bloody interventions in Ukraine and Syria.

Together, Tillerson and Flynn are a dangerous pro-Putin combination that threatens to undermine American values, allies, and interests around the world.

We cannot allow the State Department to be led by a friend and ally of Vladimir Putin and continue the disastrous diplomacy of negotiation and appeasement that has handed Putin his greatest victories.

America needs a Secretary of State who will stand up to Putin. Rex Tillerson is not the man for the job.

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