Small Wars Journal

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson Off to Agonizingly Slow Start

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson Off to Agonizingly Slow Start by David Ignatius, Washington Post

Rex Tillerson is off to an agonizingly slow start as secretary of state. That matters, because if Tillerson doesn’t develop a stronger voice, control of foreign policy is likely to move increasingly toward Stephen K. Bannon, the insurgent populist who is chief White House strategist.

Tillerson’s State Department has been in idle gear these past two months. He doesn’t have a deputy or other top aides. His spokesman can’t give guidance on key issues, because decisions haven’t yet been made. Tillerson didn’t attend important meetings with foreign leaders.

As a former chief executive of ExxonMobil, Tillerson is accustomed to a world where a visible display of power is unnecessary, corporate planning is meticulous and office politics are suppressed. But this is Washington…

Tillerson’s future impact at State depends on his relationship with President Trump, but so far, that has seemed lukewarm. Tillerson’s candidate for deputy, Elliott Abrams, was rebuffed — reportedly at Bannon’s urging — after Trump had seemed initially supportive. Strangely, the 64-year-old Tillerson’s best opportunity is his friendly relationship with Jared Kushner, Trump’s peripatetic 36-year-old son-in-law and adviser…

Read on.