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Opinion Editorial
March 13, 2018

The end of Rex Tillerson’s miserable tenure as secretary of state is good news for Trumpian diplomacy

Timothy Stafford

Reflecting on his time as Secretary of State, James Baker once remarked that “you cannot be successful unless you have a president who will support you, protect you, and defend you, both internationally and domestically”. Rex Tillerson never obtained that level of support from President Trump. That he has been fired marks the end of a miserable tenure. 

It didn’t have to be this way. Tillerson entered the job with some real assets. Though he’d never served in government before, his oversight of ExxonMobil’s sprawling international presence had equipped him with plenty of bureaucratic experience. His views also seemed to align with those of the new President: pro-business, unconvinced of the need to place a heavy emphasis on democracy promotion, and, crucially, open to the prospect of a political rapprochement with Russia. It was those sentiments that led to his selection, rather than the choice of a more veteran contender such as David Petraeus or Mitt Romney.

Read more on The Telegraph

Timothy Stafford

About Timothy Stafford

Timothy Stafford is a Senior Research Fellow at the Henry Jackson Society. He previously held research posts with the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) in London and Pacific Forum–CSIS in Honolulu, HI, in addition to working in the Parliamentary offices of Theresa May and Sir Malcolm Rifkind.

See all of Timothy Stafford's work