American Diplomacy

The Battle To Succeed Rex Tillerson As Secretary Of State: Mike Pompeo, Nikki Haley, Bob Corker, Lindsey Graham

It is clear that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will not survive beyond the first month or two of 2018.

Tillerson has been the absolute worst Secretary of State in modern times, and maybe all time, totally unqualified, totally inexperienced, totally incompetent in defending the State Department and its diplomatic corps against attempts of Donald Trump to destroy our foreign policy, in the name of supporting Russia’s Vladimir Putin.

The fact that Tillerson was the head of Exxon, and received an award from Putin in 2015, does not help promote confidence in his leadership.

But at the same time, Tillerson has clearly opposed Trump on many issues, and even said he was a “F—– Moron”, although refusing to give credibility to that press report.

Tillerson has tried, in his own inefficient manner, to stop the destructive tendencies and rhetoric of his boss, often contradicting Trump, and working to prevent conflict and turmoil as much as he can, including promoting diplomacy with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un.

The question is who should replace him, and right now, it seems as if CIA head Mike Pompeo, previously a Republican Congressman from Kansas, is the front runner, but Pompeo has a very hard line view on many issues, which makes him far from desirable.

Also, UN Ambassador Nikki Haley may have a chance to get the job, but she has just lost credibility by her threats to UN members over their vote against US recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. However, by showing loyalty to Donald Trump, she may have advanced her case to become the top diplomat, and one can hope that her action at the UN was more political than anything else, and that she would provide a comparatively more stable course in American diplomacy, and that Donald Trump might listen to her more than he does to Rex Tillerson.

Then, there are the wild cards of Tennessee Republican Senator Bob Corker, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, who has recently been highly critical of Trump, and who Trump has regularly denounced; and South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham, a good friend of Arizona Senator John McCain, who has played golf a lot with Trump lately, and has curbed his criticism of Trump dramatically, as has Bob Corker, who has been backtracking in an amazing reversal this past few days.

Both Corker and Graham now seem totally unprincipled, but it could be a tactic to try and change Donald Trump’s view of the world, much like it might be the strategy of Nikki Haley.

In the new month or two, we shall see what transpires, and as always, coverage of Donald Trump is never boring!

Transformative Presidents In Diplomacy And Foreign Affairs

With Presidents Day coming up on Monday, this is a good time to assess the Presidents who were transformative in diplomacy and foreign affairs.

The Presidents who truly made a difference in foreign policy would include the following, chronologically:

Thomas Jefferson—who presided over the Louisiana Purchase of 1803 negotiated with France, and the handling of the Chesapeake Affair of 1807, avoiding war with Great Britain, but causing decline in public opinion about Jefferson as he left office, due to the economic decline caused by the Embargo Act.

James Monroe—who, with the brilliant leadership of Secretary of State John Quincy Adams, was able to gain control of Florida in 1819, settle much of the Canadian boundary in the same time frame, and promote the Monroe Doctrine of 1823, a major part of American foreign policy in the future.

James K. Polk—under whom the Pacific Northwest was gained by negotiation with Great Britain, and the American Southwest and California by war with Mexico between 1846 and 1848.

William McKinley—under whom Hawaii was added as a territory, and America gained an “Empire” by engagement in the Spanish American War in 1898.

Theodore Roosevelt—under whom America fully engaged with the outside world, including foreign crises and wars in Europe and Asia, as well as growing intervention in Latin America between 1901-1909.

Woodrow Wilson—under whom America fully entered into international war involvement in the First World War in 1917, and then rejected internationalism as Wilson left office in 1921.

Franklin D. Roosevelt—who took America out of isolationism in the late 1930s, and presided over our involvement in World War II between 1941-1945, and the growth of America as a super power by 1945.

Harry Truman—who led us into the Cold War with the Soviet Union after 1945, with transitional foreign policy leadership that set the mold for the next half century until 1991.

Richard Nixon—who moved America toward detente with the Cold War enemy, the Soviet Union, and opened up to mainland China between 1969 and 1974.

George H. W, Bush—who smoothed the end of the Cold War, was receptive to a unified Germany as a result, and created a coalition to prevent Iraqi domination in the Middle East in the Persian Gulf War of 1991.

Other Presidents who had an impact on diplomacy and foreign affairs in a major, if not transformative manner, would include:

George Washington
Abraham Lincoln
John F. Kennedy
Lyndon B. Johnson
Jimmy Carter
Ronald Reagan
George W. Bush

Sadly, Lyndon B, Johnson and George W. Bush were mostly negative forces in foreign affairs; Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan were mixed in their results; while George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and John F. Kennedy were much more positive.