After firing, Tillerson says USA must respond to Russia's behavior

15 March, 2018, 06:09 | Author: Julian Harrison
  • Gina Haspel

Although Tillerson insisted he had what he called a good relationship with Trump, Tillerson and his small circle of aides often found themselves at odds with some Trump aides.

Some said Washington may take a harder line under Pompeo and the Europeans may be under more pressure to offer concessions, while others suggested his views on the deal have evolved and he may be better placed to influence Trump to keep it.

With Iran, Trump wanted out of the Iran deal, but Tillerson wanted the United States to stay the course.

Tillerson was notified Friday that he could be replaced, leading him to return home from an Africa trip a day early, according to American news outlets.

It took a year, but we have finally arrived to the point of "let Trump be Trump", reminiscent of the moment in 1984 when "let Reagan be Reagan" started to carry the day.

"The secretary did not speak to the president this morning and is unaware of the reason" for his dismissal, said Steve Goldstein, undersecretary of state for public diplomacy and public affairs, in a statement Tuesday before he himself was dismissed.

Pompeo will be grilled on his policy positions when he comes before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for a confirmation hearing.

A second, they said, is if she can help persuade Trump that Russian President Vladimir Putin is an increasingly aggressive adversary, and that failing to confront him would weaken USA relations with its closest allies and with the CIA's most valuable partners. He said she and Pompeo "have worked together for more than a year, and have developed a great mutual respect". "To allow someone who had a direct hand in this illegal, immoral and counterproductive program is to willingly forget our nation's dark history with torture". Despite a controversial past, her rise is not surprising - she previously served as CIA deputy director and led worldwide undercover spying operations, a CIA mission that has gained renewed importance in recent years.Haspel, 61, joined the spy agency in 1985 and served as chief of station in several posts around the world.

After he was sacked by President Donald Trump, Tillerson also said United States efforts to pressure North Korea had worked better than expected and revealed he would pass authority to his deputy at midnight.

Although relatively new to the Trump inner circle, Pompeo has won the president's trust with tailored briefings on classified information.

In contrast to Tillerson, who explicitly ruled out regime change in North Korea, Pompeo has been more hawkish in his public comments.

Tillerson had also contradicted the White House by agreeing with the British government in its finding that Russian Federation tried to poison a former spy in the UK.

Gary Cohn, a former president of investment bank Goldman Sachs, resigned as Trump's top economic advisor on March 6 in protest against the president's decision to levy global steel tariffs.

Trump even tweeted, "I told Rex Tillerson, our wonderful Secretary of State, that he is wasting his time trying to negotiate with Little Rocket Man".

To that end, like Tillerson, Pompeo will advocate the maintenance of a strong containment policy against Russian Federation that defends USA allies and reinforces the US role in North Atlantic Treaty Organisation. A number of details still need working out ahead of the summit, from the time and place to the actual agenda.

Pompeo described President Obama's effort to cut carbon pollution at home (through the Clean Power Plan) and overseas (through the Paris climate deal) as a "perverse fixation on achieving his economically harmful environmental agenda" and as "worshiping a radical environmental agenda".

When Trump moved into the White House, he promised an "America First" platform that could have reshaped United States foreign and trade policy more radically than at any point since the beginning of the Cold War.

Tillerson never fully denied the claim, which prompted the president - seemingly stung - to challenge his top diplomat to an IQ test.

"And we commenced the steps to dramatically increase not just the scope, but the effectiveness of the sanctions" he said. But Pompeo might still prove to be a more risky secretary of state by enabling Trump's most hawkish instincts.

The new secretary will inherit a weakened State Department.

◆ Impact on North Korea, Iran? An appointment for the ambassador to South Korea fell apart at the last minute.

Tillerson's sacking caps a tumultuous tenure at the State Department.



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