Sunday 23rd of January 2022

attrition, depletion and foggy bottom...

the end of tillerson?

Pity soon-to-maybe-be-former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. Here’s a man who can’t get to the sports page of his favorite newspaper without wading through a new round of rumors of his own demise. If it is not a new leak out of Foggy Bottom saying someone cut in front of him in the cafeteria, presaging a palace coup, it is the New York Times, based on unnamed government sources, claiming Thursday that the White House plans to oust him by the end of the year, possibly to replace him with current CIA Director Mike Pompeo.

As of Thursday night, Fox News, based on its own sources, confirmed that Tillerson would be leaving his post in January, noting the “most likely succession plan would involve moving Pompeo to the State Department and nominating Arkansas GOP Sen. Tom Cotton to lead the CIA.” This was flatly, if not glibly denied by White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, in a tweet.

When Tillerson is leaving—and whether it is by his own choice—doesn’t seem to matter anymore. He is not long for the job. The real question at this point is who, if not Pompeo, will replace the neutered secretary, and what if anything that means.

From his first day, neither the media nor his own organization offered him a chance. Even before the 2016 election results were in, the State Department’s supposedly non-political diplomats leaked a dissent memo calling for more U.S. intervention in Syria, a move opposed by then-candidate Trump. Soon after Tillerson took office, his non-political diplomats leaked a dissent memo opposing the State Department’s role in President Trump’s immigration plans. Yet another dissent memo leaked just ten days ago, this time with Foggy Bottom’s minions claiming their boss was in violation of the law over a decision regarding child soldiers. “Reports” from “sources” claim the Secretary has cut himself off from the organization’s rank and file.

The media offered Secretary Tillerson no rest, proclaiming in near-apocalyptic terms the end of diplomacy, the dismantling of the State Department, and announcing with regularity the loss of U.S. standing in the world. Never one to miss a chance to pile on, Senators John McCain and Jeanne Shaheen sent a letter to Tillerson declaring that “America’s diplomatic power is being weakened internally as complex global crises are growing externally.” In the midst of all this, Tillerson supposedly called Trump a moron, and Trump’s tweets were interpreted a sundermining whatever standing Tillerson might have had internationally.

Despite factual evidence to the contrary, most mainstream media also claimed State was hemorrhaging diplomats. With no evidence presented (the department has always been notoriously tight-fisted with its personnel statistics), the New York Times stated that among those Tillerson “fired or sidelined” were “most of the top African-American and Latino diplomats, as well as many women.” The media, who had blissfully ignored when State was hiring below attrition during the Obama years, now seized on every routine retirement out of Foggy Bottom as proof that Tillerson was toast. Tillerson’s very presence in office was, according to former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, a “national security emergency.”

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preparing for war?...

The New York Times reported on Thursday morning that sometime in the near future, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will be ousted in favor of sitting CIA Director Mike Pompeo - and Pompeo’s job will be taken by hawkish Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton.

The Times made the report with high confidence, citing "senior administration officials." Tillerson's exit has been long-rumored due to his numerous clashes with US President Donald Trump. Spokespeople for both the White House and the State Department refused to confirm or deny the reports when asked.

Brian Becker and John Kiriakou of Radio Sputnik's Loud & Clear interviewed Medea Benjamin, co-founder of CODEPINK, an organization described on its website a "women-led grassroots organization working to end US wars and militarism, support peace and human rights initiatives, and redirect our tax dollars into healthcare, education, green jobs and other life-affirming programs."

"I never thought I'd see the day when I would be rooting for the former head of Exxon," Benjamin half-joked. "But given the array of characters in the administration, Tillerson has been one of the adults in what [Republican Senator] Bob Corker called the 'adult day care center of the White House.' He has been a moderating force there, and now that force will be gone."

The new secretary of state, according to the report, will be Mike Pompeo, "a rampant anti-Russia, anti-Iran hawk," according to Benjamin. "I think that we're going to have a new set of characters in there who want to go to war with North Korea, who think that we can bomb Iran's nuclear sites, that want to see regime change in both of these countries and don't think about the consequences of that."

Tillerson has taken the role of mediator during his tenure as chief diplomat, setting him at odds with the more hawkish Trump. Infamously, Trump once tweeted that Tillerson was "wasting his time" trying to negotiate with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un

"This means a ramp-up of US aggression against North Korea," Benjamin predicted. "I think it means that the hope that we had for negotiations with North Korea are out the window. I think there are going to be larger US military exercises that portend a 'decapitation' of Kim Jong-un. I think we're in for a very difficult period with North Korea, and unfortunately North Korea is not going to back down."

Both Benjamin and the hosts were also concerned about the prospect of Cotton as CIA director. Kiriakou, who spent a decade in the CIA, doubted that the inexperienced Cotton would be able to command the loyalty of his subordinates were he appointed spy chief. "It's part of the CIA culture," Kiriakou explained. "If they don't like or respect a president or a director, they know they can outwait these guys."

"If you're in the CIA, and you've made it up to the senior service, you've been there 25 or 30 or 35 years. Presidents and directors come and go constantly. So what they do is, when they receive an order from the director, they say 'yes sir, we're going to get right on that.' Then they just sort of slow roll it until it goes away."


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He was the reluctant employee from the beginning. The story goes the Exxon Oil chief was nearing retirement and looking forward to some well-earned 'me' time.

So when the offer to be secretary of state came he was inclined to say, "Thanks but no thanks". It was his wife, we're told, who insisted he should do it, for the country.

Almost from day one it was clear this was not a match made in heaven. 

The President and Secretary of State had very different world views.

Like Donald Trump, Rex Tillerson was a wealthy businessman and a consummate deal maker.

But he did not have the impulsive gut-led instincts his boss does and that led to disagreements and humiliations.

Mr Tillerson was a facilitator, a persuader, not a disruptor.


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