Tue Mar 13, 2018, 01:24 PM

Tillerson's Sacking Will Shock America and the World - but Delight Israel

The secretary of state’s cardinal sin was that he didn’t kowtow to Trump to the degree that the president craves and requires

Chemi Shalev Mar 13, 2018 6:17 PM

Israel and its right wing American supporters will rejoice in the unceremonious sacking of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and his replacement with CIA Director Mike Pompeo. Tillerson was seen as reserved and distant about Israel, while Pompeo is viewed as a warm supporter. Tillerson sought to preserve the Iran nuclear deal, while Pompeo is aligned with the demand of Donald Trump and Benjamin Netanyahu to fix it, or, in greater likelihood, abandon it altogether. The appointment of Gina Haspel as Pompeo’s replacement at the CIA could also be seen as advantageous: She was in charge of “black” counterterrorist operations for many years and was implicated in alleged use and cover-up of torture against radical Islamic ringleaders.

Throughout much of the world and inside America, however, the reactions could be markedly different. Tillerson’s dismissal heightens fear of an isolationist United States that thumbs its nose at traditional allies. Even though it was generally known to be in the works, the abrupt dismissal, which Tillerson learned about from Twitter as he made his way back from a tour of Africa, highlights the constant chaos that seems to be a hallmark of the Trump presidency, with once trusted aides and cabinet members ignominiously coming and going through his eternally revolving door. And while both Pompeo and Haspel are considered more hawkish than Tillerson on Russia, his removal less than 24 hours after bluntly accusing Moscow of responsibility for the attempted murder of its former spy Sergei Skripal in Great Britain can only enhance suspicions that Trump gets his marching orders directly from the Kremlin.

Trump and Tillerson were an odd couple from the outset. The president did not know the former Chairman of Exxon when he lured him to forego his multi-million dollar salary at Exxon for a stint at the State Department. Tillerson was unhappy with Trump’s unilateral decision to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum, suspecting that the move could launch an international trade war as well as strain already tense relations with America’s closest allies, especially in Europe. White House sources asserted on Tuesday that one of the main reasons for Tillerson’s removal was his reservations about Trump’s shock-decision to meet Kim Jong Un; Pompeo is said to have been more supportive of a high-risk meeting with the North Korean dictator.

But Tillerson’s cardinal sin was that he didn’t kowtow to Trump to the degree that the president apparently craves and requires, for which he was rewarded with a constant stream of insults and put downs emanating from the White House. His goose may have been cooked as early as last October, when he was quoted as describing Trump as “a moron”, and according to some accounts, “a f..king moron”. As someone who built his career on the oil industry’s discrete, backdoor parlance, Tillerson was often appalled by Trump’s blunt vitriol in both domestic and international affairs. Tillerson, who devoted long years to the Boy Scouts movement, was certainly horrified to hear Trump include harsh political attacks as well as sexual innuendo in his July address to a Boy Scout jamboree.



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