Secretary of State Rex Tillerson did an excellent job representing the professional and deliberate diplomatic approach of the U.S. and President Trump administration. His personal view toward foreign service on behalf of the U.S. was exemplary, and deserves high praise.
Having said that, as President Trump stated earlier today, there was also more than a tinge of disunity between the advocated views of Tillerson and the views of the Commander in Chief toward economic national security. At times the fractures between policy perspectives were visible. Over time those differences became more obvious.
As Secretary of the DoS Rex Tillerson supported the Paris Climate Treaty; the President did not; Secretary Tillerson supported the Obama administration’s Iran deal; the President did not; Tillerson was more apologetic toward lax immigration policy; the President is not; and there were other visible departures visible surrounding the use of economic leverage to achieve national security advancements, specifically on the issue of China and North Korea policy.
The primary perspective, drawing the greatest contrast, surrounded President Trump’s view and expressed policy of emphasizing strength; particularly economic strength – to gain national security objectives.
After many years of projected weakness by the former administration one of the key tenets of the Trump presidency has been reestablishing national security by focusing on unapologetic U.S. economic power regardless of global opinion therein.
Unapologetic economic power is where the views of President Trump and Secretary Tillerson parted. T-Rex projected more of a humble and altruistic approach; almost seeming embarrassed at times to participate in discussions of economic conflict and confrontation. Indeed it often seemed awkward for Mr. Tillerson as he carries a less confrontational and more servant-minded constitution.
While he is not a pure ‘globalist’ per se’, Secretary Tillerson was less deliberate toward achieving territorial economic goals as a method to achieve geopolitical national security. On matters surrounding these issues, T-Rex was more Wall Street than Main Street; more traditionally republican than change-agent populist.
Despite the media’s inability to see the severity of perspective, President Trump is not going to be swayed on matters of national economics. POTUS Trump will listen to alternate opinions based on current events, but his forward advancement toward U.S. economic security will not be slowed by high-minded analysis leading to paralysis. Within his outlook, always in the back of his mind, the clock is ticking… there’s an inherent sense of urgency.
Forcing economic change to enhance the territorial economic security of middle-America requires the ability of the change-agent to ignore the feelings and sensibilities of outside nations who will be confronted in the process. Diplomacy must be set aside when entering the predatory world of massive trillion dollar economic deals. There is no room for friends and comfort here, after thirty years of inept acquiescence, from President Trump’s perspective, winning is the only acceptable outcome.
Stopping the exfiltration of American wealth demands severity: “we either have a country or we don’t.” Within that dynamic the value of diplomacy is necessarily lessened in favor of more deliberate and unapologetic policy advancement. Inside that dynamic President Trump and Secretary Tillerson did not agree – and that is a major point of disunity.
As Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross has stated several times: “economic security is national security.” President Trump fundamentally believes that our national security requires independent U.S. economic security. Everything is downstream from the economics of the issue, any issue, regardless of the issue – foreign or domestic.
Carrying a sense of urgency toward these national security issues, delicate sensibilities -and the opinion of the media who protect them- are necessarily dispatched like a feather in a hurricane. Again, “we have no choice”, as often heard from President Trump.
Going into year #2 of the administration the current emphasis is a structural reset in the U.S. approach toward global trade. “Killers” are of value now; thirty years of talking and losing is over. As such inside this seismic trade-policy-shift, a parallel geopolitical strategy is being played out from the Middle-East through allies in Europe and into Asia around the rarely moved cornerstones of economics and trade.
National liberty, that is actual liberty – not the perception of liberty, is directly tied to economic victory. During this reset there are only two groups: predators and prey.
Confronting China (Xi Jinping) economically was/is what brought North Korea (Kim Jong-Un) to the table of discussion to give up their nuclear ambitions; it was not diplomacy that created the breakthrough conditions for a national security win. What brought China/DPRK to this position was the very real possibility of looming economic defeat. President Trump’s approach won, Secretary Tillerson was surprised.
President Trump has aligned his economic opponents into his preferred geography. Everyone within sight is either an adversary or an ally. However, allies are now reduced to being benefactors who will smartly get out of the way while the apex predators destroy their opposition. Year two is about resolving to achieve economic victory regardless of international collateral damage. There is no longer any room for negotiating terms. Diplomats retreat to the hilltops. The era of economic Titans has come again.
Final point – When approaching specific goals and objectives President Trump works through a strategy based on phases. President Trump doesn’t retain people past their expended usefulness. Rex Tillerson did an outstanding job as Secretary of State introducing the Trump administration to nations’ of the world.
The diplomatic introductions and niceties are now complete; it’s time to get down to business.