Let's set aside the issue of North Korea for a moment and Tillersons mishandling and exacerbation of the nuclear weapons issue. In fact, let's set aside Trump's first day screw up with Taiwan. Let's set aside Trump's insult to the Australian prime minister. Let's ignore his insult to Theresa May, the British prime minister. Let's set aside his constant stream of misstatements and falsehoods about Mexico. Let's set aside his misstatements and falsehoods about Sweden Let's set aside his spokesperson's false statement about the British GCHQ. Lets set aside his insults of Angela Merkel. Let's even set aside that it was just just announced Tillerson has cancelled a NATO meeting in April to go to Moscow. Eventually, it becomes easier to identify who Trump hasn't insulted or dealt with in bad faith. All of those things highlight that the State Department's leadership and Trump administration have no idea what they are doing in terms of foreign policy and diplomatic relations. But the fact is it really doesn't make sense to examine the issue and problems in which the State Department is engaged in around the world without examining the State Department itself. That's apparently something Trump has never done.
First it is important and helpful to know the order of presidential succession:
- Vice President (Mike Pence)
- Speaker of the House of Representatives (Paul Ryan)
- President pro tempore of the Senate (Orrin Hatch)
- Secretary of State (Rex Tillerson)
- Secretary of the Treasury (Steven Mnuchin)
- Secretary of Defense (James Mattis)
This order is not arbitrary for reasons we'll get to shortly. But here are a few things that are important to know about the Department of State:
- Prevention of war through diplomacy and foreign aid is always cheaper than war. Winning and maintaining peace after war is never accomplished through war by itself.
- The promotion of worker rights, women's advocacy, health care initiatives, and children's education builds nations and create economically, socially and politically stronger partners in the world which is ultimately cheaper for the US rather than coming to the aid of failed states after the fact.
- Coordinating disaster relief, famine aide and managing refugee crises is always more effective and less expensive though direct diplomacy rather than being run through military response even when the military is involved.
- Fighting crime across national borders, extradition, trade and commerce are all not possible without diplomacy and the State Department.
The founding fathers established the department of state, initially known as the Department of Foreign Affairs, for a reason. They knew what they were doing. In 1789, it was the first and most important department established by congress because the span of the importance of the responsibilities of the State Department responsibilities is almost impossible to underscore. Furthermore, the State Department more than any other defines and describes the meaning of and image of the United States of America to the rest of the world. The nation's standing, importance and influence in the world is determined by the image, character and vision it projects, not just the military power it exerts. The founding fathers understood the importance of the office of Secretary of State, and therefore placed it above all of the other cabinet positions in the presidential succession, including the secretary of defense. Furthermore, they recognized that the insertion of private interests to run government was a dangerous thing.
In an 1803 letter to Albert Gallitin, Thomas Jefferson said:
I deem no government safe which is under the vassalage of any self-constituted authorities, or any other authority than that of the nation, or its regular functionaries.
They were discussing the influence of banks and the danger of private entities and self-serving entities and their capacity to influence government. While the quote is in reference to banks, the idea is germane to all organizations and entities that may seek to exert influence over government, including l companies.
With that in mind It's no small coincide that:
- the single biggest influence in geopolitics is oil.
- the single biggest investor in oil and oil speculation in the world markets is Goldman Sachs Bank.
- the Trump administration is replete with principals from Goldman Sachs.
- other than perhaps ARAMCO, ExxonMobil is the largest oil company on earth.
- the pending ExxonMobil and Rosneft oil deal is the biggest oil deal in history, and Tillerson negotiated the deal on behalf of ExxonMobil.
- the sanctions against Russia because of the Ukraine invasion is impeding the oil deal.
- as Secretary of State, Tillerson is responsible for negotiating treaties and agreements including sanctions, while Mnuchin the Secretary of Treasury and former Goldman principal, is responsible for sanctions implementation.
It is clear that Tillerson and the Trump administration represent the interests of oil banking interests, and those interest have been put into place to run the government. But despite the immense conflicts of interest, none of those Trump principals have skills, knowledge or abilities in relevant areas of governmental international relations despite the fact that their businesses operate internationally. But in what appears to bend the mission of the State Department to the will and benefit of multinational business interests, the department us being diminished, its role weakened and its usefulness for projecting US influence around the world is bring seriously degraded. As the State Department is being weakened, the US reliance on the military to project influence increases. And as the strate department's influence is reduced, so is our ability to help mitigate and prevent conflict. And as the perception that US foreign policy caters to the interests of corporations and the rich, economic, and culture based animosity towards the US will intensify. How will it be possible for developing nations around the world to see the US as anything other than the purveyors of capitalist imperialism?
John Adams said:
What are the Qualifications of a Secretary of State? He ought to be a Man of universal Reading in Laws, Governments, History. Our whole terrestrial Universe ought to be summarily comprehended in his Mind.
Neither Trump nor Tillerson appear to possess let alone present those qualities. So the question is how do Tillerson and the Trump administration expect to project power or to influence change in the rest of the world when it is clear to the world that the they don't recognize, value or respect their own agents of change such as their ambassadors and diplomats? How to they expect the State Department to be effective when it is subjugated to other departments' priorities or the interest of foreign adversaries? How do they expect to project influence when the most critical instrument and organism of change is being publicly weakened and diminished giving other nations to neither trust NIR respect the State Department? And how is any of that in the best interest of America?
The profound ignorance of Trump and Tillerson regarding the relevance and importance of the State Department as well as their overall understanding of the constitution is no trifling matter can not be ignored.