We do not like Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. We have never liked Rex Tillerson. We have not liked him from the moment we laid eyes upon his jowly little face. We particularly did not like him when he announced that he was “not a big media press access person,” as though the press reporting on him was an option rather than a given.
But, now, we’ve got a new and pressing reason to regard him as a total waste of protoplasm. According to a new article in yesterday’s Politico (26 Oct), a leaked document has revealed the extent to which he plans to gut the Department of State, i.e., his own department.
Specifically, according to author Nahal Toosi, Tillerson envisions a State Department that has been “right-sized” down to a barebones minimum, and in which almost all decisions are made by a tiny cadre of Tillerson’s own associates, all of them drawn from his business connections, and almost none of them with any foreign policy experience. The Foreign Service professionals, meanwhile, will be almost completely removed from anything hinting of responsibility.
It is, of course, a model drawn from the vast wisdom of the modern corporation. Or, more precisely, from the sort of business in which the “Manager” is regarded as all-important, and mere technicians are seen as disposable cogs. (Think the pointy haired boss in Dilbert).
And, bluntly, that model just won’t work in the real world. The simple fact of the matter is that you can’t run a country like a business, and when you try to act like foreign policy is no different from, say, handling your suppliers, you’re asking for trouble. Go trotting up to China, or France, or North Korea and tell them that they have to demonstrate ICO 9001 competencies and use your CRM software today, and be quick about it…and they’ll tell you to go suck an egg. If you’re lucky.
So, you sort of have to figure that Tillerson is crafting a Department of State that will accomplish nothing…or worse, cause America real and lasting harm.
And when it’s all over…and China is the most powerful nation in the world, and Russia is laughing itself sick over our incompetence, and Europe regards us as a tragedy…
We’ll be able to look back and say, Yes, here it began…here is where we ended as a great power…
And Tillerson’s name shall enter that select few of those whom history recalls…as unmitigated disasters…
As fatal as plague, as terrible as conquest.