Daniel HorowitzPosted December 13, 2016 06:00 AM
Trump has made his decision on the big cabinet post — secretary of State — and it’s ExxonMobil CEO, Rex Tillerson.
There is no way to sugarcoat this: Tillerson is a disastrous pick. Those who share the mentality of transnational corporate leaders like Tillerson are pre-conditioned to supporting the foreign policy establishment mindset on critical issues so as not to upset the applecart and what’s good for business.
While much of his issue portfolio is a blank slate, what we know about him and his past comments is disturbing. These concerns go beyond his ties to Russia, which in fact, should not even be the primary focus of his confirmation hearings. The real concern cuts to the core of what conservatives are looking for in any department head, especially the State Department.
Trump should have appointed a secretary of State who regards the current State Department with as much disdain as Scott Pruitt regards the EPA. The problem we have at the State Department is not a management crisis. We have a moral and intellectual problem with the State Department that has persisted for decades. It stems from a deep-rooted culture of moral relativism and an “America-last” mindset. As such, we needed a man with a strong ideological rudder who understands the issues, is on the right side of them, and willing to bust up the entire State Department structure and the global foreign policy apparatus.
Both sides of this debate are too consumed with Russia — pro and con. Some of the new pro-Russia “conservatives” are praising Tillerson just because he’s close to Putin. Opponents, such as Lindsey Graham and John McCain, are voicing concerns solely because of his ties to Russia. However, there are many other foreign policy issues that are important.
For example, is a man with his background really the type of person to oppose refugees, a Palestinian State, cooperation with Saudi Arabia, and the Muslim Brotherhood? Where does he stand on political Islam? Where does he stand on the Iran deal and reinstating sanctions? Does he support backing “Syrian rebels” in the Syrian civil war, helping Iran in Iraq, or our current involvement in Libya? What would he do about the 15-year disaster in Afghanistan?
To be fair, these are all questions that must be answered by any nominee, but traditionally, we’ve had some sense of direction from the nominee before the Senate confirmation hearings, which don’t take place until the administration is already up and running.
And although we know nothing about where Tillerson stands on these issues, he is absolutely not the type of person who would fight the inveterate players and insufferable mentality within the system that stands opposed to America’s interests. That is why people like James Baker, Condi Rice, Bob Corker, and Robert Gates — the embodiment of the problem with foreign policy — are enthusiastically supporting him.
In that respect, nominees for secretary of State are much like Supreme Court picks. Given the one-directional gravitational pull and inertia towards liberalism within the legal profession, unless someone has absolutely demonstrated a record as a solid originalist willing to buck the system, he will wind up being a David Souter. There is no middle ground. Likewise, with foreign policy, if someone has not demonstrably opposed the Baker/Condi views on open borders, Palestinians, and political Islam, he will be part of the problem.
The most important quality in politics is a strong and fierce ideological conviction to fight the moral relativism in global affairs. Other qualities are important but useless if someone is lacking that ideological rudder to row upstream in this environment. Even someone who is inherently neutral on these issues will wind up downstream in the cesspool of the global foreign policy establishment, much less someone with the connections, mindset, and “pragmatism” of a major transnational CEO.
Tillerson’s past comments in support of Common Core, a carbon tax, the homosexual agenda at the Boy Scouts, and TPP are not mere distractions to his foreign policy views, as some might suggest.
First, we must remember that the State Department has been used as a conduit to support social liberalism for years. But more foundationally, they reveal an establishment mindset that would preclude him from bucking the trend on issues that are clearly within the scope of secretary of State, such as refugees, Syria, Palestinians, Saudi Arabia, and the Muslim Brotherhood.
Tillerson is likely the first nominee for secretary of State ever who has absolutely no political — much less foreign — policy experience. Some supporters laud this fact as a symbol of an “outsiders’” administration. However, these people don’t understand what it means to be a true outsider or insider. There is no greater outsider than one who worked in the system, understands the issues and the politics, and swam upstream to fight the ideology of the political establishment. Conversely, there is no greater insider than someone who never officially worked in the field but subscribes to and is connected to the very essence of the system.
There is nothing inherently wrong with having no official diplomatic experience, if he understands the issues and policies, and most importantly, subscribes to the right ideology and is willing to fight the global elites to change course on the critical issues.
I’d take a guy like Andy McCarthy as secretary of State any day of the week, even though he never worked in the State Department. But Tillerson is not exactly an Andy McCarthy.
As Mark Levin asked last week, if this is just about making deals across the world why not appoint the CEO of 7-Eleven? Indeed, we’ve come a long way from the days of John Jay, Thomas Jefferson, and Edmund Randolph as secretaries of State.
Unless conservatives get positive answers on some of these critical questions, they should not vote to confirm Tillerson. We don’t need another Bob Corker, albeit with closer ties to Putin.
Daniel Horowitz is a senior editor of Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @RMConservative.