The votes against Mr. Tillerson’s confirmation were the most in Senate history for a secretary of state, a reflection of Democratic unease with President Trump’s early foreign policy pronouncements that threaten to upend a multilateral approach that has guided United States presidents since World War II.
I’ve said that you can be a great American and you can be good a foreign policy, but you can’t be both. I think that Tillerson is the best shot we have at proving me wrong. In addition to the left’s long-standing aversion to the oil industry, he breaks a lot of Cold War legacy conventional wisdom about many things, especially the Russians.
A bigger problem will be his relationship with the department he now heads. The State Department and the oil industry represent two different approaches to interfacing with the world around us, and the two don’t exactly admire each other. OTOH I think he will be a steadying influence on the President, who respects his negotiating skills.
One thing he will need to tackle is the vetting process for visas. In addition to figuring out who is dangerous and who is not, it has been frightfully slow. An Iranian friend of mine had his wife and newborn (American citizen) go back to Iran; it took eighteen months to get a return visa. The intervention of our congressman and senator (Bob Corker, chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee) were to no avail. And this was under the last administration.