"Rubio wants to know... if he thinks Putin is a war criminal, specifically with respect to Russia’s carpet-bombing of Aleppo and Grozny; and if he believes Putin targets his political enemies for death. Tillerson could have answered yes to all of the questions about Putin’s nefariousness but hedged on sanctions by saying something like this: “Senator, you and I agree that America has an important role to play in the world in standing up for human rights, but I think we also agree that the U.S. government’s first duty is to advance the interests of American citizens. If we think we can best achieve that goal through dialogue with Russia, we’ll follow that strategy. And in doing so, we’ll be under no illusions about Putin’s bad intentions.” In other words, respond to Rubio’s idealistic neoconservatism with some somber America-First realpolitik. Instead all Tillerson can do is play dumb, insisting in most cases he needs more information to form a judgment, which comes off as obtuse and dishonest. On the matter of Putin being a war criminal, he actually disagrees with Rubio. Given the fact of his chummy business acquaintance with Putin, it feels at times as though he’s covering for a friend...I think the GOP will fall in line and end up voting to confirm, but Tillerson did himself no favors with Senate hawks here."
My heart is with Putin's victims, so I'm glad Rubio spoke the truth. But if we're not going to prosecute Putin, it is understandable not to start out with a toothless provocation. That's Obama's bailiwick. As Tillerson himself observed, wimpy sanctions are worse than no sanctions at all.
For eight long years, Obama was Vladimir Putin's Geo-Political Blow-Up Doll.
Whether it was Reset, Ukraine, Missile Defense Cancelled, Airliner Downed, Uranium Sold, Military Bases in Syria, "More Flexible After the Election", Putin Arming Iran, Hacking or a dozen other issues, Obama was Putin's Boy Toy, doormat, valet and punk.
Kerry recently made some noise about war crimes and Powers bemoaned the Syrian carnage at the UN as if the administration were bystanders, which is fitting because they were.
Tillerson's too Establishment for my taste, and I'm concerned he won't fully Drain the Foggy Bottom Swamp, which needs more Drano than the other sewers. But compared to Kerry, he's a giant.
Kerry began his career by betraying his fellow troops and our South Vietnamese ally. He continued his career by voting to send troops to Iraq and then betraying them in the field. He finishes his career by betraying the Cuban people, betraying America and our allies to the Ayatollah and betraying Israel at the UN. He is consistent, though.
Nor is Tillerson selling our foreign policy out of the back door like $ec. Ma Barker and her Gang of Grifters.
Compared to that record of treason, bribery, failure and incompetence, Tillerson's shortcomings pale and I suppose the President-Elect is presumptively entitled to his nominee. Rex Tillerson's simple patriotism and competence alone would mark a massive leadership sea change at the State Department.
But whoever becomes our Secretary of State, let him cast fear in the heart of our enemy and confidence in the heart of the captive, Amen.