Published: Thu, March 15, 2018
Global | By Shelia Dennis

Tillerson firing raises fear of shift in U.S. foreign policy

Tillerson firing raises fear of shift in U.S. foreign policy

Evans Revere, a former senior U.S. diplomat who dealt with North Korea under President George W. Bush, said Trump's move sends "a bad signal about the role of diplomacy".

Trump pointed out he did not discuss much with Tillerson regarding his decision to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

The U.S. intelligence assessment is that the 2015 deal to curb Iran's nuclear weapons program is on balance a good one, and that Trump's criticism of it threatens efforts to constrain Iran's nuclear ambitions and ties with the other nations that negotiated the pact, China, France, Germany, Britain and Russian Federation.

According to the online news platform, Tillerson found out about his sack from the president's this morning, on his return from his African trip, the last stop of which was Nigeria.

Under-Secretary of State Steve Goldstein, in a statement, made clear Tillerson was caught off guard. Both positions require a confirmation vote from the Senate.

Critics said the move would sow more instability in the volatile Trump administration and marks the departure of another moderate who sought to emphasize the United States' strong ties to its allies amid Trump's criticism. "I welcome my good friend, Mike Pompeo, as the next secretary of state". But Pompeo has the opportunity to build considerable goodwill just by, you know, properly staffing the agency and defending its budget a little bit better than Tillerson. CIA Deputy Director Gina Haspel will succeed him, also following Senate confirmation. "Abe and Trump have a close relationship, so it's no problem", a source close to Abe said.

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Although relatively new to the Trump inner circle, Pompeo has won the president's trust with tailored briefings on classified information. The former ExxonMobil chief's firing comes after a series of public rifts with the president since his appointment past year. The European parties to the deal were trying to work through Tillerson to ensure that the White House avoids rupturing the JCPOA directly, even as it layers sanctions on issues that were not addressed in the deal.

Gary Cohn, a former president of investment bank Goldman Sachs, resigned as Trump's top economic advisor on March 6 in protest against the president's decision to levy global steel tariffs.

Tillerson had spearheaded the maximum pressure campaign that the administration credits with bringing the North Koreans to the negotiating table, bringing the issue up in every country meeting he had, no matter how seemingly unrelated.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said she had a positive working relationship with Mr Tillerson and that would continue with Mr Pompeo.

Immediately, President Trump replaced Tillerson with loyalist CIA Director, Mike Pompeo.

We all know someone else will leave the White House in the near future, but who will it be?

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There is not much love lost between the pair; Tillerson has previously refused to deny calling Trump a "f***ing moron" and didn't thank him at his final press conference.

The change in top diplomats comes at a critical point for the nation and raises concern over further damage to American global leadership. Trump reportedly said he wished his secretary of state were tougher.

The new secretary will inherit a weakened State Department. He has consistently defended the president's stance against North Korea. An appointment for the ambassador to South Korea fell apart at the last minute.

While Murphy argued that Pompeo's record against diplomacy bodes ill for the United States' top diplomat, he questioned how effective an advocate Tillerson had been for keeping the United States in the deal.

"I believe that this information about her involvement (in the interrogation program) should be declassified, and in effect it's been a cover-up that it hasn't been", Wyden said. "However, my understanding is he doesn't want the deal to disappear", said a former senior USA official. Trump has also publicly criticized Attorney General Jeff Sessions' decision to recuse himself from the Russian Federation investigation. He also spoke with the White House chief of staff John Kelly on a smooth and orderly transition.

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