Houston, 23rd Jan, 2017
By Shourie Bannai,
HCA stands strongly supportive of the candidature of Mr.Rex Tillerson for the post of Secretary of State. The Secretary of State is the equivalent of Minister of External Relations or Ministers of Foreign Relations.The US Secretary of state is one of the most important positions in the government as the Secretary is the top diplomat representing the US in the global community. In a time when there is an unprecedented turmoil in the Middle East, the ascent of Russia and China in the global geo-political arena, and a host of additional issues this position assumes additional importance.
As the only worlds’ only superpower who still wields considerable influence in every continent, it becomes extremely necessary that the US should be represented by someone sagacious, pragmatic and educated. The only drawback which can be counted against Mr. Tillerson is his complete lack of diplomatic experience or foreign experience before being nominated to the position of Secretary of State.
In this article we attempt to put together his stand on various issues that he may have to face during his time as the Secretary of State. The main issues we shall focus on are Russia, China, Middle-East, Climate Change and Radical Islam.The whole senate hearing for his confirmation is available online, but in this article for the sake of brevity we have included and parsed his own testimony before the Senate committee.
Mr. Tillerson refused to label President Putin as a war criminal, though being tough against Russia he said that
“Where cooperation with Russia based on common interests is possible, such as reducing the global threat of terrorism, we ought to explore these options. Where important differences remain, we should be steadfast in defending the interests of America and her allies.”
On the question of China, which in the past quarter of a century has ascended as an economic powerhouse,
“China’s economic and trade practices have not always followed its commitments to global agreements. It steals our intellectual property, and is aggressive and expansionist in the digital realm……We have to deal with what we see, not with what we hope”
Mr. Tillerson said about the Middle-East that
“The Middle East and its surrounding regions pose many challenges which require our attention, including Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan. There are competing priorities in this region which must be and will be addressed, but they must not distract from our utmost mission of defeating ISIS. Because when everything is a priority, nothing is a priority. Defeating ISIS must be our foremost priority in the Middle East.”
“I think it’s important that the United States maintain its seat at the table on the conversations around how to address threats of climate change, which do require a global response, Tillerson said. “No one country is going to solve this alone.”
Comment: Climate change is a stark reality that is confronting the human civilization and is already a challenge to the existence and sustenance of the human race today. Changing weather patterns leading to increased periods of drought, inundating floods, are causing people to leave traditional methods of employment and find other alternatives. We would request Mr. Tillerson that as the Secretary of State he should place more focus on the issue of Climate Change and diligently work to mitigate its effects. The effect of climate change may not be acute in the United States, but in the developing world where agriculture and food security are threatened due to changing weather patterns. It would earn the US a lot of goodwill and trust if it works with them.
This may be one of the most contentious issues that Mr.Tillerson may have to deal with during his time as the Secretary of State. Dealing with the terror threats posed by Radical Islam and its adherents would not only involve military action, dismantling the infrastructure of armed terror groups but also defeating them ideologically. Over this point, Mr. Tillerson said,
“Radical Islam poses a grave risk to the stability of nations and the well-being of their citizens. Powerful digital media platforms now allow ISIS, al-Qaeda, and other terror groups to spread a poisonous ideology that runs completely counter to the values of the American people and all people around the world who value human life….. The most urgent step in thwarting radical Islam is defeating ISIS…….. The demise of ISIS would also allow us to increase our attention on other agents of radical Islam like al-Qaeda, the Muslim Brotherhood, and certain elements within Iran.”
In summary, HCA agrees with Mr. Tillerson on all accounts with Mr. Tillerson, except on the point of climate change where we have a difference of opinion. With all his professional private sector experience as an engineer, as a production manager and as a CEO of one of the biggest companies in the world, we wish Mr. Tillerson hearty congratulations and all the best in his new role as the nation’s top diplomat and Secretary of State.