Friday, May 05, 2017

"We are not going to negotiate our way to the negotiating table!"

A man who is emerging as one of the most valuable members of the Trump team is Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. Here is a video of him talking to the staff of the State Department. If you are able to view the video, you will be struck by the way he gestures with his hands as he makes various points.

US Economic prosperity, national security, but not at the expense of others. Bringing relationships back into balance NATO, trading partners). Our fundamental values around freedom and human dignity never change. Our policies do change, depending on the countries we are dealing with, and the situation we are confronting. Speaking from a posture of strength.

He starts with North Korea. First he wanted to find out, where are our allies, then engage with other regional powers (Russia and China). Denuclearize the peninsula: our shared policy. First, we have leaned hard into China. We are preparing additional sanctions, but we are hopeful that North Korea will see their security and economic prosperity will be achieved through their following their commitments to denuclearize. We are not going to negotiate our way to the negotiating table!

Tillerson then goes to China, where we have an opportunity to define the relationship for the next 50 years. Trump will be going to Viet Nam and the Philipines in the fall.

Tillerson believes we are defeating ISIS in the Middle East, and he is determined to stop them from spreading into North Africa. He stressed that more work needs to be done in cybersecurity and social media.

He mentioned Saudia Arabia and getting Muslim nations to focus on how they want to be perceived by the rest of the world.

The poor relationship with Russia must change. We must always let our allies know what we are doing. Putin agrees that the relationship is at a low point.

We cannot let Africa become a breeding ground for ISIS. Africa has "health challenges." We want to support emerging governments and encourage trading opportunities.

The focus here in the western hemisphere is to improve trade relationships and defeat organized crime. There will be a meeting May 18 focusing on transnational organized crime.

In many ways, the Cold War was easier to navigate than what we have now. History froze. Constraints were put in place. Now, however, conflicts are not being contained.

Tillerson encouraged his staff to approach the future "with no constraints" on their thinking. He sincerely values their perspective on how we got here and where we need to go.

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