Last week, former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson became the latest member of US President Donald Trump’s cabinet to hear the dreaded words, ‘You’re fired!’
Or, in Tillerson’s case, he may have read those words on Twitter. You can see Trump’s tweet about the shakeup in the top job below:
The mainstream media was caught off guard by Tillerson’s dismissal. And many sought to use the issue to further press their anti-Trump agenda.
The Conversation, for example, wrote that, ‘the conduct of US foreign policy is at its most chaotic point since 1945’.
Foreign politicians also used the opportunity to sound off. Like Germany’s deputy foreign minister Michael Roth, who tweeted, ‘The firing of Rex Tillerson won’t make things better.’
It’s unclear why so many were surprised — and dismayed, for that matter — by Tillerson getting the sack.
Tillerson, the former CEO of Exxon had been butting heads with Trump over foreign policy issues for some time. He was widely seen as a dovish voice against Trump’s more hawkish position on issues like China and most importantly, North Korea.
CIA Director Mike Pompeo, the new Secretary of State, sees things eye-to-eye with Trump. And as Trump looks to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in May, that kind of unity is crucial.
Tillerson no match for Trump’s hard-line approach
The left wing media and politicians would have you believe that Trump is not ready to discuss terms face-to-face with Jong-un. Indeed, many have suggested Trump is no match for the crafty North Korean leader.
Yet if the summit goes through, Trump will be the first sitting American president to ever meet with his North Korean counterpart. That’s after Trump threatened to lay waste to the entire country with ‘fire and fury’. And after he called Jong-un ‘short and fat’.
And importantly, it comes after Trump ramped up unilateral sanctions against North Korea, including monitoring and intercepting ships at sea. These sanctions are already biting, cutting off badly needed funding for Jong-un’s regime.
Decades of soft diplomacy by former US presidents and their Western allies have done nothing to prevent North Korea pursuing its nuclear weapons ambitions.
But just one year of unconventional hardball backed by credible military threats from Trump, has seen Jong-un blink. North Korea has indicated it is finally open to discussing denuclearisation, a key US demand.
Heading to the negotiating table, Trump didn’t need Tillerson, a dovish Secretary of State at his side. He needs Pompeo, a fellow hawk, willing to stare down Jong-un. And to back tough words with action, if need be.
This is the only kind of diplomacy Jong-un appears to understand. And if Trump can get the North to abandon their nukes, he’ll have succeeded where everyone else has failed.
And he’ll have made the world a safer place.