Some time back, news of President Donald Trump considering the dismissal of his secretary of state Rex Tillerson was leaked. And despite Trump’s denial, the speculations were true. Trump dismissed his eccentric foreign minister, who had entered politics from the back door and could not tell the difference between diplomacy and running a giant oil company.
This is not an accusation. In fact, he admitted to the New York Times that when he was president of the giant ExxonMobil company, he was used to having the last word. Thus, he became frustrated and bored as the head of the US diplomacy, because he only submitted recommendations and did not have the authority to take the decision, since that power lied with Trump.
The bottom line is that Trump is attracting experienced Republican hawks, like Mike Pompeo and John Bolton, which implies that he is forming a “war cabinet”, which is bad news for Tehran's clerics and all the countries that support terrorismAhmad al-Farraj
Dismissing Tillerson, McMaster
Although he was meant to be the leader of diplomacy, Tillerson crossed the line when he called Trump a “moron” at a private meeting. This was leaked to the media and Tillerson did not explicitly deny it. Perhaps his isolation proved advantageous for him, as he didn’t accomplish anything notable on all the problematic issues, and he was more of an obstacle on the issue of the Gulf crisis.
Soon after, Trump dismissed National Security Adviser Herbert McMaster, a general who had served in the Second Gulf War, and in the Iraq invasion. No one really knows exactly why he was dismissed, but it seems that he didn’t see eye to eye with Trump on certain issues, just like Tillerson.
It’s hard for the president to confront problematic and difficult issues with a non-cooperative team. The national security adviser, the secretary of state, and the defense secretary are pillars that constitute the triangle of the US decision-making process, with the support of security and intelligence institutions.
Perhaps the main reason for the isolation of McMaster was his position on the nuclear agreement with Iran as he did not support the agreement, but believed it to be the best option at the time. Trump, however, believed that the agreement was unfair to the United States and its allies, and that Obama executed it in great haste. Trump thus insisted on making amendments to it or repealing it altogether.
Trump has since chosen experienced politician and Republican hawk John Bolton as national security adviser. He is a lawyer who has served in many positions, serving as assistant attorney general for the Civil Division under President Ronald Reagan and worked with President Bush Sr. as assistant secretary of state for International Organization Affairs. He also served as undersecretary of state for Arms Control and International Security Affairs in the Bush Jr. administration.
But his most important role was his work as an American ambassador to the United Nations, also under the Bush Jr. administration. He is a researcher at many prestigious research institutions, especially the conservative ones. He is known as a conservative and a patriotic politician, and nicknamed as a “war hawk” because of his support for all the wars waged by the United States.
He also calls, without hesitation, for regime change in Iran and North Korea. The bottom line is that Trump is attracting experienced Republican hawks, like Mike Pompeo and John Bolton, which implies that he is forming a “war cabinet”, which is bad news for Tehran's clerics and all the countries that support terrorism.
This article is also available in Arabic.
Dr. Ahmad al-Farraj is a Saudi writer with al-Jazirah daily. He holds a Masters degree in literature from the University of Indiana and a PhD in Linguistics from the University of Michigan. He was the Dean of the Arabic Language Institute in King Saud University and a member of the university’s council. He tweets under @amhfarraj.