Secretary Tillerson delivering a speech written for him by neocons in the State Department.
(Image by U.S. Department of State) Details DMCA
In a New York Times editorial today, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson tried as hard as he could to put a smiley face of the Trump administrations schizophrenic, disjointed and jingoistic foreign policy of 2017. He praised his, and Donald Trump's nonexistent progress in "pushing" the world in a more peaceful direction. The opposite is true.
The world is more dangerous today than it was a year ago. Most discouraging of all is that the world is closer to a nuclear war today. The Doomsday Clock has been steadily ticking away. At the end of the Cold War the Doomsday clock was reset to 17 minutes until Midnight. Under Democratic President Clinton the clock advanced 8 minutes (47%). Under Republican President Bush Jr. it advanced 4 minutes (44%). Under Democratic President Obama it advanced 2 minutes (40%). So far Trump has squandered 30 seconds. Trump and Congress are going ahead with spending Obama's authorized $1 Trillion to increase nuclear armaments more. The US has its head deeply buried in sand up to its butt.
Instead of the Trump administration facing real threats in the world, the US has continued to invent new ones. The top US threats that the US faced according to Trump's is supposed North Korea, Russia, and international terrorism. Tillerson claims progress with all. The opposite is true. The real priorities of nuclear war, climate change, and catastrophic region-wide war in Western Asia, millions of worldwide war casualties, war refugees, and poverty are being ignored or made worse. The US puts "all options on the table" except diplomacy.
Tillerson leads his editorial with North Korea, a country that has not been aggressive or expansionist in centuries. North Korea has been begging the US to come to the negotiation table. All North Korea is asking for is what every other country has a right to. North Korea wants a final peace treaty to resolve the Korean War that ended armed conflict in 1953 with only and armistice. It wants the US to stop its 70 years of threatening it with nuclear weapons. North Korea wants a halt to massive US military exercises on its border. And North Korea wants a mutual non-aggression pact that has enforcement guarantees. And it wants the US to halt its regime change project.
Instead the US State Department talks out of both sides of its mouth saying that North Korea refuses to come to the negotiating table, and from the other side of its mouth that the US refuses to negotiate with North Korea unless it "changes its behavior". The demand that a country "change its behavior" is meaningless and degrading. It is just using the same old Obama lingo to refuse to negotiate.
Instead Tillerson brags that the US has been able to further isolate and corner North Korea, leaving it no alternatives other than capitulation to US dictates, or continuing with taking its self-defense deadly seriously. What Tillerson calls accomplishments with North Korea are economic sanctions which have proven again and again to not resolve any diplomatic issues, but instead inflict enormous harm and death, especially to children. Sanctions, embargoes and blockades are acts of war, not steps towards peaceful diplomacy.
The US conveniently ignores the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NNPT) that it is a violation for a country that has nuclear weapons to threaten a non-nuclear country. Because of a history of 70 years of the US threatening to use nuclear bombs against North Korea, they have every right under international law to arm themselves with a nuclear program and the means to deliver it in self defense. It is the US that needs to "change its behavior".
Tillerson says that he has made progress with China by pressuring it to influence North Korea. The rest of Tillerson's supposed diplomatic accomplishments with China are just mumblings about "trade imbalances, intellectual property theft and China's troubling military activities in the South China Sea and elsewhere". No specifics are mentioned except to say that "China could do more". He does not even pretend any diplomatic accomplishments with China.
On Russia Tillerson says: "we have no illusions about the regime we are dealing with. The United States today has a poor relationship with a resurgent Russia that has invaded its neighbors Georgia and Ukraine in the last decade and undermined the sovereignty of Western nations by meddling in our election and others'." Tillerson's State Department must live in the fantasy world. It was the US that destabilized Ukraine with a regime change project under Obama/Clinton, and it was Georgia that attacked Abkhazia and South Ossetia starting the Russia-Georgia war, probably at the instigation of the US neocons during the 2008 US elections. Since then Russia and Georgia have been steadily improving relations since 2010, with no help from the US. The two countries again allow visa free travel and have much improved diplomatic relations. As for Ukraine, the US has dropped its fig leaf of "non-lethal military aid" and is now openly sending lethal military weapons to Kiev to kill its own citizens. Tillerson is just making it up when he says that Russia needs to honor the Minsk Agreement, when it is the US puppet government Ukraine that refuses to honor it. As for Russia meddling in US elections it is just a US propaganda ploy.
What else? International terrorism? The US now claims success in defeating ISIS after many years of frustration, while it was Russia that stepped in to aid Syria crushed ISIS terrorism within months. Remember the video proof of endless convoys of oil tankers on their way to Turkey that the US was blind to? It is now common knowledge that international terrorism is state supported by the US and its allies Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and the Gulf States.
Iran? Trump has trashed one of the few significant achievements towards peace by Obama. Reorganizing the Agency for International Development? It now just does overtly what the CIA used to do covertly. What else has Tillerson accomplished? Not much.
Tillerson says that he wakes up every morning asking himself: "How can I and my colleagues at the State Department use diplomacy to prevent people around the world from being killed, wounded or deprived of their rights?" It is the US that has been doing most of the killing, wounding, and depriving people of their human rights.
Tillerson need not wake up too early each morning. It is not all Tillerson's fault, though. His hands have been tied. He has been the least warmonger at the Department of State for decades. For that I give him a lot of credit. He probably won't last at State much longer.