There are HUNDREDS of State Department jobs that are unfilled…..
Politico reports that Tillerson, who has NO government experience is running his show by relying on a elect few people….
American Foreign Policy seems to be up to Trump with tweets and Defense Sec. Mattis who has the assignment of going abroad and asking heads of states to disregard Trump’s random comments, while he and others make sure things run almost the same as with President Obama…
Oh, I DO remember Tillerson’s early comments that he REALLY didn’t want his job…
Tillerson is also deeply distrustful of Obama/Kerry holdovers in his agency…..
When former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who successfully promoted Rex Tillerson for her old job during the presidential transition, tried to reach him last month, it was an aide to his chief of staff Margaret Peterlin who called back, asking what Rice wanted to discuss.
The episode illustrates the difficulty even close allies are having reaching Tillerson, a diplomatic and political novice, as they try to help him find his footing at the State Department. While the former ExxonMobil chief has developed a close relationship with President Donald Trump, he hasn’t done the same with his own staff or experienced outside advisers, choosing instead to lean heavily on Peterlin and policy chief Brian Hook, according to 11 current and former administration officials as well as national security experts who interact regularly with the department.
The officials say the pair, friends who worked together in the George W. Bush administration, have cut career staff out of decision-making in an attempt to combat the sort of leaks that have hobbled the White House — and have isolated Tillerson from some of the people who could help him succeed. It’s a setup that risks limiting his effectiveness as he learns the arts of Washington politics and global diplomacy, State Department veterans warned.
“Since he doesn’t come with the kind of background [of George] Shultz or Condi Rice or Colin Powell or Warren Christopher, he is particularly in need of being sure he can mobilize the expertise that is in the State Department,” said L. Paul Bremer, who served as chief of staff to former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and worked for five other secretaries of state.
Tillerson is intentionally relying on a small cadre of trusted advisers. The secretary of state asked Peterlin to build “a small team to get him through the first few months,” said State Department spokesman R.C. Hammond….
The lack of Trump appointees at the State Department’s regional desks and embassies, and the sidelining of many career diplomats, has added pressure on Hook’s office to develop policy for Tillerson.
It’s also led foreign governments to seek out other avenues of communication. Trump has nominated only a handful of U.S. ambassadors, and some countries have responded simply by reaching out directly to Hook or to other White House officials, including Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner.
Compounding the problem is what sources described as Hook’s distrust of career officials suspected of leaking unflattering stories about Tillerson to the media. “Brian doesn’t really trust any of the civil servants, so he tries to do it all himself,” said one person in regular touch with State Department officials. At one point, Hook tasked an official with an economics portfolio to draft a memo summarizing the U.S. fight against the Islamic State.
Some State Department officials who have been cut out of the policymaking process have told colleagues they believe it is because they are suspected of being Hillary Clinton supporters.
Others say asking senior aides who were deeply and visibly supportive of an array of Obama-era foreign policy initiatives — including the Iran deal — to reverse, modify, or unwind those initiatives, is difficult if not impossible….
The result of Tillerson’s action to stay small has been to cede power and influence over traditional State Debt territory to the White House and other cabinet departments ….
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