Texas Millionaire, Bachelor of Science and Oil Executive
Exxon Mobil Corporation is important. It is no less than our very own East India Company. It starts and fights wars in distant regions of the globe for profit. And its former president has been appointed our secretary of state. I think this is brilliant.
Who on earth knows foreign policy better than Rex Tillerson? It certainly is not one of the countless sacred cows of the Republican-Democratic party establishment who spent their careers perpetuating the myth that politicians coming from the legal profession are the only people who can run an agency. In fact, I would say the opposite is true. Lawyers are like cubicle accountants. They aren’t leaders. They’re worker bees. Lawyers are most useful when tucked away in an office somewhere until you need to summon them for their skills in wordplay. They should never give speeches. They should never be military leaders and they should never under any circumstance be allowed to decide anything. The president of the United States seems to understand this. Just because the selection of Tillerson flies in the face of the conventional wisdom to which we’ve become accustomed over the years does not make the selection a bad one. Even our first real secretary of state, Thomas Jefferson, had served as the American minister to France (the most-powerful country in the world at the time and our biggest ally). How many secretaries of state in recent years have spent any time as an ambassador to an important foreign country? Meanwhile, Rex Tillerson has done business in many countries. That means he’s usually skipped the nonsensical photo-ops of political fronts and made deals in the bloody “engine rooms” of nations.
No, he’s not a foreign-policy “academic”. Nor is he an ugly political geek from Washington who craves the spotlight. He’s made more money for a company than anyone could dream. He controlled the sources of oil in remote desert countries and kept other foreign governments dependent on the US. Yes, some bones were crushed and fed into the proverbial fires so that Americans could have less-expensive fuel. But that was incidental. And in return for these services, the shareholders and board of directors of Exxon Mobil made him rich.
Now our former president of the American East India Company has come to Washington to manage our many embassies, consulates and to execute America’s foreign policy and negotiate trade deals. His is our most-effective branch of the intelligence community. He’ll be in a position of knowing what the people of other nations want to buy.
Once upon a time Tillerson would call on the US State Department for support in arbitrating property disputes overseas or in funneling money to foreign governments to allow him to do business. Now it will be his responsibility to preside over the distribution of foreign aid as our Briber-in-Chief. And against those powerful nations with which the US has no leverage, I trust Tillerson’s business acumen will make him a far-better negotiator than any Washington insider.
As in the case with the president, Tillerson is a man who once controlled politicians. He might personally like some of them, but he could not possibly have a high estimate of their importance. And this is one reason why they hate him. The other reason is jealousy. He’s a free man. While so many lawyer politicians and parvenus in Washington must play the silly game of worshipping demos, Tillerson can be himself. He never needs to steal center stage, to smile constantly or to glad-hand or try to appear sympathetic, tough or folksy. He’s not and never has been after people’s votes. Politics is a lot like being a celebrity. Both professions, while having their perks, come at a high cost of one’s dignity. A man on television adored by millions might be rich and live a comfortable personal life. And this is probably what gets him through those moments when he must wear a grizzly bear costume and ride a unicycle on stage while a studio audience laughs at him. Rex Tillerson, on the other hand, is respected by Americans because he can always keep his dignity. He generated capital; money, the most important thing in America. During his Senate confirmation hearing, the half-hearted questioning by the political hacks running the country said it all. The embarrassment was written all over their faces as they tried to walk the fine line of trying to look tough to the press while trying not to annoy a man a hundred times more useful than any of them.