Trump and the Tillerson Trap

By Ehsan Ullah Khan.

Amidst much mudslinging and aspersions, Trump tottered towards victory. The Republican Elephant stamped on the Democratic Donkey as Trump turned the tables on a terrific Tuesday back in November.

Now after the election had been won and the oval office secured, Trump, at that juncture, had an opportunity to relinquish the realms of rabble-rousing, rectify his stance and reemerge as a resurgent reformer.

But would Trump have been Trump if he had chosen to do so?

So in lieu he deemed it better to stay in the limelight for all the wrong reasons. From calling the President of Taiwan and upsetting fragile diplomatic balances to appointing Brietbart’s Bannon as the chief strategist and fostering Far-Right sentiments, Trump successfully cultivated an image of a bull in a china shop. And if that was not enough, Trump recently appointed Exxon’s chief Rex Tillerson as the Secretary of State.

Given Tillerson’s controversial track record at Exxon and his “bromance” with Putin, Trump has again landed himself on thin ice.

From now on every step of Trump’s foreign policy will be scrutinized through the lenses of Tillerson and his firm. If Trump rips apart the Iranian Nuclear Agreement to rein in Tehran, opponents could paint it as an effort to benefit US gas firms by eliminating competition in the global oil markets.

Similarly, any leniency shown towards Russia in terms of sanctions could be portrayed as a sop to US companies like Exxon to do business there.

Even if Trump pressures Nicolas Maduro’s socialist regime of Venzuela, he could easily be accused of exacting payback for the seizure of Exxon assets when the regime nationalized its oil industry.

The commentariat has run the gamut from gloom, that Trump is becoming more of a Useful Idiot, to glee, that Tillerson is a top gun when it comes to deal making. But as it occurs,Trump, in the words of his favorite “Old Blood and Guts”,”Has put his cock in a meat grinder”, the handle of which lies in the hands of just about anyone with a talkative tongue, effective vocabulary and a slight penchant for propaganda.

About Author:

Mr. Ehsan Ullah Khan is associated with School of Economics, Quaid e Azam University.


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