What will Tillerson's foreign policy look like?
US president elect Trump has nominated Rex Tillerson, CEO of oil giant Exxon Mobil, for the post of secretary of state. The businessman has excellent contacts with Russian President Putin and opposes sanctions against Moscow. Commentators disagree as to whether his appointment is good news or bad.
Europe's security losing priority
MEP Urmas Paet voices concern about US foreign policy under Trump in Eesti Päevaleht:
“From the Estonian point of view the crucial question is how relations between the US and Europe develop. Up to now they have been able to agree on the main questions regarding European security, whether it was Iran's nuclear programme, the fight against the IS, the war in Syria or the sanctions against Russia. … A balance has been sought and found between economic interests and the defence of human rights. Now the risk of economic interests taking precedent over issues that have been important for Europe and the US in recent decades is growing. For example the consensus that Ukraine is a state that has the right to determine its own future.”
Finally a ray of hope in Trump's team
Tillerson's experience in dealing with Russia and the Middle East as Exxon CEO could prove very useful in his new job, the Financial Times points out:
“With the choice of Exxon chief Rex Tillerson for secretary of state, Donald Trump’s core team is in place. ... So long as he divests his ownership in Exxon - he should be judged by his actions in office. He has run a huge organisation with respectable competence, has deep experience in the Middle East and, unlike some of the other candidates for the post, does not seem to be a zealot. An important early test will be sanctions against Russia, which there is no case for weakening.”
Russia no longer the main enemy
The West's relations with Russia need to be fundamentally revised, ABC demands after Tillerson's appointment as US secretary of state:
“The fall of the Berlin Wall, which ended the USSR, brought many benefits, including the liberation of the countries of Eastern Europe. It also left the United States as the only superpower and therefore as the only guarantor of order and security on the planet, which was worrying. … The US's leadership has led to disorder and conflicts everywhere. Its intervention in the Middle East, for example, has been disastrous. … A new era is beginning and everything must be reassessed, first of all the relations with Moscow, which isn't even the main enemy any longer. The main enemy now is Islamic fundamentalism, which has declared war on us. And which also poses a threat to Russia. Couldn't this be an opportunity to join forces against the IS, like in Syria? This would be possible as long as the West stops seeing Russia as an enemy to be destroyed and starts seeing it as a potential ally, and if Putin renounces his plan to rebuild the Soviet empire. Is this what Trump's foreign policy is about?”