Editorials

When a diplomat serves a disruptor, Tillerson gets ‘Trumped’

FILE - In this Sept. 26, 2017, file photo Secretary of State Rex Tillerson pauses at the State Department in Washington. If President Donald Trump and Tillerson are playing ‘good cop, bad co’ with North Korea, it does’t appear to be working: Entreaties of diplomacy aren’t yielding meaningful talks and military threats aren’t scaring Pyongyang into halting its nuclear advance.
FILE - In this Sept. 26, 2017, file photo Secretary of State Rex Tillerson pauses at the State Department in Washington. If President Donald Trump and Tillerson are playing ‘good cop, bad co’ with North Korea, it does’t appear to be working: Entreaties of diplomacy aren’t yielding meaningful talks and military threats aren’t scaring Pyongyang into halting its nuclear advance. AP

Donald Trump was getting high marks – well, relatively speaking – for his handling of recent natural disasters and in his reaction to the tragic murders in Las Vegas – but the president of the United States can’t seem to leave well enough alone. In TrumpWorld, anything goes and in the president’s mind, there are no consequences.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson doubtless enjoys the prestige of being secretary of state after a long and lucrative career in the oil industry (Exxon/Mobil) and he’s trying to do a good job, speaking in measured tones about some of the world’s trouble spots even though he is woefully understaffed. Recently, Tillerson said the right things in indicating talks with North Korea could proceed regarding nuclear weapons and other issues. It’s the smart stance: trying to find a diplomatic solution, or at least a holding pattern, with the government of the unpredictable Kim Jong Un.

But then the president, on yet another weekend jaunt to his New Jersey golf club, tweeted that he told Tillerson “he is wasting his time trying to negotiate with Little Rocket Man. Save your energy, Rex. We’ll do what needs to be done!” Good grief.

Kim is strange to be sure, but he’s not in a sandbox with Trump during recess. He’s a threat to millions of South Koreans, America’s allies, and he’s a neighbor to Russia and China. The military action Trump keeps implying would be catastrophic in a multitude of ways. His secretary of state is working toward a better solution. If only Trump would quit his amateurish bullying.

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