As the CEO of Exxon, Rex Tillerson had more contact with global heads of state than most US Senators and more than some Foreign Ministers. His relationship with Russia and with President Vladimir Putin is well known. Russia had awarded businessman Tillerson Russia’s Order of Friendship to thank him for his positive business relations with Russia.
As Donald Trump’s Secretary of State, Tillerson has often been a lone voice of reason in a Washington dominated by ideologies. His technical subordinate, America’s Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley often proffers US policy that is vastly more radical and militant in comparison to the statements from Rex Tillerson. This has led many to speculate that Tillerson may be contemplating resignation.
In spite of this, Tillerson has often been seen as in a deeply compromised position as the Trump White House continues to lack any singular clarity on its foreign policy trajectory.
This has led Vladimir Putin to say the following during the course of the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok,
“We once awarded the Order of Friendship to… Mr. Tillerson, but he seems to have got into bad company and to be somewhat moving in the other direction. But I hope that the wind of cooperation, friendship and interaction will finally bring him to the right path”.
Currently, America doesn’t seem to have any path in foreign policy at all, with or without Rex Tillerson remembering his old friendship with Russia.