US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has held an apparently amiable phone conversation with Russian Foreign Minster Sergey Lavrov. The nature of the phone call speaks to the fact that in spite of the general chaos in Washington, Tillerson remains committed to diplomatic contacts with his Russian counterpart, with whom he has generally had respectful relations, in spite of continued US hostility towards the Russian Federation.
According to a statement from the Russian Foreign Ministry,
“Lavrov stressed the inadmissibility of the escalation of tensions on the Korean peninsula, which is being provoked by US military preparations in the region, and called for resolution of the contradictions exclusively by diplomatic means.
The sides exchanged views on the situation in Syria, including the prospects of the Russia-US collaboration to provide the functioning of the de-escalation zones and promote the process of political settlement.
When considering the situation in bilateral relations, Lavrov once again stressed demand on the return of illegally seized objects of the Russian diplomatic property, and highlighted that Russia reserves the right to legal proceedings and retaliatory measures”.
This mutually respectful conversation contrasts sharply with the open row between Donald Trump and Rex Tillerson, which shows no signs of abating.
After reports emerged which claim that Rex Tillerson called Donald Trump a “moron” and by some accounts, a “fucking moron”, Tillerson refused to deny the claims. Instead Tillerson simply denied rumours he is on the verge of quitting his post.
While Donald Trump also refuted the “moron” claims, in a statement published today by Forbes magazine and widely reported throughout the media, Donald Trump has challenged Tillerson to an IQ test, ostensibly to prove that he is not a “moron”.
“I think it’s fake news, but if he did that, I guess we’ll have to compare IQ tests….and I can tell you who is going to win”.
With many suspecting that the United States is on the verge of pulling out of the JCPOA (aka the Iran nuclear deal) against the wishes of the entire world, except for Israel, it would appear both inappropriate and ultimately detrimental for the President of the United States to continue an open row with his chief diplomat.
Tillerson has yet to respond to the IQ challenge. It is doubtful that he will.