While much of the dialogue and stern expressions were originally pre-planned optics – for Putin, likely to stall the Russian People’s growing contempt for his domestic infidelities while for Tillerson, an opportunity to demonstrate that both he and the President’s Russia-Connections, whatever they may have been, where checked at the door of Public Office – it’s fair to say that Tillerson’ s first venture into the world of Russian geopolitical orthodoxy required no re-write of the pre-planned script.
Whatever influence-credits Secretary Tillerson may have accumulated while in his previous role as CEO of Exon-Mobil, in his current role, they’ve clearly no redemption value. Tillerson came face to face with a Russian Tutorial on U.S. Clandestine Operations a majority of which, I’m certain, the U.S. Secretary of State is learning of for the very first time, the consequence of which placed him in an awkward, if not completely, weakened position.
The takeaway was and is simply this: To gain any sort of strategic relationship with the Russians the U.S. has three choices: Go it alone, go head-to-head or give way on several policy issues, e.g., Sanctions or NATO positions on Russia’s Euro-boarder.
Russia understands the limits of conventional military power while U.S. Hawks simply don’t care to learn the same lesson and for this reason the Russian’s, and the Chinese, are happy to let the U.S. stumble about the planet.
The entire scenario could change quite dramatically if Trump could pivot smartly with respect to N. Korea by enlisting both Russia and China in the process of unifying the Korean Peninsula. I expect that over the coming weeks and months you will hear more chatter on this approach. Let’s hope so.
Curtis C. Greco, Founder