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Mitch Perry Report for 12.13.16 – It’s Rex Tillerson at State. Now what?

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Now that Donald Trump has selected Rex Tillerson, the chief executive of ExxonMobil, as his Secretary of State, perhaps we can take a moment in recent history to look at how influential – or not-  these men and women have been in presidential administrations.

When I think of Madeleine Albright’s tenure with Bill Clinton, I think of her impassioned advocacy for the U.S. intervention into Kosovo. Remember Time Magazine’s cover story, calling it “Madeleine’s War”? 

How about Colin Powell? Sadly, one of the first few paragraphs of his epitaph will be his 2003 speech to the United Nations, laying out the Bush administration’s rationale for war in Iraq. The speech set out to detail Iraq’s weapons program, but as the intelligence would later confirm, the program was nonexistent. Powell himself admitted two years later that it was a “blot on his record.

Condi Rice in the second Bush administration? Have to admit that nothing comes immediately to mind about what impact she had in 2004-2008. I’d say the same thing about Hillary Clinton with the exception of Libya. And no, not Benghazi, which is what she may be remembered for.

No, I’m talking about the intervention in 2011 in Libya to stop Muammar Gaddafi. It was widely reported at the time that it was the triumvirate of Clinton, U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice and NSC aide Samantha Power, who made the case to Barack Obama for military action.

As the NY Times reported, “In joining Ms. Rice and Ms. Power, Mrs. Clinton made an unusual break with Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates, who, along with the national security adviser, Thomas E. Donilon, and the counterterrorism chief, John O. Brennan, had urged caution. Libya was not vital to American national security interests, the men argued, and Mr. Brennan worried that the Libyan rebels remained largely unknown to American officials, and could have ties to Al Qaeda.”

John Kerry does have the controversial Iran nuclear deal on his CV. He’s also worked tirelessly traveling the world on climate change policy.

As the CEO of one of the biggest corporations in the world, Mr. Tillerson is undoubtedly “a player,” as Trump has labeled him.

There are so many questions about how the Trump foreign policy team of Tillerson/James Mattis/Michael Flynn will act vis a vis China, Russia, the Middle East, Syria, etc. Tillerson ain’t Mitt Romney, but he’s not John Bolton or Rudy Giuliani, either. All that means is we sort of have an idea about how those gentlemen’s worldviews, whereas we don’t know that about Tillerson.

In other news..

More than two dozen women showed in downtown Tampa to protest the upcoming Donald Trump presidency.

The Hillsborough County House delegation received their committee assignments, or in some cases, learned that they were chairing a committee.

Tampa Bay Times investigative reporter Anthony Cormier is leaving the paper to work in BuzzFeed News’ investigative division.

And believe it or not, Lyft says that they’ve contributed nearly $12 million to the Tampa economy by being in existence here.

Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served as five years as the political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. He also was the assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley. He's a San Francisco native who has now lived in Tampa for 15 years and can be reached at [email protected]

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