March 31, 2017

For Tillerson, Showing Up at NATO Isn’t Enough

By Julianne Smith and Jim Townsend

Bowing to outside pressure, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is set to attend his first meeting with NATO’s foreign ministers on Friday. But that was not his initial plan. Scheduling problems originally gave the secretary of state two bad options: go to NATO and miss Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to the United States (not good, given criticism that he is already turning into a no-show secretary) or stay home and send acting Deputy Secretary of State Thomas Shannon (sending the signal, “I see enough of you guys and NATO is a second tier priority”).

These scheduling conflicts happen all the time and usually get worked out. But here’s the kicker — NATO offered new dates and the State Department initially said no thanks. That message from Tillerson — essentially, “I’ll see you after my trip to Moscow” — got everyone riled up. The Swamp rose up as one in protest and sent Tillerson a strong counter message: You don’t see allies only after you’ve seen the Russians!

A few hours later State backed down. And so Tillerson will be in Brussels this Friday, no doubt miffed and with hat in hand. The lesson here is that leadership means showing up. While other ministers can opt out, that is not an option for the United States.

Read the full article at Foreign Policy.

  • Podcast
    • January 24, 2020
    Ilan Goldenberg Recaps the Iran Crisis

    Ilan Goldenberg, Senior Fellow and Director of the Middle East Security Program at CNAS, joins Andrea Kendall-Taylor and Jim Townsend to discuss the fallout from Qassem Soleim...

    By Andrea Kendall-Taylor, Jim Townsend & Ilan Goldenberg

  • Podcast
    • January 17, 2020
    Rose Gottemoeller on NATO, Arms Control, and a Career in Civil Service

    Rose Gottemoeller, former Deputy Secretary General of NATO, joins Andrea Kendall-Taylor and Jim Townsend to discuss the the state of the Alliance, arms control, and the challe...

    By Andrea Kendall-Taylor, Jim Townsend & Rose Gottemoeller

  • Commentary
    • Foreign Policy
    • January 17, 2020
    Putin Is Following the Game Plan of Other Autocrats Before Him

    All of the sudden, the transition of power in Russia has begun. In his annual state of the nation speech on Jan. 15, Russian President Vladimir Putin surprised many by proposi...

    By Andrea Kendall-Taylor

  • Podcast
    • January 16, 2020
    The entire Russian government just resigned

    Zack, Jenn, and Alex talk about the recent resignation of Russia’s entire government — yes, you read that right. Guest Andrea Kendall-Taylor helps the team get a hold on...

    By Andrea Kendall-Taylor

View All Reports View All Articles & Multimedia