Laying out his policy positions as the nominee for secretary of state, Rex Tillerson set out a vision which appeared aimed at keeping US hostility toward Russia largely intact, declaring Russia a “danger” and insisting that he supports keeping sanctions in place against Russia.
A former Exxon-Mobil CEO, many in Congress were opposed to Tillerson on the grounds that his company had done business in Russia in the past. This was exacerbated by President-elect Donald Trump seeking improved relations with Russia, which Senate hawks loudly oppose.
Tillerson’s hostility toward Russia, and his complaints Obama’s hostility toward Russia was “weak,” might improve his position with Senate officials who want to keep the “New Cold War” policy going. At the same time, Tillerson conceded he hasn’t even talked about Russia policy with Trump.
That’s a shocking admission, since most of his nomination hearing is centered heavily on Russia, and Trump has made normalization of ties with Russia a top priority for his foreign policy. It is hard to imagine, then, that Trump would not have broached the subject before nominating someone to run the State Department.