Embed from Getty Images
So yesterday I was reading about the White House position on the nerve-agent poisoning of Sergei Skripal et al.:
White House declines to back UK’s assertion that Russia is behind poisonings of ex-spies
Not what you would expect if you believed that the US would stand up for its number-one
lapdog ally, but obviously someone in the White House is concerned about not upsetting the Kremlin. But then there was a report that US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said
Russia is ‘clearly’ behind spy poisoning and ‘must face serious consequences’
This seemed like a significant disagreement. And I thought, either this reflects a change of position — perhaps with more information implicating the Russians — or Rex is freestyling. Presumably Tillerson is speaking for the state department professionals and the White House is speaking for… Well, let’s just say that Vlad would want to see some evidence that Donald hasn’t forgotten who he’s working for. I was expecting there to be some sort of demeaning tweet about Tillerson’s height or his body odour, or something.
And today we have this:
Rex Tillerson Out as Trump’s Secretary of State, Replaced by Mike Pompeo
Weird coincidence. Even if Tillerson’s ouster actually had been planned long in advance, it’s pretty obvious that a small delay would have prevented this appearance of truckling to the Kremlin’s interests. Which means that, whatever else may have motivated this step, that appearance was almost certainly desired.