The purpose of a secretary of state is to be the United States' chief diplomat, putting together deals and avoiding conflicts with as many countries as possible.
With that being the case, I'm not sure there is anybody more qualified for the position than Rex Tillerson.
I have heard all kinds of criticism of Rex Tillerson for being too friendly with certain nations, especially Russia. But I'm not sure I understand these complaints. As CEO of Exxon Mobil, Tillerson has traveled the globe and managed to get deals done with powerful people who can be tough to get along with. Shouldn't this be considered a plus on his resume, not a minus?
Don't get me wrong, that doesn't mean the United States should or will just roll over for anybody with Rex Tillerson at the helm. What it does mean, however, is that the United States will be in the business of making smart deals and avoiding armed conflict.
Russia is a perfect example. Yes, Vladimir Putin is a brutal dictator who has unjustly punished citizens and members of the press who disagree with him. But that doesn't mean just talking to or negotiating with him is a bad thing, nor does it mean we endorse everything he does. It simply means we are willing to talk to potentially hostile nations and try to avoid scenarios that necessitate us getting dragged into yet another needless war.
And what exactly is the alternative, anyway?
Even if we place sanctions on countries, they never have the desired effect. Millions starved due to the sanctions we placed on the Iraqis, and their government merely used that as another propaganda weapon to use in convincing their people we were the enemy. Decades of embargoes on Cuba did nothing to help the suffering of the Cuban people or curb the power and riches of Fidel Castro.
Rex Tillerson understands that and is fully capable of using the diplomatic skills he honed at Exxon Mobil to make sure we don't unnecessarily antagonize anybody while also ensuring American interests are protected at all times.
Yes, he lacks governmental experience, but this is exactly the type of "out of the box" choice that people elected Donald Trump to make. The President-elect, in his infinite wisdom, realizes that a shrewd businessman with great negotiating skills and an incredible Rolodex is more suited to serve America's diplomatic interests than any career bureaucrat could ever be.
And there are some very well-respected people who have worked in the top state department job who agree with me and think he would be perfect for the position.
Said Condoleeza Rice, who was secretary of state under George W. Bush, "Rex Tillerson is an excellent choice for Secretary of State. He will bring to the post remarkable and broad international experience; a deep understanding of the global economy; and a belief in America's special role in the world."
Likewise, James Baker, former secretary of state under George H.W. Bush, said Tillerson would be an "excellent choice" to run the state department, adding, "As CEO of one of the world's largest and best-run companies, has demonstrated the management and negotiating skills, and has the international experience, that are required in the job."
President-elect Trump is already showing us that he isn't going to play the same ridiculous game the politicians in Washington have been playing to our detriment for years. He isn't going to pick people for his cabinet just because the political establishment calls for it.
In fact, just the opposite.
With Rex Tillerson, President-elect Trump has made an unconventional, yet brilliant pick to build and maintain diplomatic relationships around the world while assuring our national interests are always served abroad.
And that's the way it damn well should be.