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Tillerson sacking: New dynamics in the State Department

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14.03.2018

Albert Camus once wrote: "a man is undone by waiting for capital punishment well before he dies." That's how outgoing Secretary of State Rex Tillerson felt for most of a tenure that lasted nearly 15 months. Regular White House leaks have hinted since last year about his looming departure until President Donald Trump pulled the trigger yesterday in a tweet as Tillerson was making his way back home from an African tour.

It is safe to say that no secretary of state in modern US history has been humiliated by the president as much as Tillerson was by Trump. Former Secretary of State Collin Powell may come as a distant second since he was given the dignity of submitting his resignation and announcing his departure after strong disagreements with the White House and the Pentagon over handling the 2003 US invasion of Iraq.

One cannot talk about "Tillersonism" or pin down a list of achievements that are specifically credited to the 69th secretary of state. His legacy is one of challenging the president's unconventional stances and subsequently paying the political price. Tillerson's biggest asset in the past 15 months has been his alliance with three Marine generals who are handling foreign policy: Defense Secretary James Mattis, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Joseph Dunford and White House Chief of Staff General John Kelly.

These generals threw him a lifeline to remain in power despite his numerous reprimands of Trump. In August 2017, Tillerson said "the president speaks for himself" when Trump initially defended the white supremacist march........

© Al Jazeera