Spring is in the air, and so is the scent of betrayal. Donald Trump is reeling after a day of hearings in the House and Reuters has revealed that Trump Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who holds a friendship award from Vladimir Putin, is skipping a NATO meeting in April while planning to fly to Moscow.
The news has filled many with dismay. Rep. Adam Schiff said, “I have to hope that story is not true.” Former U.S. ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul tweeted:
This is fake news right? Skipping NATO meeting to go to Moscow? That can't be true. https://t.co/mUZaQZVmI3
— Michael McFaul (@McFaul) March 21, 2017
As Canadian author Guy Gavriel Kay, an astute observer of American politics said of the news,
“For once, one wants it to be fake.” He went on to connect the dots between the Russia hearings and the decision, adding, “This is destructive behavior. Announced today it looks even worse.”
At a time when Donald Trump is being investigated for acting in collusion with Russia to win the U.S. election, it is impossible to imagine what the administration is thinking if anything.
The two-day meeting in Brussels, Belgium, scheduled for April 5-6, would have been Tillerson’s first with our NATO allies, all 27 of them. The ever-elusive Tillerson has so far managed to avoid giving a press conference and now he’s giving our NATO allies the slip while Vladimir Putin flexes his muscles.
As Media Matters’ Eric Boehlert put it,
“Comey/Rogers JUST spent 8 hrs detailing how Russia tried to hack US election….Tillerson on a mission to make nice w/ Moscow.”
Yes. It’s impossible to believe. But as with so many other bizarre decisions by this administration, it is happening.
The senior Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Rep. Eliot Engel, wasn’t impressed by the news, saying in a statement:
“Donald Trump’s Administration is making a grave error that will shake the confidence of America’s most important alliance and feed the concern that this Administration simply too cozy with (Russian President) Vladimir Putin.
“I cannot fathom why the Administration would pursue this course except to signal a change in American foreign policy that draws our country away from western democracy’s most important institutions and aligns the United States more closely with the autocratic regime in the Kremlin.”
Is Engel right? Is it a sign that he values Russia above our NATO allies? At this point, one has to wonder what message Trump is trying to send.
The Guardian is asking, “Is Rex Tillerson the weakest secretary of state of all time?” He is certainly that. But something darker seems to be at work here.
Or is it that Tillerson owns a holding company in Russia? That between Tillerson and Trump’s business interests in Russia, there are a lot of dollars at stake.
Neither is a good sign for America’s national security interests, let alone that of the many allies depending upon our aid.
We already know how Trump feels about Putin. He has bragged about him often enough. And we can pretty much guess which Trump holds more dear, his profits or our allies.
Hrafnkell Haraldsson, a social liberal with leanings toward centrist politics has degrees in history and philosophy. His interests include, besides history and philosophy, human rights issues, freedom of choice, religion, and the precarious dichotomy of freedom of speech and intolerance. He brings a slightly different perspective to his writing, being that he is neither a follower of an Abrahamic faith nor an atheist but a polytheist, a modern-day Heathen who follows the customs and traditions of his Norse ancestors. He maintains his own blog, A Heathen’s Day, which deals with Heathen and Pagan matters, and Mos Maiorum Foundation www.mosmaiorum.org, dedicated to ethnic religion. He has also contributed to NewsJunkiePost, GodsOwnParty and Pagan+Politics.