Is Tillerson to Blame for Foggy Bottom’s Funk, or Is It Deeper Institutional Issues?

Is Tillerson to Blame for Foggy Bottom’s Funk, or Is It Deeper Institutional Issues?
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson at a press conference in Mexico City, Feb. 23, 2017 (AP photo by Rebecca Blackwell).

It’s abundantly clear that the State Department is underperforming. The quiet demeanor of the new secretary of state, Rex Tillerson; the vacancies in nearly all the second- and third-tier positions; and the intention of the White House to curtail State’s capacity to be an effective player in national security have converged to marginalize this key institution. Can one conclude that Tillerson is complicit in this shift of fortunes, or are there underlying problems that matter more than the man at the top? As Trump’s approach to foreign policy evolves, the concerns about the role of the State Department—and the new […]

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