Foreign Policy Digital

Rex Tillerson Is Underrated

A revisionist assessment of the Trump administration’s beleaguered Secretary of State.

Over the past year, Rex Tillerson seems to have doggedly pursued the title of Worst Secretary of State Ever. The New York Times editorial board accuses him of “making war on diplomacy,” and contributing writer Jason Zengerle’s recent profile of Tillerson was headlined “Rex Tillerson and the Unraveling of the State Department.” Nik Steinberg published a piece in Politico titled “Rex Tillerson Is Running the State Department Into the Ground” and Michael Fuchs at Just Security asks if the department is “being intentionally gutted.” Washington Post blogger and Fletcher School professor Daniel Drezner has raked Tillerson over the coals repeatedly, referring to him as an “unmitigated disaster” and calling on him to resign. Other critics accuse him of being ineffective, isolated, and clueless about America’s role in the world. (Full disclosure: I’ve been part of this critical chorus too.)

The reasons for these lamentations aren’t hard to discern. Top positions around the department remain unfilled, morale is at rock bottom, and experienced senior diplomats are . Tillerson has yet to offer a

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