Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson is by all accounts a shrewd, pragmatic, and successful dealmaker. In another administration, he might have made an excellent secretary of State. Serving a president with a strong moral grounding and certain fixed principles, he might have been successful in sanding off the rough edges and making the compromises necessary to get things done. But under Donald Trump, a man of few if any discernible principles beyond a desire for self-aggrandizement, he would be a dangerous choice because his role will be not just to implement policy but—more than most previous secretaries of State—to shape it.
Election hacks and Russia-friendly nominees pose a historic choice of party or principle. The test for Republicans is how they will react given that Trump has publicly pondered the possibility of lifting all sanctions on Russia, has appointed as his national security adviser a retired general who had recently been seen dining with Putin and as his secretary of State an executive who had received an Order of Friendship from Putin.
Max Boot argues that Petraeus would be a superbly qualified secretary of state—one who already has more diplomatic experience than most of those previously selected for this position. And far from giving a pro-war tilt to the new administration, Petraeus would be an important restraint on a president who has spoken far too freely of bombing various countries and of torturing terrorists.
Donald Trump’s meeting with Mitt Romney this weekend has fueled speculation that the 2012 Republican presidential nominee may be Mr. Trump’s choice for secretary of state. If the president-elect makes the offer, Mr. Romney ought to be ready with a list of conditions for taking the job.
The president of the United States has vast power—nearly unlimited in the realm of foreign affairs. He can order U.S. troops into combat. He can bomb any country he wants. He can round up illegal immigrants. He can spy on millions of people. Soon all that power will be in the hands of Donald J. Trump, hardly the most sober and restrained individual ever to occupy the Oval Office. Checks and balances on a president's national security powers have never been more important, writes CFR's Max Boot.
Speaker: Joshua B. Bolten Speaker: William M. Daley Speaker: Thomas F. "Mack" McLarty III Presider: Amy S. Davidson
Former White House chiefs of staff discuss the challenges facing the incoming administration as it enters the White House, as well lessons learned from the three previous U.S. presidential transitions.
Modern vice presidents can trace much of their political influence to the broad reforms that Jimmy Carter and Walter Mondale made to the second-highest elected office in the late 1970s, explains this Backgrounder.
Speaker: Priscilla A. Clapp Speaker: Derek J. Mitchell Presider: Paul B. Stares
Priscilla A. Clapp, former U.S. chief of mission to Myanmar (1999-2002), and Derek J. Mitchell, former U.S. ambassador to Myanmar (2012-2016), discussed the country's new government and the challenges it faces in securing the transition to democracy. The speakers reflected on recent changes in Myanmar since the November 2015 election.
The combination of new technologies, the perceived failures of liberal economics and democracy in many developing nations, the rise of modern authoritarians, and the success of some of the best-known state capitalists have created an era ripe for state intervention. In State Capitalism, Joshua Kurlantzick ranges across the world—Brazil, China, Russia, South Africa, Thailand, Turkey, and more—and argues that the increase in state capitalism across the globe has, on balance, contributed to a decline in democracy.
National People's Congress in China passed this law on July 1, 2015. It outlines the government's authority to respond to threats to China's assets and activities in its borders and territories, as well as in cyberspace, space, the deep sea, and polar regions. The law also establishes a national security leadership system for crisis management. On July 6, 2015, the National People's Congress released the text of its proposed Cybersecurity Law that provides additional guidance on technology security standards.
This legislation was introduced to Congress on April 28, 2015, as H.R. 2048 Uniting and Strengthening America by Fulfilling Rights and Ensuring Effective Discipline Over Monitoring Act of 2015. President Obama signed it into law on June 2, 2015. The act is an overhaul of the National Security Council's intelligence gathering program, the largest reform of the program since the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.
In 2015, the United States assumed the Chair of the Arctic Council and President Barack Obama released this executive order for coordinating U.S. federal efforts and priorities in the Arctic and working with Alaska tribal governments on issues of climate change, national security, scientific research, energy, and more.
International leaders and donors met in London on December 4, 2014, and they reviewed the democractically elected government's reform initiatives for fighting corruption and boosting the econommy and its requests for continued financial aid as military troops leave.
In December 20, 2013, the Department of Defense was tasked with reporting improvements on the prevention and response to sexual assault in the military. It released its report on November 25, 2014. NY Senator Karen Gillibrand responded, saying data from the study that indicated that sixty-three percent of victims report being retaliated against for coming forward about their assault.
Learn more about CFR’s mission and its work over the past year in the 2016 Annual Report. The Annual Report spotlights new initiatives, high-profile events, and authoritative scholarship from CFR experts, and includes a message from CFR President Richard N. Haass. Read and download »