The Atlantic

The Silence of Rex Tillerson

Sooner or later, someone needs to explain what Trump’s foreign policy is. But the secretary of state does not seem to understand his job.
Source: Kevin Lamarque / Reuters

Updated on April 4 at 4:35 p.m. ET

One would not expect the secretary of defense routinely to inspect the sentries and walk point on patrols, but, in effect, that is what the secretary of state has to do. He is the chief executive of a department numbering in the tens of thousands, and a budget in the tens of billions; but he is also the country’s chief diplomat, charged with conducting negotiations and doing much of the detailed work of American foreign policy. Americans expect him as well to serve as the president’s senior constitutionally accountable adviser on such matters, and as the expositor of an administration’s foreign policy.

It is not unprecedented for a president to install a business executive

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