July 6, 2020

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s Failures and Nikki Haley’s Successes

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s Failures and Nikki Haley’s Successes

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s Failures and Nikki Haley’s Successes

The ouster of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was long overdue. He was not a team player in the Trump administration. To the contrary, during his tenure, Mr. Tillerson moved further and further apart from President Trump’s thinking on critical foreign policy issues. He would have done well to follow the example of U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, rather than try unsuccessfully at times to undercut her.

Mr. Tillerson, for example, favored recertification of Iran’s compliance with the disastrous Obama-era nuclear deal with Iran, which President Trump vehemently opposed. Mr. Tillerson’s continued rear-guard efforts to save the Iran nuclear deal may have been the last straw. Indeed, President Trump specifically referred to this disagreement in explaining his decision to remove Mr. Tillerson. “When you look at the Iran deal, I think it’s terrible, I guess he thought it was OK,” the president said. “So we were not really thinking the same.”

Ambassador Haley has repeatedly expressed her disdain for the Iranian regime

Ambassador Haley has repeatedly expressed her disdain for the Iranian regime and used her platform at the UN repeatedly to hold the regime to account for its ballistic missile tests, aid to Yemen in violation of a UN Security Council arms embargo resolution, state sponsorship of terrorism, and its attempts to establish a permanent military presence inside Syria.

Mr. Tillerson was willing to give the Iranian regime the benefit of the doubt in terms of its reported compliance with the nuclear deal known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and soft pedal its broader pattern of bad behavior. Not so Ambassador Haley. “The undeniable fact is that the Iranian behavior is growing worse” since the nuclear accord was signed, Ambassador Haley said last December, as she displayed parts of a ballistic missile that she claimed Iran had delivered to Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen. “The weapons might as well have ‘Made in Iran’ stickers on them,” Ambassador Haley said. “Its ballistic missiles and advanced weapons are turning up in war zones across the region.”

On September 5, 2017, Ambassador Haley delivered a speech to the American Enterprise Institute outlining her view of how to decertify the Iranian regime’s purported compliance with the JCPOA without walking away from it. She acknowledged the dilemma that “the deal was constructed in a way that makes leaving it less attractive. It gave Iran what it wanted up-front, in exchange for temporary promises to deliver what we want.” At the same time, she pointed out that the question of Iranian compliance is “not just about the technical terms of the nuclear agreement. It requires a much more thorough look.”

First, Ambassador Haley described the Iranian regime’s pattern of outlaw behavior in violation of international law since its founding in 1979, including its past trail of broken promises to abide by international inspections and limits regarding its nuclear program. Then, she explained the JCPOA’s critical flaws, including the absence of “anytime, anywhere” inspections of suspected sites in Iran. Iran’s leaders have stated publicly that they will refuse to allow International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspections of their military sites, rendering the JCPOA’s inspection regime an utter farce. She cited examples of violations by the Iranian regime related to its exceeding its allowable limit of heavy water that went unpunished. Moreover, even if the regime were to comply with respect to the current limits placed on uranium enrichment, advanced centrifuges and certain other nuclear-related activities, they only need to wait ten years to crank up their nuclear program to full production. Finally, the Iranian regime has repeatedly violated provisions in the UN Security Council resolution endorsing the JCPOA relating to the development and testing of ballistic missiles capable of deploying nuclear warheads.

Source: Canada Free Press

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