Yuri Rogulev: "Pompeo will be more flexible Secretary of State than Tillerson"
The recent resignation of US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and his replacement by CIA head Mike Pompeo became the international event of the week. Vestnik Kavkaza spoke with the director of the Franklin D. Roosevelt Center for the Study of the US at the M.V. Lomonosov Moscow State University, Yuri Rogulev, about what is behind this decision and what are the most probable consequences of Tillerson's replacement for Russia and the world.
- Yuri Nikolayevich, the rumors about the resignation of Rex Tillerson circulated actively in the media for the last six months. In your estimation, what made President Donald Trump fire him at last?
- Among such factors, I see the upcoming meeting with the leader of North Korea, which Trump approved and Tillerson was not aware of because he had previously been skeptical about the possibility of the direct negotiations between Washington and Pyongyang due to the improper conditions. It is likely that the disagreement over North Korea was simply the last straw that led to the break between Trump and Tillerson. Let me remind you, that for a long time, Trump stated that he was going to attack Pyongyang while Tillerson was in for long negotiations and tried to establish the diplomatic contacts. Then, when this work was done, Trump pushed the Secretary of State aside and appointed a meeting with Kim Jong-un by himself. Tillerson objected due to the inadequate elaboration of the future negotiations, and this exacerbated problems in their relations. Since Trump wanted to see only like-minded people at a meeting with the North Korean delegation, he could come to the conclusion that it was necessary to dismiss Tillerson.
- In your opinion, why was CIA head Mike Pompeo chosen to this post?
- The leadership of the US intelligence is not necessarily a negative factor for the US foreign policy relations. For example, President George Bush Sr also headed the CIA but became well-known as a president. First of all, Mike Pompeo is a professional politician who was a member of the House of Representatives of the US Congress before joining the CIA. He is a well-known right-wing politician, close to the Tea Party. What is more important, he has established the long-standing contacts with the president, he is Trump’s supporter who stood by him during the election campaign. Donald Trump said that they were on the same wavelength, and in this regard, it will be much easier and more convenient for the president to communicate with Pompeo as the State Secretary rather than with Tillerson.
- In this regard, what changes in the foreign policy and activities of the State Department should be expected under Secretary of State Mike Pompeo?
- On the one hand, he is a hawkish politician, more rigid in relation to Russia. But, on the other hand, unlike Tillerson, he is a true professional in politics, which means that in any case he will trim his sails to the prevailing wind and react to events, primarily as a politician, and not as an ordinary person adhering to clear and rigid ideological convictions. And in this regard, we should expect that Pompeo will take a much more flexible position. This is proved by the fact that recently, he met with the top leadership of the Russian special services. The meeting was secretly held in the US. Exactly Pompeo discussed with the Russian high-level delegation the issues of the bilateral relations. Moreover, Mike Pompeo stated that he was ready to cooperate with the Russian authorities on the issues important for the US.