On Geopolitics

An Oilman's Guide to Foreign Affairs

Matthew Bey
Senior Global Analyst, Stratfor
Dec 27, 2016 | 08:00 GMT
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson of the Trump administration
Despite his lack of diplomatic experience, Rex Tillerson, CEO and chairman of ExxonMobil, has an intimate knowledge of power dynamics in some of the world's most volatile regions that he could draw on if confirmed as the next U.S. secretary of state.
(ERIC PIERMONT/AFP/Getty Images)

Regardless of politics, everyone seems to agree that Donald Trump will be an unconventional president. It comes as little surprise, then, that many of his picks for Cabinet posts are also unorthodox. Chief among these selections is Rex Tillerson, the CEO of ExxonMobil and Trump's nominee for secretary of state. At first glance, Tillerson may seem a strange choice to fill Washington's top diplomatic post; after all, the past several secretaries of state have had previous experience serving in government or diplomacy. But Tillerson's experiences in the oil and gas industry have doubtless prepared him for the weighty and often delicate duties of the job. Though he lacks a diplomatic track record, Tillerson's actions as head of the world's largest oil company bespeak a pragmatism and view of reality that will guide him -- and the future of U.S. foreign policy -- if he is confirmed....

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