Trump's ex-secretary of state says he is leaving Biden with a foreign policy nightmare

Trump's ex-secretary of state says he is leaving Biden with a foreign policy nightmare
Rex Tillerson // Office of the President-elect (2017)

Since being fired from Donald Trump's administration, former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has been vehemently critical of the president's decisions. Tillerson, in an interview with Foreign Policy published this week, offered insights on some of the global challenges that President-elect Joe Biden will be facing after he is sworn into office.

Tillerson, not unlike former National Security Adviser John Bolton, has described Trump as a low-information president — and Tillerson stressed during the interview that the outgoing president is leaving behind a foreign policy mess.

Discussing U.S. adversaries that include dictator Kim Jong Un and Russia, Tillerson told Foreign Policy: "We squandered the best opportunity we had on North Korea. It was just blown up when he took the meeting with Kim, and that was one of the last straws between him and I. With Putin, we didn't get anything done. We're nowhere with China on national security. We're in a worse place today than we were before he came in, and I didn't think that was possible. "

Another challenge, according to Tillerson, is making sure that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan doesn't abandon the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in favor of Russia.

Tillerson explained, "It presents NATO with some really complex challenges. To the extent that Putin has success with Turkey, he will begin to think about who else he can pick off within NATO and begin to pull away. I think that's the challenge for NATO — who is next? How will Putin try to gradually erode the NATO alliance? At least along the fringes, at least with those along his border and how he pulls those to his direction."

Looking back on his months in Trump's administration, Tillerson recalls, "His understanding of global events, his understanding of global history, his understanding of U.S. history was really limited. It's really hard to have a conversation with someone who doesn't even understand the concept for why we're talking about this."

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