Smooth transition to new USA secretary: PM

Smooth transition to new USA secretary: PM

U.S. President Donald Trump's pick of Mike Pompeo as his new top diplomat could lend credibility to any future negotiations with North Korea, a U.S. expert said Tuesday.

His replacement, CIA Director Mike Pompeo, a West Point and Harvard Law grad, is no intellectual slouch. Trump tweeted, "He will do a fantastic job!"

Other European officials and former US officials said Pompeo's rise, if he is confirmed as secretary of state by the Senate, might have a more ambiguous effect on the negotiations and that, in any case, Trump's views are paramount.

The elevation of Deputy Director of the CIA Gina Haspel, a 30-year veteran of the agency, to be its first female director is both historic and wise.

Tillerson was the former CEO of ExxonMobil, which for decades was the number one funder of climate science disinformation until they were surpassed by the Koch brothers starting in 2005.

Fuelling talk of a serious falling out between the pair, Tillerson was reported late a year ago to have referred to Trump as a "moron" after a national security meeting a few months earlier. The European parties to the deal were trying to work through Tillerson to ensure that the White House avoids rupturing the JCPOA directly, even as it layers sanctions on issues that were not addressed in the deal.

I was never a fan of Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State. Mike is razor-sharp, a dedicated patriot, and possesses the type of experience that makes him an outstanding choice to be our next top diplomat.

If confirmed by the U.S. Senate after an April committee hearing, Pompeo will be taking over a State Department shaken by the departures of many senior diplomats and embittered by proposed budget cuts. Shortly before the president said he would meet with Kim, Tillerson had stressed that the US was a "long ways from negotiations" with North Korea. Tillerson backed the JCPOA; Trump called it an "embarrassment".

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"The torture of detainees in US custody during the last decade was one of the darkest chapters in American history", Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain said in a statement Tuesday. Two additional nominees are pending approval by the senate.

Tillerson was said to have repeatedly complained about a perceived invasion of his territory by Trump's son-in-law and senior advisor Jared Kushner. With that view, the Trump administration has blurred the terms of the nuclear deal with other complaints against Iran that fall outside the scope of the agreement, including Iran's ballistic missile program.

Pompeo described President Obama's effort to cut carbon pollution at home (through the Clean Power Plan) and overseas (through the Paris climate deal) as a "perverse fixation on achieving his economically harmful environmental agenda" and as "worshiping a radical environmental agenda".

"They're somewhat similar but it's customary for a secretary of state to last longer", Cyr said. "This seems different than others". Cyr said the State Department has "a very professional, experienced foreign service".

State Department officials said Tillerson did not know why he was being pushed out and had meant to stay.

But the State Department plays a direct and key role in climate change - not just in worldwide climate negotiations, but also in global aid and development, including choices about which energy sources developing countries should choose - so, such non-answers given as by Pompeo previously should not fly this time around.

"No one who had a hand in torturing individuals deserve to ever hold public office again, let alone lead an agency", said Raha Wala with Human Rights First.

A competent Secretary of State needs to cultivate ties with key stakeholders to succeed at the job: The White House, other Cabinet secretaries, Congress, the bureaucracy and the wider foreign policy community.

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