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Why Condi’s Endorsement Of Tillerson Is Important

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Saagar Enjeti White House Correspondent

Former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s Tuesday endorsement of Rex Tillerson — who is President-elect Trump’s pick for secretary of state — casts doubt on suggestions that he is a pro-Russian stooge.

Rice is a noted Cold War scholar with extensive expertise, counseling former President George H.W. Bush throughout the fall of the Soviet Union. Rice strongly opposed Russia’s 2008 incursion into Georgia as secretary of state under former President George W. Bush, and advocated for a strong U.S. reaction in response to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s illegal annexation of Crimea.

“Rex Tillerson is an excellent choice for Secretary of State. He will bring to the post remarkable and broad international experience; a deep understanding of the global economy; and a belief in America’s special role in the world,” Rice said in a Tuesday statement.

Despite the relevant positions of his backers The New York Times declared, “Donald Trump has chosen for the top post an apologist for Russia.”

Rice and former U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates even called for military escalation in Syria in an October, 2015, op-ed saying “we must create a better military balance of power on the ground if we are to seek a political solution acceptable to us and to our allies.” Both former Bush administration officials endorsed the idea of a no-fly zone, and heavily advocated for improving assistance to the U.S. anti-ISIS effort in Iraq.

Gates released a similarly laudatory statement Tuesday, saying, Tillerson “would bring to the position vast knowledge, experience and success in dealing with dozens of governments and leaders in every corner of the world.”

Gates does not mince words where it concerns Putin, in 2014 remarking that when he looked into Putin’s eyes he “saw a stone cold killer.” The next U.S. President should, “begin with letting Putin know he’s come to the end of the rope, that we are not going to put up with his meddling, and there will be further consequences,” Gates also declared in June, 2016.

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