The newly-elected Negotiator-In-Chief, Donald Trump, is likely to name Rex Tillerson, the CEO of Exxon, as the Secretary of State. True to long-standing tradition, his own tradition that is, Trump tweeted this evening that he’ll release the name of the nominee … tomorrow morning. Man knows how to use Twitter to build suspense … plus he loves using Twitter to beat the media to the news. Given how they’ve treated him, I can understand that.
Apparently, the choice of Tillerson is making some people’s heads explode. They complain that Tllerson has no government or diplomatic experience of any kind. They say that we need a diplomat or a politician for Secretary of State, someone with some experience in the field.
Me, I think it is a brilliant choice. I see it differently because I’m a businessman, and because I’ve worked in the oil industry, in distribution. The thing people don’t understand about Tillerson is that “CEO of Exxon” is not really his actual title. Nor does that title reflect what he is really doing or the status he has when he goes around the world.
Tillerson’s official title is the President of Oil, or to use the formal name, the “President of the First People’s Republic of Oil”. It’s the “First” because Exxon is the biggest. It’s the “People’s Republic” because Exxon is a public corporation, meaning that the people own it. You too can be a citizen of the Republic of Oil, with full voting rights, for the mere price of $90.98 per vote. That’s today’s price of one share of Exxon stock.
Here’s the size of Tillerson’s job as President of the Republic of Oil. The GDP of the Republic of Oil, the value of the oil produced by the Republic, is about four hundred billion US$ per year. That’s in the top 15% of the GDPs of the world’s countries. Bigger than Norway. So when he negotiates, he’s dealing with the top people in each of the many countries where the Republic of Oil has an outpost.
And he is negotiating from a position of some power, in that he can mobilize huge resources with the flourish of a pen, and put them to work producing real wealth.
So Tillerson knows Putin. He knows the Saudi leaders. He knows the head of countries all over the globe. And not just the heads, but the department heads, and the regulators, and the bankers, and the people down the food chain.
Not only that, he doesn’t just know those folks. He has negotiated business deals with them.
Tillerson job as the President of Oil is to negotiate deals with other Presidents, diplomats, department heads, and businessmen of foreign countries on behalf of and for the benefit of the citizens of the First People’s Republic of Oil, also known as shareholders. That’s his job, cutting deals with foreign governments. And given the ongoing success of the Republic of Oil, we know for a fact that he’s good at making deals with foreign governments for the benefit of the citizens of the Republic of Oil.
Call me crazy, but if I was going to put someone in charge of US diplomacy, which is assuredly the cutting of deals on behalf of US citizens, it sure seems like that guy might be a damn good choice …
Unlike most commentators, I see his lack of government service as a huge asset. Here’s the thing. He hasn’t been in government service.
But like almost every businessman, he’s been in service to government, through a million required meetings and permits and regulations and applications for his entire business life. He knows government from the other side of the permit application counter, and for me, that’s a good thing.
So if tomorrow the Negotiator in Chief does appoint him, I can only say, fasten your seatbelts and keep your hands inside the vehicle, we’re looking at a new kind of diplomacy.
Gonna be a fascinating time …
Regards to everyone,