This is my last Monday in Japan for this trip; given the way my business goes, who knows when or if I’ll be back, but sure as hell I’ll be going somewhere. Hopefully somewhere interesting, but I go where the work is, not where the fun is. That’s the life.
But as for this trip, on Wednesday I go up to Miyagi Prefecture to have a look at another installation; two and a half days there, then I hop on the shinkansen Friday evening for a quick run down to Ueno. I plan to explore Ueno Friday night and Saturday before catching my 1830 non-stop from Narita to Denver, home to my own dear Mrs. Animal.
Meanwhile, The Donald has made an interesting and somewhat unexpected call for SecState – but then, what has The Donald done that was not unexpected? Excerpt:
Donald Trump is expected to nominate ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson as his secretary of state, two sources close to the transition process told NBC News on Saturday.
The 64-year-old veteran oil executive has no government or diplomatic experience, although he has ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin. The pick would put to rest weeks-long speculation of who would earn the post as the U.S.’s top diplomat, and would place Tillerson fourth in line to the presidency.
He will also be paired with former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton as his deputy secretary of state, one of the sources added, with Bolton handling day-to-day management of the department.
The sources cautioned that nothing is final until the president-elect officially announces it, which could happen as early as next week.
Tillerson, who was once dubbed “T.Rex” by Sarah Palin, met Saturday with Trump at Trump Tower in New York City, the president-elect’s spokesperson confirmed.
In a pre-taped interview set to air Sunday on Fox News, Trump discussed why a businessman such as Tillerson would be a good fit as America’s chief diplomat.
“Well, in his case, he’s much more than a business executive, I mean he’s a world-class player,” Trump said, acknowledging Tillerson’s relationship with Russia through his business dealings.
“To me, a great advantage is he knows many of the players, and he knows them well,” Trump added. “He does massive deals in Russia. He does massive deals for the company — not for himself, for the company.”
Honestly I’m not sure what to make of this. The addition of John Bolton as Undersecretary is less surprising; Bolton has been moving in international diplomacy circles for some time, and will presumably be a valued advisor to Tillerson. Both men’s appointments will have the progressives in government and the commentariat running around with their hair on fire, but then most of Trump’s appointments have already had that effect.
It’s not surprising that The Donald chose a businessman for this post; it’s somewhat surprising that he chose the head of a petro-industry company. But then, maybe it isn’t – a big, big part of international affairs right now revolves around that substance on which the world’s economies run – oil. And Tillerson knows that business very, very well. His familiarity with that old apparatchik Putin is probably one of the reasons for the choice as well, given that he has dealt with the man before and certainly will be doing so in his new role.
Whatever the reasons, The Donald continues to break the old molds. That in itself is worth doing.