Wednesday, February 07, 2018

Stavridis Gently Schools Tillerson

James Stavridis, former head of U.S. Southern Command (and current Dean of the Fletcher School at Tufts), has an op-ed damning Rex Tillerson with faint praise, where he's off to a "good start" but basically needs to do everything differently. He says there are six steps the U.S. needs to take, somewhat like telling an addict how to change their ways. Right now we're addicted to failure.

1. Acknowledge how important Latin America is and develop an interagency strategy.
2. Prioritize Mexico and Brazil (including preserving NAFTA).
3. Acknowledge how critical Colombia is.
4. Elevate U.S.-Caribbean relations, especially Puerto Rico.
5. Engage with Cuba
6. Talk softly with Venezuela and let regional allies take the lead

Bonus: he says to stop talking about a "backyard" because it is condescending.

I agree with all of these points and the U.S. is doing poorly on just about every one. I guess Tillerson is doing a bit on #1 (at least traveling there even if showing historical ignorance) and is more solid on #4, but not on the rest.


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