The vote in the Senate international Affairs Committee passed on Tuesday, has eliminated the last obstacles before the appointment of the former head of Exxon Rex Tillerson to the post of U.S. Secretary of state.
Despite the fact that the vote in Committee was divided strictly according to “party affiliation” candidate Tillerson endorsed 11 Republicans, 10 Democrats voted against the observers had no doubt that the upcoming vote by the full Senate will become a mere formality, and ex-businessman is one of the key positions in the new administration of the United States.
On the eve of two influential Senator-Republican — John McCain and Lindsey Graham issued a joint statement. The legislators stressed that they intend to support the candidacy Tillerson, despite the fact that “his past associations with the Russian government and President Vladimir Putin continues to raise concerns”.
Tillerson himself has tried to dispel these concerns during hearings in the Senate Committee on foreign Affairs, saying that close ties with Moscow will not prevent him to take a tough stance against the annexation of Crimea and Russia’s intervention in events in the South-East of Ukraine.
“We need to support Ukrainians in all possible ways so that they could protect themselves from any future attacks or aggression,” said Rex Tillerson, adding that after consultation with the Council of national security of the U.S. he will be ready to support the initiative to grant Kiev the so-called “lethal” military aid.
Professor of political science at Rutgers University Alexander Motyl (Alexander Motyl), which focuses on the situation in the countries of the former Soviet Union, believes that the new U.S. administration can take this step only under the pressure of Congress.
“Until now, “foreign policy” proposed by the administration was chaotic and contradictory, so that the support Tillerson initiatives on the supply of arms (Ukraine) is obviously incompatible with mutual sympathy trump and Putin”, — he told “Voice of America”.
According to the analyst, yet with equal degree of probability can be seen as a situation in which “prevails the point of view of the tramp”, and no supplies of arms will not, as the possibility that Congress “forced” the administration to make such a decision.
“As strange as it sounded, but if trump will take such a step, it could have positive implications for Ukraine and for U.S.-Russian relations, says Professor Motyl. — Increased ability of Ukraine to repel a large-scale Russian attack will stabilize “Eastern front”. Moreover, for the sake of improving relations with trump, Putin may agree with such development of events.”
The Professor Motyl believes that “a desire” to improve relations is not enough to achieve real results. Even if the leaders of the United States and Russia will be able to conclude some kind of “deal”, the stakes obviously won’t be equal.
“If they will be able to speak the same language, the United States may consider the possibility of lifting sanctions and informal recognition (Russian status) annexed Crimea, — said Alexander Motyl. But it is not clear what Russia can offer in return. The retreat from Donbass? The reduction of nuclear weapons, which she has refused? Cooperation in the fight against ISIS? (banned in Russia organization — approx. ed.)”.
Today’s disagreements between the U.S. and Russia, the analyst believes, are too serious to talk about the prospects of long-term cooperation between the two countries. That is why according to Alexander Motyl, “short and slight” improvement of the relations connected with joining the White house, the new administration will inevitably be replaced by another and deeper, “a cold than it is today.
“The question is how these changes will affect Russia’s relations with Ukraine and other CIS countries, — he said. — It is possible that inspired by the “warm relationship” with trump, Putin wants to attack the Baltic States, Belarus or Ukraine, hoping that the new US administration would prefer not to pay attention to it”.