Opinion Piece Examines Secretary Of State Nominee Rex Tillerson’s Track Record On Health, Development Issues

Foreign Policy: All Rex Tillerson Cares About Is Energy
Laurie Garrett, senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations

“…If confirmed as secretary of state, [ExxonMobil CEO Rex] Tillerson will find his corporate rhetoric about health, welfare, poverty, and greenhouse gases put to the test. And that rhetoric suggests Tillerson and ExxonMobil believe in ‘maintaining a fundamental respect for human rights’ and leading initiatives to ‘combat malaria, improve education, and advance economic opportunities for women.’ … So, what will Tillerson actually do to foreign assistance, as secretary of state? Can his corporate goodwill translate into a platform for the future of American soft-power engagement in the world? In the end, Tillerson’s track record suggests that he will foster programs aimed at provision of energy, enhancing women’s basic economic rights, and fighting malaria. Conversely, there is nothing in the public record to suggest that he is personally committed to gutting reproductive health, gay rights, democracy building, solar power, or any other effort promoted for the last eight years by the Obama administration. … [Tillerson] just might discover that foreign assistance, stopping climate change, preventing worldwide pandemics, and supporting women’s reproductive rights can all add up to smart, profitable capitalism. And that’s how to keep America great” (12/16).