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Trump-Tillerson Disagreements: Do They Have Certain Purpose?

Business Insider

The American and international media is full of the news on the existing disagreement between the US President Donald Trump and the US State Secretary Rex Tillerson. The discussion on the topic further escalated when CBC News reported that Tillerson called Trump "moron". In response Trump stated: "I think it's fake news, but if he did that, I guess we'll have to compare IQ tests. And I can tell you who is going to win," Politico reports.

Later on White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on the occasion noted: "The president certainly never implied that the secretary of state was not incredibly intelligent. He made a joke, nothing more than that," Sanders said. "He has full confidence in the secretary of state. They had a great visit earlier today. And they are working hand in hand to move the president's agenda forward," the same source reports.

Apart from personal offenses Trump and Tillerson seem to demonstrate different stance on a number of foreign policy issues. The recent example of this was the Korean issue. A day after Tillerson informed that the US had direct lines of communication to North Korea and was "probing" to find ways to resolve escalating nuclear tension between the two countries, Trump tweeted that his top diplomat should "save his energy" as "we’ll do what has to be done!" Guardian reports.  This made some analysts argue that the US president tries to publicly undermine the State Secretaries efforts in this direction.

There also seem to be certain disagreements between Trump and Tillerson on the Iranian issue. In August, he sincerely admitted that he and President Donald Trump disagree over the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. On the occasion he said that Washington could "tear it up and walk away" or stay in the deal and hold Iran accountable to its terms, which he said would require Iran to act as a "good neighbor," Reuters reports. It runs contrary to Trump’s statement on de-certifying the Iranian deal.  

Judging from such kind of public statements from the US President and State Secretary, the first conclusion one can drive at that in reality there are certain disagreements between the two US high level officials. Such a conclusion, of course, cannot be excluded, especially when one considers number of disagreements and resignations in the Trump’s administration. However, one cannot also exclude the scenario, that such a public demonstration of disagreement is a diplomatic trick of Trump’s administration to balance the US stance on various foreign policy issues.

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