Thursday, December 15, 2016

Letter to Senator Rubio re: Trump, Russia & China

Here's a letter I sent today to the (one hopes) Honorable Marco Rubio:

December 15, 2016

Dear Senator Rubio:

I am concerned about President-Elect Trump’s apparent intentions in the area of international relations, and I am particularly concerned about his choice of Rex Tillerson to be secretary of state.

Mr. Tillerson’s friendly ties to Vladimir Putin and the benefit his company, Exxon, would receive in opportunities to profit from oil extraction in Russia should our sanctions against that country be lifted, are of real concern. Such a relationship between official and commercial interests is exactly the kind of corruption that undermines American democracy. It will certainly distort Mr. Tillerson’s judgement in reference to policies toward Russia.

Beyond the selection of secretary of state, Mr. Trump has made statements and phone calls that signal new directions in American diplomacy, directions that I consider troubling.

His phone conversation with President Tsai Ing-wen of Taiwan has raised concerns that he may want to end the agreement we established with the People’s Republic of China in 1972, commonly referred to as the One-China policy.

I am an admirer of the democracy that the people of Taiwan have developed for themselves and, in fact, I would like to see it held up as a model for China generally. However, I believe it is reckless to undermine the basis of the agreement that our nation has with China - yet that is what President-Elect Trump is signaling he might do. Of course, given his free-wheeling style, this may well be no more than a feint designed to gain leverage against Beijing. If so, it is a poorly thought out one.

Beijing will not respond to our moving away from our One-China policy with offers of compromise. A threat on our part to make such a move will undermine the cooperative elements in our relationship, including those pertaining to North Korea, and it will gain nothing for us from China. I say this as an academic who has lived for over two years in China and who has been studying China for 47 years.

Frankly, I don’t understand why Mr. Trump thinks that Russia, which has invaded Crimea and Ukraine and provided crucial assistance to Bashar al-Assad in his slaughter of Syrians in Aleppo, makes a promising partner. Furthermore, as patriotic Americans, shouldn’t we be shocked and enraged at Putin for interfering in our election to serve his own ends? Why isn’t Mr. Trump shocked and enraged about this?

In conclusion, I encourage you to oppose with all your resources the confirmation of Mr. Putin’s associate, Rex Tillerson, for secretary of state. Furthermore, I encourage you to resist any efforts our future president may make in the way of undermining U.S. - China cooperation and replacing it with oil-industry-friendly ties to Putin’s Russia.


Robert L. Moore

Robert L. Moore, Ph.D.

Professor Emeritus of Anthropology, Rollins College