Michael L. Lomax, Ph.D., President, and CEO of United Negro College Fund (UNCF), President William J. Clinton, Rex W. Tillerson, Chairman and CEO of ExxonMobil, Walter E. Massey, Ph.D., President of Morehouse College.
Dec 13, 2016 (San Diego) Rex Tillerson, President of Exxon, was designated as the next Secretary of State under the incoming Donald Trump administration. He is lauded by Trump as a leader and a deal maker. While he has no government experience, he has 40 years experience in Exxon, chiefly in their International division. So where do the Clinton’s come in? And what are the potential conflicts with Russia? First, the Clintons, since it is the easiest.
• Arne Duncan, Secretary, U.S. Department of Education [M/Government/US]
• Rex Tillerson, CEO, ExxonMobil [M/Business/US]
Tillerson chairs the Business Roundtable’s Education group and has been prominently supportive of some of Duncan’s chief priorities, including teacher training, STEM education, and workforce development. As CEO, he has led major investments in education across the country, especially in educating girls.
This is from a schedule for a Clinton Global initiative. a session that was held on 2012. You can find this at the Wikileaks site since it became part of the Podesta leak,
This is what is significant about this leak. First, it shows how incestuous the upper tier of our society has become. The second is that Tillerson was supporting of the neoliberal policies that then Secretary of Education Arne Duncan was pursuing, including the incremental use of charter schools.
It gets worst. Secretary Hillary Clinton was still in office. He was asked to speak not just for his support of the education of girls, but also because Exxon would benefit from the sharp increase in the teaching of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), which while necessary, was done through many different ways. This includes, by the way, Teach for America which is one of the main lobbies that supported the candidacy of Hillary Clinton.
Tillerson is too well connected to the upper reaches of American society to be effectively stopped. His presence in the Clinton Global Initiate, as well as the who’s who of leadership, tells the story. San Diegans will find it of interest that Jerry Sanders, then Mayor of San Diego, was also listed, with other Republican politicians who were invited to speak. Incidentally we expect a lot of noise on this from certain quarters, but for the most part, it is a signpost of how codependent the top 1 percent is with each other. It also signals the agreement on policy at those levels. There is very little difference, and none of this is surprising.
Tillerson and Putin: A business Relationship
Tillerson does have some serious conflicts of interests for the job of Secretary of State. He not only knows Vladimir Putin, which at that level is normal in since he had to negotiate on behalf of Exxon with the Russian government, but apparently they have a closer relationship than just business. Tillerson was also awarded the top civilian honor of the Russian Federation. So this could be a reason for the Senate, especially the hawks in both parties, to stop him. But the conflicts of interest we are now seeing with Exxon, have been developing at the highest levels of government for at least 20 years. They have to do with who funds elections and that they see those as an investment.It also is part of the revolving door between government and the corporations that benefit.
We think it is important to point to some of those conflicts of interests. One of the areas where U.S Foreign Policy has acted, nominally in support of human rights, is in the ‘Stans, for example, Kazakhstan. It happens to be that there is a major contract for the Kashagan Oil Field, the biggest since Alaska’s findings.This is again, via Wikileaks.
While this deal was done in 2008, none is silly enough to expect that field to be in full production currently. Though it did start production in 2013.
Yes, the oilfield has been rifled with technical issues and is well over budget, but as Secretary of State Tillerson will have to walk on egg shells when it comes to any punishment of Kazakhstan over human rights issues.
Then there is the interests that Exxon has in the Russian arctic. THere are six exploration areas that Exxon has planned to explore jointly with the Russian oil company. This just comes to a 500 billion dollar opportunity for the company he would have formerly led.
How extensive are these reserves? They are estimated at about 90 billion tons of oil and gas. They are not just in Russian, but quite a bit are also in Alaska, Canada, Greenland and Sweden This is according to the US Geological Survey. The current sanction regime against Russia due to their expansionist foreign policy that counters U.S Interests in the Ukraine and perhaps the Baltic States, prevents Exxon and other US Oil Giants for taking a stab at the Russian reserves.
The balance for the new Secretary of State will have to be between our treaty obligations, such as Article V and the North American Treaty Organization, and what is good for big oil. While Shell failed to get any purchase in the Alaskan north, big oil has not given up on this.
Oh and it goes without saying, Wikileaks is the gift that keeps on giving. But looking behind the curtain, there will be much smoke and fury, but Tillerson should have no problem getting confirmation.