The fact that Tillerson publicly clashed with Trump over everything from North Korea policy to relative IQ did nothing to make his job any easier, but his sorry legacy as secretary of state was sealed by a complete misunderstanding of the job before him. Rather than the nation’s top diplomat and an embodiment abroad of American values, Tillerson appeared to regard his mandate as little more than an exercise in cost-cutting and corporate reorganization. His time at the State Department seemed to test beliefs that are popular among many private sector professionals: skills that business executives bring to Washington can outweigh government experience, and almost every problem can be reduced to a matter of efficiency. That Tillerson should succumb to these beliefs is not altogether surprising given the benefits and blind spots of his experience in business.
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