Bipartisan resistance to Russian ties

by | Jan 5, 2017 | Congress | Comments

Several Democratic and Republican officials have expressed discomfort with President-elect Donald Trump nominating multiple individuals who have ties to Russia. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) along with Senator John McCain (R-AZ) among others have expressed concerns with the recent nominations. Their concerns have been specific to ExxonMobil chief Rex Tillerson becoming Secretary of State. Senator Rubio does not deny that Tillerson is a “respected businessman,” however, in Rubio’s view, there are still some concerns with the potential outcome of his new political influence.

Ever since the breakup of the Soviet Union Tillerson has recognized a great potential of Russia as an oil supplier and since then he has begun to develop ties to the Kremlin leadership. Tillerson has considerable business ties with President Vladimir Putin. They negotiated several deals including an oil project on the Pacific Ocean island of Sakhalin. Tillerson is a great businessman, but has no experience in the public sector, which can be seen as problematic for the position he is expected to hold.

There is bipartisan resistance in Congress in regards to Tillerson becoming secretary of state. Between the EU and the US, there are currently several sanctions on major Russian state banks and corporations in response to the annexation of Crimea as well as the crisis in eastern Ukraine. The EU and US have also put a ban on exports of certain oil industries which, if lifted by the United States, will create billions of dollars of profit for Tillerson’s business. It has come into question recently whether or not business could negatively affect our political standpoint on a global level, and when the head of a influential business benefits from lifting sanctions it becomes hard to tell what the real motive is.

photo credit: theglobalpanorama Vladimir Putin via photopin (license)