Saturday, June 23, 2018

Ronan Farrow

Ronan Farrow's new book is War on Peace: The End of Diplomacy and the Decline of American Influence. From the transcript of his interview with Fareed Zakaria:

ZAKARIA: The interviews with the secretaries of state are fascinating. You have Colin Powell, very bluntly, a fellow Republican -- a former Republican secretary of state, saying that Trump is gutting the State Department. Perhaps the most interesting one was Rex Tillerson who gives you the only interview I've seen where he on the record describes his frustrations and essentially why he was eventually fired.

What do you think is the big story? What did you learn from what Rex Tillerson told you?

FARROW: So I think in each of these conversations with all of the living secretaries of state, people will find something surprising, some moment of candor they didn't expect. You mentioned how searing Colin Powell was, saying we're mortgaging our future right now. This is a man who cared deeply about the workforce at the State Department. That was a common sentiment.

You know, George P. Shultz saying you don't have to take a job when he surveys the way Rex Tillerson acted on these orders to gut the State Department. And as you say Rex Tillerson himself really surprisingly candid in his last days in the job.

ZAKARIA: For example, he says he did not want those State Department cuts. He privately argued against them, but he thought maybe his corporate background, once the decision was made he had to be a loyal soldier.

FARROW: He did, although he also said, look, I may have just been too inexperienced. He said when he started defending those deep, deep cuts to the State Department on the Hill, he had only been on the job briefly and he might not have known better. He said, I think with hindsight that maybe he would have done things differently. That seemed to be the suggestion throughout our conversation.

ZAKARIA: He said something very peculiar, that he thought that Congress would increase the State Department's budget even though he was not requesting an increase.

FARROW: Which every other living secretary of state I spoke to found astonishing. That's...[read on]
--Marshal Zeringue