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If Trump picks Rex Tillerson as U.S. secretary of state, will it mean a strategic victory for Russia?

Dec 12, 2016 08:24 AM EST

Interior And Energy Departments Hold Meeting On Oil/Gas Drilling Accidents
(Photo : Photo by Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images) WASHINGTON - SEPTEMBER 22: Rex Tillerson, chairman and CEO of ExxonMobil, listens during a meeting at the Department of the Interior September 22, 2010 in Washington, DC. Secretary of the Interior Kenneth L. Salazar hosted Secretary of Energy Steven Chu, Gulf Oil Spill National Incident Commander Adm. Thad Allen (Ret.), representatives from the private sector and others to discus strengthening the containment abilities to deep water oil and gas well blowouts like the recent BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Like every other appointment he is making, President-Elect Donald Trump's likely pick for the secretary of state has also created a ripple in the U.S. politics. If reports are held to be true and ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson is nominated as the top diplomat of the incoming Trump Presidency, it would mean a strategic victory for Russian President Vladimir Putin, according to Guardian's World Affairs Editor Julian Borger.

A lot has been happening in the U.S. after the intelligence agencies have concluded that the Kremlin interfered in the U.S. presidential election this year. While Trump and his transition team have slammed the intelligence reports, describing them as "ridiculous", President Barack Obama has ordered an inquiry into the issue.

Against this background, nomination of Tillerson who is known to have a close business relation with Putin is considered to be a victory for Russia, said Borger. In 2013, Putin even honored Tillerson with Russia's Order of Friendship.

Tillerson has spent a long time of his career on deals that involved Russia and is also known to be a friend of Igor Sechin, a close ally of Putin and also described at times as the second-most powerful man in Moscow.

The final call on Tillerson is expected sometime this week but Trump has already showed his love for the man in a tweet on Sunday (December 11) when he described the former as a "world class player and dealmaker".

But the U.S. Congress is certainly not feeling easy over the prospect. According to a Wall Street Journal report, the decision over Tillerson is facing bipartisan opposition in the Senate with even Trump's Republican Party not finding it comfortable over the ExxonMobil CEO's Russia connection.

Tillerson, however, is hopeful about himself getting picked. The 64-year-old met Trump in New York this weekend reportedly told the president-elect that he would be honored to get the job.

Mitt Romney, the former presidential candidate who lost to President Barack Obama in 2012, is also reportedly in the race for the position.

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