Someone not familiar with the ISIS story might conclude that Tillerson was saying that the US government defeated ISIS. Of course, if you read his speech carefully, you’ll see that he didn’t say that. What he said was that the US government had a plan and had been active in defeating ISIS. He didn’t list other entities that had fought ISIS. What ones did he leave out? Two major ones: the Russian government and the Syrian government under Assad. Why? I think it’s obvious: it didn’t fit Tillerson’s narrative. The narrative is: Assad is bad; the US government needs to get rid of him. If Tillerson had admitted what I’m sure he knows well–that the Russian government has helped Assad go after ISIS–then he would have introduced complexity into what he wanted to tell as a simple story: Assad bad; let’s get rid of him.

This is from David R. Henderson, “Rex Tillerson at Hoover,”, January 22, 2018.

Another excerpt:

Sanctions tend to hurt and, in this case, kill largely innocent people. One thing I’m quite confident of is that the sanctions won’t cause North Korea’s dictator, Kim Jong-un, to miss a meal. What else will they do? One of Tillerson’s predecessors as Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright, when asked whether half a million children killed by sanctions in Iraq “is worth it,” said that it was. (We don’t know what the real number was: Matt Welch claims, with some evidence, that it was substantially lower than 500,000; Matt Barganier challenges Matt Welch. But we do know two things: (1) the number of children killed was very high and (2) Albright believed that even the number of deaths really had been 500,000, she thought it was a worthwhile price.) Does Tillerson believe that the horrible effects of these sanctions are worth it? I wish someone would ask him.

Read the whole thing.