Clements Center
Clements Center

What Rex Tillerson can learn from Alexander Haig

Alexandra Evans and Evan McCormick Nov 27, 2017

CC Postdoctoral Fellow Evan McCormick joins with Alexandra Evans to highlight the ways history can inform current challenges at the State Department. 

McCormick and Evans write that Tillerson's time at State draws parallels to President Reagan's first Secretary of State, Alexander Haig. They write that "careful historical analysis of the factors that led to Haig’s resignation in 1982 can enrich our understanding of the political and strategic consequences of a chief diplomat being maligned and marginalized."

They note that, while different, both Tillerson and Haig had the task of leading the State Department under an administration that "downplayed the role of diplomacy in renewing American strength abroad." Evans and McCormick also highlight the parallels between Tillerson and Haig's beneficial isolation from drama at the White House during Trump and Reagan's first few months in office. 

Read more about the history of Haig's departure from State and other historical parallels to the current administration on the War on the Rocks website