SaveSave story
Expert Voices

After Rexit, tough job for Pompeo

Rex Tillerson at lectern
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. Photo: Tony Karumba / AFP / Getty Images

Mike Pompeo takes over the State Department with three decided advantages over his predecessor: familiarity with foreign policy, experience in government and a good rapport with President Trump. Rex Tillerson, by contrast, had none of those.

The background: Tillerson made a difficult situation worse by failing to develop a strong relationship with the foreign service. He did not get the department fully resourced and depended on only a small core staff. His focus on restructuring amounted to a corporate CEO’s attempt to superimpose a structure he knew well onto a fundamentally different organization. Not surprisingly, the effort came to naught and many experienced hands abandoned ship.

What’s next: The initial challenge for Pompeo is to shore up his department and fill the long list of vacant overseas posts. It will help if he can somehow persuade the president to rein in both his tweets and his son-in-law, and to better weigh the likely consequences of major decisions before making them. He will need to manage all that amid preparations for a North Korea summit, international fallout from metals tariffs, a pending decision on the Iran nuclear pact and mounting differences with China and Russia — not to mention the ongoing probe by Special Counsel Mueller. It doesn’t appear as though Pompeo will enjoy much of a break between jobs.

Richard Haass is president of the Council on Foreign Relations and the author of “A World in Disarray.”

Mike Allen 9 hours ago
SaveSave story

How Trump created a new era of high risk

Illustration: Lazaro Gamio / Axios

On Jan. 26, just over a year into his presidency, President Trump had a president's dream: peace and prosperity. The Dow Jones industrial average, S&P 500 and Nasdaq all hit record highs.

Where it stands: Since then, Trump has injected multiple new risks into the system.

Kim Hart 12 hours ago
SaveSave story

Tech's terrible week

A sad computer
Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

From a fatal car crash to a data nightmare, turning-point scenarios played out in several corners of the technology industry this week.

Why it matters: The utopian promise of technological progress is giving way to the very thorny challenges of balancing innovation with social accountability. That means congressional hearings, investigations, probably at least some regulation — and a lot more skepticism about the promise of the tech-driven changes that are transforming our lives.