Exxon’s Might or Time to Rethink the State?

Former Venezuela Presidential Chief of Staff Beatrice Rangel takes a look at President-Elect Trump's pick for Secretary of State -- ExxonMobil Head Rex Tillerson.

The nomination of Exxon-Mobil’s CEO, Rex Tillerson, to become U.S. Secretary of State has grabbed not only worldwide headlines but megabits in Facebook and twitter while igniting the creative display of most cartoonists.

Suddenly, opinion makers and lay citizens discover that there is an entity capable of ‘cutting deals” with Mr Putin while running counter to U.S. diplomacy in Iraq and excelling over the official U.S. intelligence apparatus in information quality and access to decision makers worldwide.

In sum, unsuspecting citizens have seen for the first time the might of an entity holding a power stock equal or even superior to most countries in the world including the United States and China.

This event was envisioned by Alvin Toffler in his work Power Shift, which predicted the emergence of “Global Gladiators.” These were entities capable of rivaling nation states in power and wealth creation.

As knowledge becomes the primary element to create wealth, Toffler explains, independent entities can not only access but can effectively create power.

Global Gladiators can be religious groups, multinational corporations, NGOs, drug cartels or terrorist organizations.

These entities exert power to expand or protect their interests. These interests can match those of nation states, but they can also clash with interests by nation states. Clashes will usher periods of conflict which can benefit or hurt a nation state depending on its relative power stock and its deployment against the Global Gladiator in question.

Exxon-Mobil seems to fit Toffler’s description of a Global Gladiator.

One would thus expect Exxon-Mobil to have a sizable power stock to deploy in the pursuit of its global interests.

This could be a blessing or a curse for U.S. foreign policy depending on how closely the interests of the U.S. and Exxon-Mobil match in this current historical juncture.

Energy happens to be the link between these two power structures.

From Exxon-Mobil’s perspective U.S. energy independence can only be attained in so far as markets are stabilized so that prices reflect the relative abundance or lack of thereof of a given energy resource.

This allows energy concerns to plan and to develop new and sustainable sources while keeping fossil fuels at check.

From the U.S. perspective, development of the energy potential hidden in the Americas demands market stability so as to be able to move away from fossil fuel dependence and start developing an energy mosaic with increasing weight given to nontraditional and sustainable sources.

This seems to establish a three decade long collaborative effort to achieve results.

And while obviously this matching strategic journey transcends Mr Tillerson’s mandate, it should serve the purpose of giving him a chance to become Secretary of State without vitriolic opposition being announced by democrats and republicans alike.

Because given that both the U.S. and Exxon Mobil share strategic aims, the company’s intelligence resources would greatly enhance the U.S. diplomatic muscle and perhaps would help the State Department prepare itself better to deal with the quite unsavory leaders of energy emporia.

Because as Toffler quite aptly put it “in order for nations to maintain their strategic edge, an effective intelligence apparatus will be a necessity.”

Maybe the strategic encounter will foster the restructuring of our government intelligence platform so as to become as effective as that of Exxon-Mobil — which seems to be able to rein in the most notable despots in the world including Vladimir Putin and the late Hugo Chavez

On the personal front, Mr. Tillerson is a dash of fresh air in our leadership as he incarnates the hard-working American citizen whose life revolves around family, principles and community service. And this is a nice change from the egotistical, shortsighted and individualistic personas from finance who have populated our government in recent times.

Published by Latin American Herald Tribune on Sunday December 18th, 2016