Tillerson will talk about several challenges in his opening remarks: an economically powerful China that is expanding militarily, the spread of radical Islam, Iran’s nuclear ambitions and Russian interference in Europe and beyond. His message on Russia will be much tougher than that of his new boss.
“While Russia seeks respect and relevance on the global stage, its recent activities have disregarded American interests,” he will testify. “Russia must know that we will be accountable to our commitments and those of our allies, and that Russia must be held to account for its actions.”
The United States should be clear-eyed about Russia and its various activities that are destabilizing countries in its near abroad and the Middle East, according to Tillerson.
“Russia today poses a danger, but it is not unpredictable in advancing its own interests. It has invaded Ukraine, including the taking of Crimea, and supported Syrian forces that brutally violate the laws of war,” his statement reads. “Our NATO allies are right to be alarmed at a resurgent Russia.”