Rex Tillerson returned early from a trip to Africa this week, after a hint from John Kelly that he needed to be stateside. Upon returning, Kelly told him the President was firing him, making shockwaves throughout the administration and Washington for those who saw him as a moderating force.

This year has marked big changes in the Trump administration’s outward face on foreign policy. Donald Trump threatened, allies, partners and neighbors alike by unilaterally announcing tariffs on two of the world’s most traded commodities, in contravention of WTO rules. He announced this week that he would meet personally with the blood soaked dictator Kim Jong Un, breaking seven decades of decorum against meeting with a self declared enemy of the US, bent on their nuclear annihilation. A new TPP-11 agreement, minus the US was announced in the last few days, excluding the US from influence and trade with many of its close neighbors. Meanwhile, in the UK, a British national was poisoned with a nerve agent in the open. The Prime Minister of the UK publicly blamed Russia, and the administration’s spokesperson deferred judgement on the topic of whether the UK or Russia was to be believed.

Trump’s foreign policy is schizophrenic, incomprehensible, and as crude as if it was conceived by a common primate. Donald Trump does not support American values abroad, like democracy, a free press, the power of fair courts, or separation of powers. He has spent his time in power alienating American allies, quarreling with the leaders of Canada, Mexico, Germany, and Australia. By contrast, he had praised tyrants, war criminals and evil thugs, and talked about emulating the unconstitutional policies and power grabs of people like Duterte, Xi Jinping, Erdogan, and Putin.

In the past year since he has taken office, the remarkable thing has been the gap between the words and thoughts of the President, and his Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson. When Trump makes an inane comment, is has been Tillerson who has explained it way, backtracked, and smoothed over the incinerating relationship. While Tillerson has been a destructive force himself, intent on gutting the State Department and removing the ability of the US to influence foreign governments, he has been a steady force in blunting the rusty nail covered baseball bat that is Trump’s unadulterated juvenile twitter alter-ego.

From who blame over the poisoning of Sergei Skripal should be attributed to, to whether Donald Trump would act in defense of NATO, the two have never spoken or thought in step. That makes the ouster of Rex Tillerson as shocking as it is unsurprising.

There has been no clearer, or more open gap between the two men as how to deal with North Korea. For the past year, Donald Trump made infantile twitter threats, and issued a litany of red lines for which he adhered no consequence for their crossing. He openly discussed military force, and nuclear war against the North Koreans.

He publicly undermined and attempted to sabotage Tillerson’s stated public aim of a diplomatic solution, stating many times that Tillerson was misguided, and that Trump would, eventually, find some kind of military solution.

In the past week, Trump gleefully announced that after all of this drama, he himself would meet with Kim Jong Un for talks, in contravention of months of tweeting about nuclear war. After finally following the path of Rex Tillerson, he could think of no better path to save himself the humiliation of admitting he was wrong, than firing the man who could have said, “I told you so.”

Kim has stated that he will suspend nuclear development, contingent on his meeting with Trump. Donald Trump, after all of the rhetoric about the evil and deceptive nature of the regime, takes Kim’s word at face value. In all likelihood, he will prove himself to be the fool that he is.

Staff writer: Ari B