Former Joint Chiefs Chairman Mike Mullen Confident in Trump's Approach

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Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen speaks during a media availability at the Pentagon Thursday, June 16, 2011 in Washington.
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Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is in Moscow today meeting with his foreign counterpart, Sergei Lavrov. It's the first visit by a Trump cabinet official, and following last week's chemical attack by the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and the U.S. military response, there are no expectations of a diplomatic breakthrough.

The secretary of state, who as chairman of Exxon Mobil once had billions at stake over sanctions on Russia, emerged as one of its biggest critic this week. 

"I hope that what the Russian government concludes is that they have aligned themselves with an unreliable partner in Bashar al-Assad," Secretary of State Tillerson said to reporters at the conclusion of the G7 in Italy on Tuesday. "They have signed the chemical weapons accord themselves, the Syrian government, the Russian government had signed that accord, and now Assad has made the Russians look not so good."

Also on Tuesday, a declassified four page report revealed that the White House believes that the Russian government participated in a cover up of the chemical attack, adding yet another layer of complexity to the perceived position of the Trump administration on Russia and Syria .

Admiral Mike Mullen served as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from 2007 to 2011, under Presidents Bush and Obama, and assumed his position at the height of the global war on terrorism. He explores the growing tension between Russia, the U.S., and Syria, and the foreign policy challenges facing the Trump Administration.