The president-elect is reportedly favouring the Exxon Mobil CEO but experts say the Senate may bridle over a realpolitik choice that would benefit Russia

If Rex Tillerson is nominated as the next secretary of state, it would confirm Vladimir Putin as one of the strategic victors of the US presidential election.

Barack Obama has ordered an inquiry into covert Russian intervention in the campaign, which the CIA says was designed to secure a victory for Donald Trump. But whether or not Russian intervention made a significant difference to the outcome, a Tillerson appointment would represent a significant gain for Moscow.

Related: Intelligence figures fear Trump reprisals over assessment of Russia election role

Trump’s choice suggests he wants to make good on his promise to cut deals with Russia instead of containing it

Related: Trump’s choice for education secretary raises fears in Detroit

A US foreign policy based on realpolitik rather than on values would be a disaster for Russia

Related: Australian chosen by Trump once called president-elect a ‘marketer of fantasy’

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