The Republican tradition of trying to undermine a cabinet department by putting a secretary in charge who opposes its central mission goes back to the Reagan administration. But Donald Trump has greatly accelerated that. These days Rex Tillerson is getting a lot of attention as Secretary of State for getting the department of state at a time when diplomacy has never been more critical. He is refusing to replace important officials within the state department bureaucracy and he is encouraging people to quit without replacing them. It’s a strange strategy, and not one that is likely to work if history is a guide, but here it is nevertheless.