Pompeo recaps President Trump’s foreign policy tour de force

by WorldTribune Staff, December 18, 2020

The United States is in a much stronger position to counter China than it was four years ago due to the foreign policy decisions made by President Donald Trump, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said.

“Every foreign policy decision that is made ought to be run through the filter of how does this impact the Chinese Communist Party and the threat that it poses to the world,” Pompeo said in an interview with the Washington Examiner published on Dec. 15. “It is that central to American national security.”

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo

Pompeo, who became secretary of state after heading up the CIA, said “it’s a unique place to start one’s time in the administration because I got a chance to see President Trump’s vision. I was briefing him nearly every day, so I got a chance to observe the things that were priorities for the administration as well as to watch how the team was working together. When I came to this role, I knew [the] president’s priorities. This vision of ‘America first’ is intuitive to him — which is that if things are strong here, if America has power (economic power, diplomatic leverage, a military of scale that can deter), then we have a real opportunity to do good things around the world. Happy to work with partners, allies, and friends, but we’re not going to sacrifice American interests for the sake of just being part of some club.”

The capacity of the United States “to deliver good, peaceful outcomes has increased,” under Trump, Pompeo said, pointing to the Abraham Accords in which the president brokered unprecedented peace deals between Israel and Arab nations. Trump also put “enormous pressure on the regime in Iran, we have changed the nature of peace and stability there, benefiting the American people.”

Pompeo added: “We’ve put a real priority, too, on the central understanding of religious freedom. The president has made it a priority — you see it with what we do with the recognition of Israel — the recognition of Israel’s capital in Jerusalem. Just realistic: like, quick, ask, what’s the capital of Israel? Jerusalem. OK, 100%. So, we recognized it. Who controls the Golan Heights, well, fine, we’ll recognize it. All of these things were driven by a central understanding of what the reality on the ground was, and then, we knew, too, in nations that permit people to practice their own faith in the way that they want, those nations were stronger, too. Regardless of what form their government takes, may not all be democracies. But in every one of those spaces, we built out this agenda for human rights centered on religious freedom, which I am very confident will reap enormous dividends in global security in the years ahead.”

As for the China threat, Pompeo said that in previous administrations there was “no president that was prepared to challenge that orthodoxy, which was: If we engage with China, things will get better, and America will be safe. That’s fundamentally untrue. President Trump came to recognize it as untrue and so began to push back all across the spectrum and say we’re going to take this seriously, we’re going to orient our military towards confronting great power competition, places like the Chinese Communist Party, I want my diplomats out working to build out a coalition that understands the threat from the Chinese Communist Party, we’re going to deny them economic leverage and power.”

Pompeo added: “So, a good place this all came together was telecommunications, where you have a true military component, a true diplomatic component, with Huawei and these state-owned enterprises. So, [in] every space the president said, go out and execute a vision that protects America from the threat of the Chinese Communist Party. That is an enormous accomplishment that President Trump should get an awful lot of credit for, and I believe with all my heart that will continue because I think the Chinese Communist Party will continue to demand that it continue. We flipped the script in the Middle East, too. Right?”

Communist China, Pompeo said, “had a 50-year head start in thinking about this as an adversarial relationship. We thought, boy, this is just a friend and a partner, and we’re going to sell them a whole bunch of our stuff because there’s 1.4 billion people. They said: We’re going to bide our time and hide our power. And they did that. … So, where do we stand today that’s different? I could give you half a dozen [examples] off the top of my head. At a NATO foreign ministers meeting, I spent an hour and a half talking about China. That never happened before. NATO’s now thinking about the Chinese threat from cyber capabilities and space capabilities and disinformation campaigns.”

Pompeo added: “There has been a huge shift in the prism through which the world sees the Chinese Communist Party, and there has begun an awakening. I’ve used the language: The tide is turning, and I think the Chinese Communist Party sees that. It’s why you’ve seen the rhetoric, rhetoric directed at me, personally, rhetoric directed at the United States, when, in fact, all we’re asking — all we’re asking them to do is engage in a set of behaviors that are fair and balanced and reciprocal.”

On North Korea, Pompeo noted that Kim Jong-Un “hasn’t conducted [a] single nuclear test. He hasn’t conducted a single, long-range missile test since that very first time that I went to see him. That’s not nothing. Those are very important capabilities that he remains in need of testing. And I’m optimistic, I’m actually optimistic that Chairman Kim will come to the conclusion — and it may not be on a timeline that we’d prefer, it may not be in a pattern that we would say, that would make the most sense for us. But I’m convinced he will come to the same conclusion that President Trump presented to him. President Trump presented him a proposition. He said, you’re safer without the nuclear weapons, you don’t need that to deter the United States. We didn’t get there yet, but I’m confident that those conversations, those meetings that the president had‚ that I had with him, presented a set of possibilities that will benefit Chairman Kim and his people.”

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