Speaking at the German Marshall Fund prior to this week’s ministerial meeting of NATO in Brussels, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo offered some stinging criticism of Europe and reinforced that President Donald Trump is reasserting U.S. authority around the world.
In staunch defense of Trump administration foreign policy, which has becoming even more strident since he took the reins at Foggy Bottom, the former CIA director told an audience that included many of his NATO counterparts that Washington is now building a new world order that will fight against the “cynical abuses” of Russia, China, and Iran. He also noted the president is restoring America’s traditional leadership role in global affairs:
“We have to account for the world order of today in order to chart the way forward. It is what America’s National Security Strategy deemed ‘principled realism.’ I like to think of it as ‘common sense.’
“Every nation—every nation—must honestly acknowledge its responsibilities to its citizens and ask if the current international order serves the good of its people as well as it could. And if not, we must ask how we can right it.
“This is what President Trump is doing. He is returning the United States to its traditional, central leadership role in the world. He sees the world as it is, not as we wish it to be. He knows that nothing can replace the nation-state as the guarantor of democratic freedoms and national interests. He knows, as George H.W. Bush knew, that a safer world has consistently demanded American courage on the world stage. And when we—and when we all of us ignore our responsibilities to the institutions we’ve formed, others will abuse them.”
Those abusers, he asserted throughout his speech, are principally Russia, China, and Iran. He blamed them for undermining “international order,” and then described how the president intends to remake that world order:
“Our mission is to reassert our sovereignty, reform the liberal international order, and we want our friends to help us and to exert their sovereignty as well. We aspire to make the international order serve our citizens—not to control them. America intends to lead—now and always.
“Under President Trump, we are not abandoning international leadership or our friends in the international system. Indeed, quite the contrary. Just look, as one example, at the historic number of countries which have gotten on board our pressure campaign against North Korea. No other nation in the world could have rallied dozens of nations, from every corner of the world, to impose sanctions on the regime in Pyongyang.
“International bodies must help facilitate cooperation that bolsters the security and values of the free world, or they must be reformed or eliminated.
“When treaties are broken, the violators must be confronted, and the treaties must be fixed or discarded. Words should mean something.
“Our administration is thus lawfully exiting or renegotiating outdated or harmful treaties, trade agreements, and other international arrangements that do not serve our sovereign interests, or the interests of our allies.”
US President Donald Trump is building a new world order upheld by American leadership and democracy, his secretary of state told diplomats at an event here Tuesday, blaming Iran and China for instability in the world.
“In the finest traditions of our great democracy, we are rallying the noble nations to build a new liberal order that prevents conflict and achieves greater prosperity,” Mike Pompeo said in a foreign policy speech.
“Under President Trump, we are not abandoning international leadership or our friends in the international system,” he said.
Pompeo criticized Iran and China in his speech, rejecting suggestions that Washington was acting unilaterally.
“Even our European friends sometimes say we’re not acting in the free world’s interest. This is just plain wrong.”
“We are acting to preserve, protect, and advance an open, just, transparent and free world of sovereign states. This project will require actual, not pretend, restoration of the liberal order among nations. It will require an assertive America and leadership from not only my country, but of democracies around the world.”
Pompeo said the United States was pushing the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund to reduce funding to countries such as China, saying they already had access to financial markets to raise capital. Pompeo is in Brussels for talks among foreign ministers at NATO, where Trump has accused European members of failing to spend enough on their own defense and relying too much on Washington. NATO is also pressing Trump not to go through with his decision to quit the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces treaty with Moscow, signed in 1987, but instead to work to bring Russia into compliance with the arms control pact.
Russia’s self-defined sphere of influence won’t just expand in the digital world. We are already seeing a more aggressive posture in Syria. In the Baltics, governments are increasingly worried about Russian intervention, to the point that Estonia is training its population on how to conduct guerrilla operations in the wake of an invasion. In Turkey, it is hard to imagine Trump trying to court the Islamic government as it continues to turn toward Moscow.
This means more refugees in Europe. With Russia and Syria unhindered, the war will continue and it will likely go poorly for the rebels. Turkey’s unwillingness to stop refugees flowing toward Europe will continue. And more Syrians on the streets of Paris and Berlin will be bad news for liberal politicians like Angela Merkel, and good news for right-wing demagogues like Marine Le Pen.
But power in Western Europe has already begun to shift in different ways. NATO’s role as the guarantor of 70 years of continental peace is no longer certain. Trump is calling for fewer troops overseas, and has mocked the bedrock doctrine of mutual defence. This alone means America’s pre-eminent role in the alliance has effectively ended. No one is entirely sure the U.S. can be counted on. Given the stakes, other member states are understandably looking to Germany to move into the leadership vacuum.
It is almost inevitable that Europe (and Canada) will feel obligated to increase their own level of military spending and readiness, if not because Washington is explicitly demanding it, because they no longer know if American forces will be there when needed. And if you have troops, you tend to use them. So a better-armed European Union may be more willing to unilaterally intervene overseas in peacekeeping or peacemaking roles. When the next crisis boils over in Africa or the Middle East, global eyes may turn to Brussels, not Washington.
In the United Kingdom, Brexiteers are heartened by the Trump victory, and expect the populist president to re-emphasize the legendary transatlantic “special relationship” that has faded over the last few decades. Even though one of Trump’s first gaffes was to propose his accomplice Nigel Farage as the new British ambassador to the United States, there is no question this transatlantic partnership is going to become more relevant in both Washington and London and, as a result, pull the United Kingdom further away from Europe.
After that meeting, Pompeo issued an ultimatum to Russia regarding the INF Treaty that the U.S. will fully withdraw from it in 60 days if Moscow remains out of compliance. He asserted Russia has been violating the treaty for years:
“It’s worth noting that Russia’s violations didn’t happen overnight. Russia’s been flight-testing the SSC-8 cruise missile since the mid-2000s. They’ve been testing it in excess of ranges that the treaty permits. All the tests of the SSC-8 have originated from a Kapustin Yar site from both a fixed and mobile launcher. Its range makes it a direct menace to Europe.
“In 2017, General Selva of the Joint Chiefs of Staff told Congress that Russia had deployed its missile, and I quote, “in order to pose a threat to NATO and to facilities within the NATO area of responsibility,” end of quote. Russia continues to press forward, and as of late 2018 has filled multiple battalions of the SSC-8 missiles.
“Throughout all of this, the United States has remained in scrupulous compliance with the treaty. In spite of Russia’s violations, we have exercised the utmost patience and effort in working to convince Russia to adhere to its terms. On at least 30 occasions since 2013, extending to the highest levels of leadership, we have raised Russia’s noncompliance and stressed that a failure to return to compliance would have consequences.”
Pompeo said the INF violations are part of a “larger pattern of Russian lawlessness on the world stage” that includes the war with Georgia, the annexation of Crimea, and the allegations of meddling in the 2016 presidential election and the Skripal poisoning in the United Kingdom. The Kerch Strait incident, he added, was just the latest incident in the pattern.
He then said it is now up to Moscow to “make the necessary changes” to save the INF Treaty, saying the Russians must admit their violations and “fully and verifiably comes back into compliance” in order to prevent the U.S. from withdrawing. He also said Washington appreciates NATO’s “strong support” for the Trump administration record,
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