Secretary of State Mike Pompeo went to Munich last week and blithely ignored the Europeans. Despite the fact that leader after leader at the security conference bemoaned President Donald Trump’s “America first” foreign policy, Pompeo insisted that all was well. Indeed, Pompeo did not seem ruffled by the scarce attention given his boss.
Perhaps the reason behind this is that Pompeo himself is an irrelevancy. A neo-Conservative without a home, he insists that there are no disagreements when in fact Europeans clearly see the United States as a hectoring ally that does not consult them and when they address them at all it is to tell them to ante up.
Under Pompeo, the State Department has tried to manipulate Trump, just as John Kelly, H.R. McMaster and John Bolton tried to do. They ignored Trump when he was right, such as in the Ukraine and embraced him when he was wrong as with Iraq and Iran. Foreign policy by manipulation is a dangerous enterprise serving to giving wrong impressions to other countries. Inconsistency becomes the policy and confusion reigns.
Take Iran as an example. Pompeo pushed for the assassination of Qasem Soleimani on Iraqis territory. It was a cowboy response and it probably strengthened Tehran’s hand as well as strengthening the hand of the Mullahs. Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif possibly said more than the intended when he declared that “Martyr Soleimani is much more effective than General Soleimani.” It certainly would not rank as the most sentimental remark he could have made.
And it highlights the CIA’s lack of understanding of Iranian politics. That Soleimani was a friend of the previous Iranian president and a “hawk” was missed by the crew at Langley. In other words, Zarif did not seem particularly sad to see him go. Iran cannot afford a war but the United States strengthened its proxies and weakened its own position. Moreover, they suspected that Trump sought no wider war and it appears they were correct.
So Pompeo, the hot head, celebrated the reduction of both ISIS and Iran even though it simply was not so. And Trump gave him no particular support seeing him as no more trustworthy than Bolton. At least give the president some credit in not wanting to seek a reprise of George W. Bush’s foreign policy. When he denounced “endless war,” he meant it and Pompeo remains the last hold-out of the covert undermining crew campaign against Trump’s foreign policy.
All Pompeo has done was force Trump to hire advisors that testified against him during the impeachment. When it was becoming too obvious, Pompeo went back to insisting that he was on the team all along. Again, the so-called foreign policy “experts” in the GOP through their attempts to alter Trump’s positions led to the phone call that got the president impeached. Moreover, Trump undoubtedly made the unwise choice of Rudy Giuliani, simply because he was one of the few people he could trust.
Trump clearly wants to downsize America’s role in the Middle East and Europe. Trump would do his cause a great deal of good by replacing the ineffectual Pompeo.