A Dubious Pompeo Speech
for an Empty Trump Foreign Policy
On the second night of the Republican National Convention, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who is widely known in Washington to have his own Presidential ambitions, broke with long-standing diplomatic tradition and delivered a glowing speech about Donald Trump’s “bold initiatives” in “nearly every corner of the world.” Speaking from the rooftop of a Jerusalem hotel, while on a taxpayer-funded trip through the Middle East, Pompeo praised the President for exposing China’s “predatory aggression,” getting North Korea to the negotiating table, withdrawing from the Iran nuclear deal, and the recent diplomatic opening between Israel and the United Arab Emirates. Yet what was most striking about the surprisingly stiff and skimpy speech was how much Trump hasn’t done in four years—and even that at a cost. He’s devastated America’s reputation globally. He’s done little to confront dictators or counter competing powers. And his policies on the defining issues of our time are too often empty, even illusory. In 2020, America is a shell of the nation it once was on the global stage.
As Trump seeks reëlection, some of the toughest criticism on his foreign policy is from other Republicans, including a scathing joint condemnation last week by seventy-five senior Republican officials from four Administrations. “Without question, Trump has denigrated our standing with friends and with foes. They all think less of us,” Richard Armitage, one of the signatories, and the Deputy Secretary of State during the George W. Bush Administration and Assistant Secretary of Defense during the Reagan Administration, told me. “Our standing globally has not been this low since the end of the Cold War and probably not since before World War Two. . . . People don’t really care about us. They’re so over us because of this guy.” Read on....