Pompeo will leave State Department as a Trump loyalist to the very end

Washington Secretary of State Mike Pompeo departs his Foggy Bottom post on Wednesday a loyal Trump footman to the very end.

His nearly three-year term as the top US diplomat was marked by an “Amerika Eerste” approach that saw fundamental and oftentimes controversial shifts in foreign policy, from Iran to China to Israel. Some of his most consequential decisions were announced in the final weeks of his tenure, leaving behind a minefield for the Biden administration to navigate.
He pledged to bringswaggerto the State Department, but he is leaving ithollowed out,” in the words of his ousted ambassador to Ukraine.
And as the United States continues to grapple with the fallout of an assault on its very institutions of democracyone incited by the President and his alliesPompeo leaves with an apparent eye toward his own political future on a tide of Twitter self-congratulations.
In the weeks leading up the inauguration, Pompeo has used his official State Department account to share dozens and dozens of tweets about his legacy as top US diplomatan enumeration ofthe mission set, the huge wins, personal stories, and a lot more,” hy het gesê. “Just me, Mike.
Many were pugnacious, with the Harvard-educated lawyer taking aim at the foreign policy “elite” and the Obama administration. Several called for the account’s three million followers to follow him on his personal Twitter page. Een, posted Wednesday, suggested President Donald Trump should be nominated for a Nobel Prize for his work on normalization deals between Israel and the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain.
Hours later, Trump was impeached for an unprecedented second time, this time for “aanhitsing van opstand.”

‘It’s only the Trump legacy

In an interview just a day prior, Pompeo suggested that he did not believe the deadly attack on the US Capitol would tarnish the administration’s legacy.
“Kyk, what happened that day was terrible, and I have said repeatedly that those folks who engaged in this activity need to be identified, prosecuted, and they are criminals and ought to be treated as such,” hy told Hugh Hewitt.
But history will reflect on the good work that this President and our administration has done. Those books will be written about the changes that we have made in the world, the recognition that we have taken about reality, sovereignty, respect for basic dignity and human rights, a return to the founding principles in a way that previous administrations had not done,” hy het gesê.
One former senior State Department official told CNN that “in baie maniere, Mike Pompeo’s singular accomplishment is that he didn’t get fired and that he somehow survived four years with this President, and not many can claim that.
Pompeo was Trump’s CIA Director prior to moving to the State Department.
As in all things related to this administration, there is no such thing as a Pompeo legacy or Tillerson legacy or a Mattis legacy or an Esper legacy. It’s only the Trump legacy, because of how the President understands himself and understands everyone around him,” het die amptenaar gesê.
Four years of the Trump administration have left the United States isolated on the world stage, its credibility shaken as Trump upended traditional foreign policy, pulled out of multilateral organizations like the Wêreld-Gesondheidsorganisasie and withdrew from treaties like the Paris Climate Accord en die Iran nuclear deal.
The US President disparaged allies and sought personal diplomacy with some of the world’s most dangerous leaders. He held two summits with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un and uitgeruil “pragtige” letters with him.
He pursued an unusually close relationship with Vladimir Putin, siding with the Russian leader over his own intelligence community regarding 2016 election interference.
These relations resulted in neither a denuclearized North Korea nor a subdued Putin. Just this week, Kim unveiled a new submarine-launched ballistic missile. Russia has continued to illegally occupy Crimea, was linked to a massive cyberattack on the US government, attempted to meddle in the US election, put bounties on US soldiers and its secret police force tried to murder a leading Kremlin critic.
We’re in a worse place today than we were before he came in, and I didn’t think that was possible,” said former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who was fired in March 2018.
In 'n interview with Bloomberg at the beginning of January, Pompeo declined to offer details on his future plans, but said he was proud of the work the administration had done.
I’ve made some real friends and I’ve had a chance to see people at every level in the United States Government working and striving to keep the American people safe,” hy het gesê.
Pompeo said thatafter four years, I think we’re leaving the world safer than when we came in” — a claim belied by the ongoing global pandemic and aggression of adversaries worldwide, some of whom were emboldened by the very policies this administration put in place.
I hope that the policies that we put in place will have the capacity to continue,” hy het gesê.

Foreign policy moves

Pompeo and members of his State Department team were the faces of some of the administration’s biggest effortsits hawkish China strategy, its unprecedented dealings with the Taliban, sy “maximum pressurecampaign on Iran, and its reversal of long-standing policies on Israel.
Another former senior State Department official also said thatwhether it was Iran, actions with China, his own interpretation of human rights, or the meshing of domestic political agenda with what State did, all that seemed driven by strong personal interests as well.
The top US diplomat played a steady drumbeat of anti-Beijing rhetoric throughout his tenure, calling the Chinese Communist Party thecentral threat of our timesas tensions between the two nations spiked. He enacted aggressive policies aimed at countering the Chinese government; Beijing frequently responded with tit-for-tat retaliation.
He imposed visa restrictions on Chinese government officials, designated Chinese media companies based in the United States as foreign missions, en shut down the Chinese consulate in Houston, accusing it of being a central node of Chinese espionage.
The administration unveiled a number of punitive measures for crackdowns on protesters and Beijing’s encroachment into the once semi-autonomous region. Pompeo also spoke out about the Chinese government’s brutal campaign of repression against the Uyghurs and other ethnic and religious minorities in Xinjiang.
Undersecretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment Keith Krach described Pompeo asvery strategic” en “taai,” which he saw as attributes in dealing with China.
If I look at China, in order to have areas of cooperation with them, we actually have to compete with them first. They look at it as a zero-sum game. And the only way to deal with it is from a position of strength,” het hy aan CNN gesê.
Krach said that he believed the Clean Network inisiatief, under which dozens of governments and companies pledged to usetrustedtelecommunications partners as opposed to companies like Huawei, would be one of the lasting legacies of the State Department under Pompeo. The administration threatened to limit intelligence sharing with nations who used the Chinese telecom giant.
As Pompeo hardened America’s policies towards China, in his final days he announced a major policy shift to clear the way for US diplomats and other government officials to deal directly with Taiwan government officials in a move that seemed aimed at boxing in the Biden administration.
It was one of the many significant announcements he unveiled at the 11th hour, saam met re-designating Cuba as a state sponsor of terrorism en designating Yemen’s Houthi rebels as a foreign terrorist organization. Experts fear the latter could lead to famine in the war-torn nation.
As part of the administration’s efforts to end America’s longest-running wara Trump campaign pledgePompeo and his team did something no American leader had been willing to do before: meet and sign an agreement with the Taliban. That agreement, signed in February 2020, eventually led to the start of intra-Afghan negotiations, but those talks have yet to yield results.
Intussen, deadly violence in Afghanistan has continued and reports found that the Taliban has not distanced itself from al Qaeda after pledging to do so. Despite Trump administration officialsclaims that a US withdrawal from the country would be conditions-based, Trump continued to decrease troop levelswhich some argue has given the Taliban the upper hand in negotiations. With the Trump administration coming to an end, the nearly two-decade presence on the ground continues, met 2,500 troops as of Friday.
Pompeo began his tenure by laying out 12 eise of Iran and pursued a policy of crushing sanctions for the subsequent two and half years. Daardie “maximum pressurepolicy saw the US consistently isolated from its major alliesglaringly so, byvoorbeeld, when it tried to extend a conventional weapons embargo on Iran last year. Rather than constraint, the administration’s approach has led to a more belligerent Tehran. It increasingly breached the commitments it made under the Iran nuclear deal, which the US abandoned in May 2018. Iran recently announced it would enrich uranium up to 20% reinheid.
If we had stayed in the JCPOA, they never would have done that,” the first former senior State Department official said.
The US also saw itself isolated from allies on Israel as the Trump administration relocated its embassy to Jerusalem and broke with historic and international precedent to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heightsterritory taken from Syria during the 1967 Six-Day War.
Pompeius announced in November 2019 that the US would no longer consider Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank de facto illegal, a major reversal of the USlongstanding policy.
Nobody really wanted to touch it, and he was willing to touch it,” US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman said of the prior position on settlements, which had been in place since 1978. Friedman, a Trump political appointee, told CNN that Pompeo commissioneda good amount of energy within the legal department of Stateto make it happen.

Fueling 2024 bespiegeling

During one of his last trips as top US diplomat, Pompeo became the first secretary of state to visit one of the settlements, which are considered illegal under international law, as well as the Golan Heights. The visit fueled speculation about his 2024 presidential ambitions, as it was seen by some as an attempt to appeal to US evangelical voters.
This was far from Pompeo’s first apparent outreach to the conservative American evangelical community. Laas jaar, he spoke at a megachurch in Texas, appeared at the conservative Values Voters Summit, en delivered the keynote address for a conservative, anti-LGBTQ, anti-abortion Christian organization in Florida. The former Kansas congressman has used his position to institute religious freedom policies and strong anti-abortion measures.
In Israel, Pompeo recorded a speech for the Republican National Convention, a stark break from his past secretaries who largely avoided partisan politics while in office, an apparent breach of his own State Department regulations, and a possible violation of the law. The State Department said at the time he was making the speech in his personal capacity and no taxpayer resources were used.
His time in office was marked by several Office of Inspector General inquiries, including one into potential misuse of taxpayer resources by himself and his wife, and a controversial ouster of inspector general Steve Linick.
Pompeo waded into the domestic political fray in July remarks at the unveiling of the draft report from his long-toutedCommission on Unalienable Rights,” casting ire at the New York Times’ “1619 Projek” and warning thatthe very core of what it means to be an American, indeed the American way of life itself, is under attackamid nationwide protests for racial justice and against police brutality.
But on the underlying issue motivating those protests, Pompeo remained largely silent. Hy did not immediately comment on the police killing of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man, to the disappointment of diplomats who spoke to CNN.
And when he was asked about Trump forcibly removing peaceful protesters from outside of the White House and the message it projected to the world, Pompeo scoffed at the question. It was one of many contentious exchanges between the free press and the top US diplomat, who once excoriated an NPR reporter in a statement bearing the State Department seal. He used one of his final public speeches to accuse the Voice of America news service van “demeaning Americain a speech that a watchdog group criticized aspolitical propagandaand a violation of the government-funded agency’s own rules. A VOA reporter who attempted to ask Pompeo a question following that speechduring which he took no queries from journalists — was quickly reassigned.

Failure to restore the Department’s ‘swagger

In his early days on the job Pompeo promised the State Department would get itsswagger” terug onder sy leiding, but many diplomats have told CNN he failed.
Sources said there were high hopes for the outset of his tenure, as he took over a department decimated under Tillerson, with the first senior State Department official telling CNN that Pompeo madesignificant headway at the beginning of his tenurein making the State Department relevant to the President.
That changed drastically with Trump’s first impeachmentand this kind of remarkable parade of senior State Department officials who are subpoenaed and called to the Hill to testify against him,” het die amptenaar gesê.
The most prevalent of those State Department officials was highly respected former US Ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, who was removed from her post after a coordinated campaign by Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani and others.
As she was repeatedly impugned by Trump, Pompeius remained silent. Morale plummeted.
I remain disappointed that the department’s leadership and others have declined to acknowledge that the attacks against me and others are dangerously wrong,” sy testified before lawmakers in November 2019. “This is about far more than me or a couple of individuals. As Foreign Service professionals are being denigrated and undermined, the institution is also being degraded. This will soon cause real harm, if it hasn’t already.
Some former diplomats said that Pompeo deserves credit for preventing Trump from doing further damage to the Department in the wake of the first impeachment.
But many officials and diplomats who spoke to CNN throughout his tenure believed that Pompeo repeatedly relinquished his duty to support, protect and inspire the diplomatic corps when tumult at home impinged on their work to advocate for American democracy around the world, from the crackdowns on peaceful protesters in the US to his failure to initially acknowledge Joe Biden’s victory to most recently with his response to the violent insurrection at the Capitol.
Pompeo’s public response in the aftermath of the attack consisted of three tweets condemning the violence and calling for those responsible to be held accountable. They were a brief interlude in his tweets about “Amerika Eerste” accomplishments. For some his actions in his final days was the breaking point.
What we saw on Wednesday is the antithesis of the work of the State Department,” said a State Department political appointee who quit the week of the protests. “I do not see how this is any different than an attack on one of our embassies. I cannot believe that Secretary Pompeo has demonstrated such a lack of leadership on this. It is absolutely disgraceful.




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