US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo gave an interview with Fox News’ journalist Brian Kilmeade that was posted to YouTube on March 15, 2019. This interview is twenty minutes and covers a range of topics. What is stunning is the degree of paranoia that Mr. Pompeo expresses about China most of all, as well as Russia, and their interests in the world. We post the video here, and we offer a list of the specific time stamps for each question with a paraphrased quote from Mr. Pompeo in reply. Where needed we have added emphasis:
- [00:09] – Google is helping the Chinese military with their technology – “We need global companies to come to the realization of the threat that China presents”
- [01:10] – When China was challenged on its human rights record, its response was for the US to look at itself and its own practices – “[China has] One of the worst human rights records since the 1930’s”
- [02:05] – President Trump and President Xi to meet at Mar-a-Lago – “Trade talks are progressing; hopefully they can bring the deals together.”
- [03:05] – Was President Trump’s decision to walk away from North Korean talks a message to the Chinese? – “I don’t know if that is true or not. In Hanoi, the President had the American people’s interests at the core of his process. I am sure the rest of the world observed that.”
- [04:45] – On intelligence suggesting the renewed development of rockets in North Korea – “We went into the Hanoi talks fully aware of the situation.”
- [06:05] – If the North Koreans set off another rocket – “I do not want to forecast what we would do, but it would be most unfortunate. We hope Mr. Kim will stay true to his word.”
- [06:44] – Russians breaking sanctions against North Korea by transferring cargo to North Korean ship – “We have expressed what we know about the violations, and the sanctions in place are presently the best (most effective) they have ever been. We are in pretty good shape, and we have to redouble our efforts.”
- [07:35] – Venezuela – How much more garbage do they have to eat before America gets involved? – “We have 200 tons of food on the border that Venezuela won’t let in…”
- [08:40] – Afghanistan deal and political reconciliation – “We have made more progress recently than in the last nine years towards reconciliation in Afghanistan”
- [09:40] – Are members of the Taliban Five that were released from GitMo part of the talks – “We have negotiated with some really bad people… We don’t always get to choose who we have to talk to… If we can deliver security to the American people, we will talk with just about anyone.”
- [11:15] – How much longer are we going to put up with Pakistan (and its support of the Taliban) – “They have to stop harboring terrorists”
- [11.52] – China and Huawei 5G technology being deployed in Poland: “The Chinese government will have access to data that no American wants them to have.”
(Incidentally, this issue about Huawei is a topic worthy of much more intensive discussion in a later article. We can offer some rather unique perspective on this company and its work with and within, the West.)
- [12:49] – Angela Merkel tells US Germany will handle its own intelligence, and still intends to buy natural gas from Russia. Why are our allies ignoring us? – “There is more work to do.”
- [13:32] – Global warming – “*not in the top five threats* to the world.” (This proves that even a broken clock is right twice a day!)
- [14:02] – US border security and President Trump’s Emergency Declaration – The challenge at the Southern border is real, the challenge of not knowing who is entering and leaving the country is real. Most immigrants crossing now are not Mexican, but from points farther south.
- [15:24] – Israeli attacked by rockets launched from Gaza – “The Israelis have the right to defend themselves” – speculating that Hamas might have done this
- [17:44] – Trip to Kuwait, Lebanon, Israel – different missions – common theme to help these nations push back against the Islamic Republic (ISIS)
- [19:04] – the relationship with the President – Paraphrase “My job is to execute his vision for America’s foreign policy.” – high praise for President Trump’s successes.
In going through the points of the interview here shown, plus a few more that we left off this list, Mr. Pompeo does indicate one thing that he is doing correctly, even if it means the wrong actions – he is dedicated to following the lead that the President gives him. In the same direct and frank manner that Sergey Lavrov has (though with a different style), Mr. Pompeo seems to understand that his job is to follow orders.
This of course offers the US President a sense of leeway, which we have seen before in earlier attempts to salvage the disintegrating relations between the USA and Russia. The present policy points of view are indeed often quite paranoid – there is little new about that, as it may simply derive from the fact that the US is on top of the hill and knows this is a vulnerable place to be, but it is also nothing new or shocking that the rest of the world cannot see and handle.
Indeed, the point that Germany, one of the US’ closes allies after WWII, is taking the interesting course of being a NATO member, yet a partner with Russia for natural gas (which is simply the most practical course), and in so doing, disregarding the rather imperial efforts of the US to try to make Europe its own gas customer (not at all practical), suggests that the hammerlock that the US establishment wishes it had on the world is not a reality.
This interview is a very interesting snapshot, and is worth watching, even with the brevity of the answers.