US secretary of state attacks bureaucrats and multilateralism ‘as an end to itself.’
Trump is right, Europe is wrong, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo declared in a speech in Brussels Tuesday.
Pompeo, who was in Europe to attend a meeting for NATO foreign ministers, said U.S. President Donald Trump was putting America’s interests ahead of the international order but insisted that Washington was acting to the benefit of the entire world.
“We won the Cold War. We won the peace,” Pompeo declared, citing the late President George H.W. Bush‘s role in the reunification of Germany. “This is the type of leadership that President Trump is boldly reasserting.” The secretary of state also took repeated jabs at “bureaucrats” — a frontal assault in a city that employs tens of thousands of government functionaries.
Aside from two brief heckles, the audience responded with silence.
It was a remarkably undiplomatic speech by the top American diplomat, and called into question the system of international cooperation just two days after the U.S. signed on to the latest conclusions of the G20 at a summit in Buenos Aires of leaders of the world’s 20 biggest economies.
“Donald Trump is returning the United States to its traditional central leadership in the world” — Mike Pompeo
“Multilateralism has too often become viewed as an end to itself,” Pompeo said at the event sponsored by the Germany Marshall Fund of the United States that cited “strengthening transatlantic cooperation” as its mission. “The more treaties we sign, the safer we supposedly we are. The more bureaucrats we have, the better the job gets done. Was that ever really true? The central question that we face is the question of whether the system as currently configured as it exists today, as the world exists today, does it work? Does it work for all the people of the world?”
His remarks were in striking contrast to a speech given in the same venue by Secretary of State John Kerry in October 2016 before the Obama administration left office, in which he declared, “The need for our unity is as great as ever.”