If Pompeo sounds like he’s trying to gaslight the world, it’s probably because he is.
Donald Trump is building a new world order upheld by American leadership and democracy, his secretary of state told diplomats at an event in Brussels on Tuesday, blaming Iran and China for instability in the world.
“In the finest traditions of our great democracy, we are rallying the noble nations to build a new liberal order that prevents war and achieves greater prosperity,” Mike Pompeo said in a foreign policy speech.
“Under President Trump, we are not abandoning international leadership or our friends in the international system,” he said.
Pompeo criticised Iran and China in his speech, rejecting suggestions that Washington was acting unilaterally.
“Even our European friends sometimes say we’re not acting in the free world’s interest. This is just plain wrong.
But he does have an escape clause:
“We are acting to preserve, protect and advance an open, just, transparent and free world of sovereign states. This project will require actual, not pretend, restoration of the liberal order among nations. It will require an assertive America and leadership from not only my country, but of democracies around the world.”
“No, our order is the real liberal order!” Anyway, about that.
On a not-unrelated note, I’ve started to come around to the idea that Trump did the right thing in using trade pressure to leverage China when it comes to intellectual-property theft, technology-transfer policy, and a variety of other unfair practices. But I’m also reminded that Trump has no idea what he’s doing, probably just repeats back snatches of things he hears in his meetings, and only cares about being able to declare “victory”—whether he gets one or not.