WASHINGTON (AP) – Mike Pompeo does not fade quietly. In his last days as Secretary of State, he is issuing orders that have created international bottlenecks and to reinforce his legacy as the principal promoter of President Donald Trump’s “America First” doctrine. And has tweeted a storm on personal accounts.
With a potential eye on the 2024 presidential term, Pompeo doubled for Trump’s support, with even other cabinet members resigning or remaining out of sight following the Capitol violence. While the House debated Trump’s role in encouraging the riot, Pompeo sent Trump a tweet promoting the Nobel Peace Prize.
Last week, Pompeo celebrated controversial policies likely to be overturned by his successor, criticizing what he considers inappropriate news coverage, and complaining about alleged censorship on social media .
And in a sign of his post-Trump ambitions, he urged followers of his official department’s Twitter account to start building his personal following.
While it is not uncommon for outgoing cabinet members to publicize their successes, Pompeo has taken it a step further by trampling his predecessors in the national security community, some of whom will play a prominent role in President-elect Joe Biden’s administration.
“Remember this Middle East expert?” He said that this cannot happen. We did that, ”Pompeo said in a taunting tweet that there was a video clip of John Kerry stating that Arab countries would not recognize Israel without an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal. Kerry, a former Secretary of State, will serve as a climate envoy in the Biden administration.
Already the most political of recent secretaries of state, Pompeo has drawn even the mildest criticism and accused his critics of being misguided, unintentional or incompetent. He has ignored the advice of his own mentors by moving forward with pet projects, some of which are designed to complicate Biden’s chairmanship.
Since last Saturday they have:
-A long-standing ban on US contacts with Taiwan, a move whose main result is to enrage China.
Yemen’s Houthi insurgent terrorist organization at the United Nations, a move that the United Nations and relief agencies say could already lead to humanitarian catastrophe.
-Ru-designated Cuba “state sponsor of terrorism,” an action that would hinder or at least delay any attempt by Biden to improve relations with Havana.
Iran with deep and long-standing ties to al-Qaeda, a declaration that many in the intelligence community feel has a history of hostility between the two.
The actions are consistent with a tough “America First” policy, which he has carried out with enthusiasm for a long time.
He has attacked bilateral treaties such as China, Iran, various UN organizations, multilateral institutions such as the International Criminal Court, and the arms control agreement with Russia, two of which the Trump administration withdrew during his time as America’s top diplomat have taken.
On Iran, Pompeo was particularly harsh, re-enforcing all sanctions relaxed by the Obama administration after the 2015 nuclear deal and adding more penalties. He also advocated the assassination of a top Iranian general in Iraq early last year and was at the forefront of attempting to encourage Sunni Arab states to unite against mainly Shia Iran.
Pompeo said “foreign policy constantly seeks a rhetoric inside the Iranian regime that will ‘normalize relations”. “The reality is that you have a better chance of finding a unicorn.”
Pompeo has made a game of crushing China, Cuba, and international organizations, as well as Obama administration officials who believe he was hopelessly inexperienced in negotiating with them.
Pompeo tweeted on Monday, “As the United Nations’ biggest contributor, I put the interests of American taxpayers and America first.” It was accompanied by photographs of former President Barack Obama, Kerry, Obama’s National Security Adviser Susan Rice and Obama’s UN Ambassador Samantha Power at the United Nations. Carey, Rice and Power also hold key positions in Berry’s administration.
Yet for all efforts to persuade the Trump administration’s foreign policy, Pompeo and the State Department have played minimal roles in some of the largest sectors, with the White House taking over. It was most notable that Trump supporters saw it as one of his top achievements, improving Israel’s relations with its Arab neighbors.
Led by Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner, the administration strongly promoted Israeli-Arab peace efforts, culminating in the normalization of relations between the Jewish state and the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco. Pompeo and the State Department were largely absent from that diplomacy, with the exception of the ambassador of Israel David Friedman, who reported primarily to the White House.
Pompeo’s State Department was effectively shut down regarding Kushner’s much-publicized-Israeli-Palestinian peace “vision” – and the Secretary of State was not present in Bahrain in 2019 for the rollout of the economic part of the plan. Pompeo and other cabinet members were present for the unveiling of the political piece of the proposal last January, yet their role in planning, which was immediately denied by the Palestinians, is murky.
On Thursday Pompeo praised Trump’s March 2019 decision to recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights, which he had annexed from Syria in 1967. He tweeted a video of himself and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu talking with the captain at Netanyahu’s residence in Jerusalem that night: “I’ll never forget this moment.” Yet he and his delegation fell out of time for the Golan Heights decision, which Trump had made shortly after meeting Pompeo with Netanyahu after consulting with Kushner.
Similarly, the State Department took a step in Kushner’s negotiations with Morocco to normalize relations with Israel, including American recognition of Morocco’s sovereignty over the former Spanish territory of Western Sahara.
Pompeo rejected a decade-old American legal opinion about the legitimacy of Jewish settlements on the lands claimed by the Palestinians. On his last visit to Israel in November, Pompeo became the first Secretary of State to visit a colony and proudly promote a West Bank wine in his name on Thursday.
“Lempime to Pompeo Wine!” Pompeo said on Twitter.