Mike Pompeo Testifies: Look, Listen & Learn

Introduction

Quite an interesting hearing at the U.S. Senate’s Foreign Relations Committee which I would recommend watching in full. There is plenty to unpack from the discussions in the hearing but I will ignore my urge to comment on each important point made, and will only focus on 2. Suffice to say it demonstrates in no uncertain terms the current administration’s – supported by the GOP (and don’t you ever forget it) – commitment to the America First policy. So I would urge the EU to analyse this & future hearings and making pragmatic adjustments to EU policy vis-a-vis the United States with the understanding that perceptions do matter and you can’t protect your value with a stick if you’re being attacked/undermined with a tank – not literally you understand.

As for Secretary of State Mike Pompeo himself, many describe him as a Policy Hawk. I would have agreed watching his seemingly principled/firm questioning of Hillary Clinton during Benghazi hearing – same applies to Congressman Trey Gowdy & Jim Jordan . Realty of their continued defence of Donald Trump policy or avoiding proper response to his actions/temperament demonstrates to me that there is a thin line between one who’s described as a Political Hawk and another who’s described as  Political Hack; it all comes down to whether your political bearings are guided by principle (you know these things you teach your kids) or party line (you know these things your party leader & funders teach you), and people can make their own judgement.

Commentary

Interesting questions for Senator Rand Paul followed by some thoughts;

  • With regards to being able to negotiate with your adversaries, I do so agree but then again as with everything it does depend in terms of time/place. So if the time was – just as a hypothetical example – is after an aggressive assault by the adversary NOT in battle but rather on the core foundations of your Democracy – then bad time/bad idea cause for simplistic people like myself this emboldens not only them but others in your list of adversaries. What do you think? Then suggesting to talk about lifting sanctions, you’re a lone sailor now navigating into the realms of “Foreign Policy as-you-go”. You can merely elude to this suggestion if there was some level of admission of guilt for the hacking otherwise even low level negotiations is inappropriate to say the very least – and please don’t make assumptions of former President Ronald Reagan who – I would think – would be turning in his grave from the disgust of how the GOP is handling this hacking matter. So I can only recommend to please try and think harder.
  •  Comparing allies with Russia in terms of influence is a bit tricky but let’s think it through. I do agree foreign influence can be from friend & foe but it comes to the power/aggressiveness of the attack and a historical context can also be of benefit. I would have also liked to hear a little more from you – maybe in another setting – about allies attempts to influence U.S policy – how they do it and what solutions you propose cause I would suggest that the breadth/depth of foreign influence in U.S foreign policy is at this point/time unmatched to any other time in U.S. history. You can start by looking closely at the activities lobbyists & special interest groups – structures that have been used to subvert the role of Democratic structures/institutions – and with the much appreciated help of Congress thanks very much; how is that for iron? As for criticising partisanship have a close look at normalising the concept of gerrymandering in U.S. elections then you can start to have a constructive conversation about protecting your elections from unduly influence (internal or external). It is of course convenient to kick back on Social Media and the likes, but more of the answers lie close to where you’re sitting.
  • In terms of suggesting the President should be in charge or partly responsible in triggering/control of the Russia rather than the DNI (Director of National Intelligence); the answer here is quiet simple (no “Intelligence” necessary at all) and it’s called “Donald Trump” – in fact he is the living/breathing embodiment of why you should limit the power of the Presidency to ensure there are even more checks/balances on leaders – for cry’n out loud he’s no fake news he’s flesh & blood and living amongst you, so please -> ask NOT this question every again rather ask what additional checks/balances you to need to apply to the Presidency to protect your country!
  • With regards to the Iran deal I can see there is a smidgen of common sense here. I can also see Mr. Pompeo chose to pass ownership to Trump’s decision rather than defend it because it is a policy that makes no sense whatsoever except to appease some allies in the Middle East – as Pompeo himself suggested in the answer; this in effect means that the United States as in many other Western countries is importing foreign conflicts into the national political space and allowing them to shape it’s own foreign policy rather than being effective in resolving them as a matter of national security; that’s the real travesty that our Democracies face today.

Again interesting line of questions from Senator Marco Rubio here on China followed by some thoughts;

  • I am not entirely sure that China is currently or is even interested in becoming a military adversary to the United States. They most certainly have regional/strategic interests but these are mostly driven by economic objectives/aspirations and can be ironed out through direct/tough negotiations & compromise. Power Talk on telly doesn’t achieve much and Power Action when talking economics has repercussions for all including the United States itself & Europe. You see this really is a lesson in Globalisation (apply it also to effects of Global Warming) – now a fact of life that is undeniable – where you can make adjustments through negotiation/collaboration or break if you insist on reversing it’s course on your own terms through power play. You see the America First approach you champion and the BREXIT approach in the United Kingdom; they’re both 2 faces of the same coin both in terms of cause/effect & more importantly extremists ideology.
  • It is quite telling when Rubio at the end of the clip say’s he would have liked to work with Europe against China before dealing with the Europe (which in effect means turing back and spanking it after the China questions is dealt with). As mentioned on the top I hope the EU has huge Open Ears and an Open Mind that goes with it.

Final thoughts

I personally believe that the level of partisanship in the United States has exceeded any previous level during the Presidency of Barack Obama. I also believe that a big part of partisanship was based on racism pure/simple. It was a big shock for many that an African American would not only lead the country but also be able to achieve plenty of positive policy & legislation during his leadership. And guess who led the first assault in the early days of his Presidency disputing his origins? Guess…. Even now there continues to be push back on his leadership and legacy,  not necessarily – from the looks of it – based on the merits of policy but who achieved them – characterising this assault as personal would in my view be an understatement; even this aggressive push back in of itself is quite telling. So America, I’ve been lucky to have been shaped through your education system brief a period as it was which had a profound affect on me, and worked for one of your Educational programs which also helped shape my experience/career path – so I am all for true American values/traditions – but what I see now ain’t related to the history we share, so I can only hope that America First translates something along the lines of -> Fix America First.

 

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