At the German Marshall Fund of the United States in Brussels, Belgium on December 4, 2018, Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, proclaimed the Trump Administration sought to establish a new liberal order in the world.
During the beginning of the speech, Pompeo tried to tie together George H.W. Bush’s success at coalition building to Trump’s attempt at the same. Stating that
With no small measure of George H.W. Bush’s effort, we reunited Germany. This is the type of leadership that President Trump is boldly reasserting
Pompeo goes on to assert the new order should stand against China, Russia, and Iran through this new idea lead by Trump’s America First policy. This policy is supposed to lead to American prosperity, and thus, world prosperity. Of course, this idea is notably ironic given President Trump’s vociferous and frequent railing against globalism.
Also, President Trump’s assertion that what is good for America is good for the rest of the world, is probably not going to be a strategy other nations want to get behind given Trump’s penchant for demonizing and punishing allies for real or imagined economic slights.
Even some of President Trump’s most staunch support entities were confused by Secretary Pompeo’s seemingly new direction.
These issues of globalism–and this worldview of an international order projecting power worldwide at the forefront of which is the United States–came under intense scrutiny in 2016 as the current and 45th president of the United States, Donald J. Trump, ran for office and won by attacking much of it.
But now Trump’s chief foreign policy adviser, his secretary of state, is espousing in speeches a view that is remarkably similar to what George H.W. Bush said when he first used the phrase “new world order” in a speech to a joint session of Congress in the early 1990s.
But beyond President Trump’s cold shoulder attitude towards our allies, especially in NATO, his withdrawl from the world stage has alarmed European governments. Those governments feared Pompeo would be bringing a formal notice of withdrawal from the intermediate-range nuclear forces treaty with Russia to Brussels this week. Pompeo did not bring the notice with him, prompting apprehension that a formal withdrawal will come at the beginning of the new year. The looming withdrawal has many scared, indeed,
“This is the most severe crisis in nuclear arms control since the 1980s,” said Malcolm Chalmers, the deputy director general of the Royal United Services Institute. “If the INF treaty collapses, and with the New Start treaty on strategic arms due to expire in 2021, the world could be left without any limits on the nuclear arsenals of nuclear states for the first time since 1972.”
Retreating from the INF would also diminish the U.S.’s leverage to wage sanctions and other punitive damages against Russia for violations. A coincidence, no doubt. Facing such stark circumstances, the near fawning conducted by Secretary Pompeo over Mr. Trump during his Brussels speech certainly does not lend an air of seriousness to the Secretary’s presence.
It would be difficult for our allies to take seriously Secretary Pompeo’s position that America still has intentions to lead this supposed new liberal world order when in the very same speech he castigates the EU, IMF, World Bank, etc.
Pompeo’s speech received polite applause, but Julianne Smith, a senior foreign policy official during Barack Obama’s time at the White House, said it had shocked US allies across Europe.
“The first words that come to mind are tone deaf,” said Smith, now a senior fellow at the Bosch Academy in Berlin. “It’s as if they have no appreciation of how Europeans are trying to figure out how to cope with an administration that they see as abdicating American leadership.
Europe and the surrounding areas are dealing with very sobering issues in Russian aggression, Chinese encroachment through their Belt and Road Initiative, and Brexit. The least President Trump and Secretary Pompeo could have done was affirm these problems exist, are grave, and America will work with our allies to solve them. But no. Secretary Pompeo read off a history lesson that no one needed and extolled the virtues of his boss 13 times in a speech that lasted less than 20 minutes.