National Security

In Germany, Pompeo Says ‘the West is Winning’

SecState touts American leadership, rejects concerns America is retreating from globe

Mike Pompeo
Mike Pompeo / Getty Images

MUNICH—Secretary of State Mike Pompeo categorically rejected mounting concerns from international leaders that the United States is retreating from the world stage, telling a gathering of top foreign policy leaders from across the globe that the "West is winning" due to bold leadership from the Trump administration.

Speaking Saturday at the Munich Security Conference, Germany's premiere foreign policy gathering, Pompeo pushed back against claims that the Western world has lost its way, a main topic of conversation at the conference.

From the outset of his administration, President Donald Trump has faced criticism that he has lowered the United States's standing on the world stage. Trump has called out the financial contributions of NATO countries, maintaining that they must pay their fair share. Foreign policy experts have also been critical of Trump's exit from the United Nations Human Rights Council and the Iran Nuclear Deal, which many European partners are still a part of, and of Trump's withdrawal of troops from Syria.

"I'm happy to report that the death of the transatlantic alliance is grossly exaggerated," Pompeo said. "The West is winning, and we're winning together."

Pompeo went on to outline steps the Trump administration is taking to combat Iran's regional terrorism, pushback against Russian aggression, and challenge China's rise as a global economic powerhouse. His remarks represented one of the clearest declarations to date of the Trump administration's global priorities, which are centered on promoting Western power.

"Over the past few years, democratic leaders have questioned America's commitment to the transatlantic alliance, and our leadership in the world," Pompeo said. "Those statements don't reflect reality."

"‘Westlessness'—whatever that means—is the core theme of this year's conference," he continued. "I'm sure there are a lot of folks here who would call themselves foreign policy realists. Well here's realism for you: the West is winning! And by that, I don't just mean just the nations of the geographical ‘west.'"

"Any nation that adopts the Western model—a respect for individual freedom, free enterprise, and national sovereignty—is part of the ‘west,'" he said. "Free nations are simply more successful than any other model that's been tried. Our governments respect basic human rights, foster economic prosperity, and keep us secure."

The weekend in Munich featured several major firsts for Pompeo, including the announcement that a landmark truce had been brokered between the United States and Taliban in Afghanistan, potentially bringing an end to that 18-year-old war.

It is not America, but Russia, China, and Iran that pose the greatest threats to Western supremacy, Pompeo said, arguing that the Trump administration's past four years in power have not harmed America's standing in the world.

"Let's talk about territorial integrity … or rather, contempt for it: Russia has seized Crimea and parts of Eastern Ukraine and Georgia," Pompeo said. "Iran's missiles explode on Saudi oil facilities, and its proxy forces are present in Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, and Yemen."

"China encroaches on the exclusive economic zones of Vietnam, the Philippines, and Indonesia," he said. "And on that point, China has had a border or maritime dispute with nearly every nation bordering it."

The secretary of state also warned nations against cozying up to China's Huawei, which is angling to provide the next generation of 5G mobile service to leading nations. Countries such as Britain, which recently agreed to partner with Huawei, are handing over their most sensitive networks to China's Communist Party, Pompeo cautioned.

Conversations about Huawei and cyber security featured prominently into Pompeo's schedule at the Munich conference, officials said. In addition to tackling China's rise, Pompeo also worked to address Iranian cyberhacks across the Middle East.

"But here's the good news," Pompeo said in his speech. "The United States has stared these dangerous threats in the face, and hasn't blinked. We're protecting our citizens. We're protecting our freedoms. We're protecting our sovereign right to choose how we live."

"The United States has worked to deprive the Islamic Republic of Iran of diplomatic sanctuary and financial ability to fuel its campaigns of terror—both in the Middle East and on the European continent," Pompeo said. "The United States has woken up the world to China's unfair trading practices and the Chinese Communist Party's newly aggressive turn, whether on the military, diplomatic, or economic front."

"The United States has armed Ukraine to help that brave nation defend itself from Russian aggression, and has worked with Baltic nations on cybersecurity to defend against Moscow's repeated cyberattacks," he said.

In a bid to shore up the United States's global alliances, Pompeo announced that the Trump administration would soon provide up to $1 billion in financing to the Central and Eastern European countries of the Three Seas Initiative.

"Our aim is to galvanize private sector investment in their energy sectors," Pompeo said.

The United States, led by the Trump administration, will not back down from its leadership role on the international stage, Pompeo vowed.

"The United States has led 81 other nations and partners to defeat the ISIS caliphate," he said. "We took out al-Baghdadi. We took out the leader of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula just this month. Is this an America that ‘rejects the international community?'"

"The United States is fighting for sovereignty and freedom," Pompeo said. "We should have confidence in the transatlantic alliance. The free West has a brighter future than illiberal alternatives. We are winning—and we're doing it together."

"The momentum is on our side," he continued. "But we must go further. Let's not be fooled: When so-called Iranian moderates play the victim, remember their assassination and terror campaigns against innocent Iranian civilians, and on European soil itself. When Russia suggests Nord Stream 2 is purely a ‘commercial endeavor,' consider the deprivations caused in the winters of 2006, 2008, 2009, or 2015. When Huawei executives show up at your door, they say you'll lose out if you don't buy in. Don't believe the hype."