Speaking at the Munich Security Conference on Saturday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo threw down the gauntlet to other Western countries, asserting, “Over the past few years, I’ve seen, we’ve all seen, democratic leaders questioning America’s commitment to the transatlantic alliance and America’s leadership in the world.”
Pompeo cited some quotes from Western leaders, including Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland saying in June 2017, “The fact that our friend and ally has come to question the very worth of its mantle of global leadership, puts into sharper focus the need for the rest of us to set our own clear and sovereign course.” He noted the statement in February 2019 from M. Jean-Yves Le Drian, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, and Mr Heiko Maas, German Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs, saying, “The multilateral order is experiencing its perhaps gravest crisis since the emergence – its emergence after the Second World War.”
Pompeo cited a third quote, this one from the day before his speech in which German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier stated, “Under its current administration, our closest ally, the United States of America, rejects the very concept of an international community. Every country, it believes, should look after itself and put its own interests before all others.”
Pompeo responded, “I’m here this morning to tell you the facts. Those statements simply do not affect in any significant way or reflect reality. I am happy to report that the death of the transatlantic alliance is grossly over-exaggerated. The West is winning. We are collectively winning. We’re doing it together.”
Let’s start with a simple fact: Free nations are simply more successful than any other model that’s been tried in the history of civilization. Our governments respect basic human rights, they foster economic prosperity, and they keep us all secure. It’s why so many people risk a dangerous journey across the Mediterranean to reach Greece and Italy, but you don’t see the world’s vulnerable people risking their lives to skip illegally en masse to countries like Iran or to Cuba.
It’s why people clamor to study in Cambridge, and not Caracas. It’s why they compete to start businesses in Silicon Valley, but not in Saint Petersburg. It’s why countries in Asia went from abject poverty in the 1950s and ’60s to become world-leading economies today. You have all seen the map of the differences between South Korea, that light-studded map with North Korea in complete darkness.
Pompeo then addressed those calling themselves “realists” while denying reality:
The West is winning. Freedom and democracy are winning. And by that, I don’t mean just geographical nations. The West doesn’t define a space or a piece of real state. It’s any nation – any nation that adopts a model of respect for individual freedom, free enterprise, national sovereignty. They’re part of this idea of the West.
I want to talk for a minute this morning about how sovereignty underpins our greatness collectively. Look, we patrol our borders to keep our people safe, so that they can continue to worship, to work, and to make our countries great without disruption. We honor the right of every nation to carry on their affairs as they choose, so long as they don’t try to interfere with our sovereignty or do harm to our friends.
Look, we urge other nations to protect human dignity, because we believe in unalienable rights. We support independent nations. Our signature – our signature military project together is a defensive alliance. We respect the rule of law and we honor intellectual property rights. We don’t interfere in other nations’ elections.
Pompeo then spoke of the enemies of freedom:
Let’s talk about territorial integrity, or rather, those nations that have contempt for it. Russia has seized Crimea and parts of Eastern Ukraine and Georgia. Iran’s missiles explode on Saudi oil facilities, and its proxy forces are present in Iraq, in Lebanon, in Syria, and in Yemen. China. China encroaches on the exclusive economic zones of Vietnam, the Philippines, and Indonesia.
And on that point, China has had a border or maritime dispute with nearly every nation bordering it. And let’s talk for a second about the other realm, cybersecurity. Huawei and other Chinese state-backed tech companies are Trojan horses for Chinese intelligence. Russia’s disinformation campaigns try to turn our citizens against one another. Iranian cyberattacks plague Middle East computer networks.
Pompeo cited numerous instances in which the United States confronted nations bent on destroying the West, then asserted, “Are these actions, these American actions, are they consistent with the claim that America ‘has come to question the very worth of its mantle of global leadership?’”
Pompeo spoke of the numerous times America has supported Europe, continuing:
We’re winning – and we’re doing it together. Momentum is clearly on our side. We’ve got to do more. Don’t be fooled. Don’t be fooled by those who say otherwise.
When so-called Iranian moderates play the victim, remember their assassination and terror campaigns against innocent Iranian civilians and right here on European soil itself.
When Russia suggests that Nord Stream 2 is purely a commercial endeavor, don’t be fooled. Consider the deprivations caused in the winters of 2006 and 2008 and 2009 and 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.
Then he spoke the simple truth: “Name me a moment in history when the weak and the meek have prevailed.”