NICOSIA, Cyprus — Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told Breitbart News exclusively that part of how President Donald Trump and his administration have achieved many of the foreign policy successes the past few years has been by working outside various “multilateral institutions” that are often bogged down by bureaucracy and inaction.
Pompeo’s interview took place on the tarmac in his cabin on the U.S. Air Force jet that transported Pompeo, the U.S. delegation, and press, to the intra-Afghan peace talks in Doha, Qatar, and then on to Cyprus. The first part of Pompeo’s interview laid out the U.S. vision for peace in Afghanistan after four decades of war—including 19 years where the U.S. has been at war there since the 9/11 terrorist attacks—as Pompeo held bilateral meetings between both the Afghan government and Taliban delegations in Qatari-hosted peace talks in Doha. The second part focused on drawing parallels between those Afghan peace talks and the deals signed this week at the White House between Israel and Bahrain and Israel and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for total normalization of relations. In that second piece, Pompeo makes the case that President Trump’s peace through strength—particularly “economic strength”—agenda, and specifically his recognition of the Islamic Republic of Iran as the primary conductor of chaos and instability in the region, enabled all of these Middle East regional peace successes.
This third and final part of Pompeo’s exclusive interview with Breitbart News focused on connecting the dots to the broader international foreign policy of the Trump administration and how that “peace agenda” extends beyond the Middle East into Europe in places like Kosovo-Serbia and Cyprus, as well as in Asia around the Pacific Rim. In sum, both legs of the trip—the intra-Afghan peace talks in Doha, as well as the discussions on the ground here in Cyprus—represent a window of sorts into a future where the Trump administration sees a better world with more peace and more stability, almost a next step beyond the latest steps rolled out this week at the White House.
“We are–and I would add Asia to that mix as well,” Pompeo told Breitbart News when asked about how the agenda of peace from Trump spreads beyond the Middle East to Europe and a broader worldwide vision.
Pompeo said that while the Trump administration is “often critiqued for” withdrawing from “multilateral institutions,” it is precisely because of that—and because of the focus on using America’s strength in bilateral negotiations to more nimbly push the president’s vision for the world—that the president and the administration are having these successes. Pompeo said Trump has strengthened U.S. involvement in some, like NATO, and withdrawn the U.S. where it does make sense for the national interest in places like the Iran deal or the Paris climate accord.
“One of the things that we’re often critiqued for is not liking multilateral institutions. We’ve withdrawn from the JCPOA, Paris Climate Accords—it’s true, we did,” Pompeo said. “We did because those made no sense for the United States of America. But where it makes sense is: we’ve got 80 plus countries working together to take down the Caliphate. We’ve now strengthened NATO. We have the whole world now understanding the threat the Chinese Communist Party presents to the world in ways 18 months or 30 months ago it did not. Now you see these agreements coming to fruition where countries want to partner alongside the United States and its allies. That’s central to the president’s vision of how you generate peace, but look even in places where we have adversaries like Russia. We’ve had success now on the first three meetings for strategic arms control proliferation risk. These are all deeply connected. The president’s peace agenda is real, and has proven to begin bearing fruit over the last 18 to 20 months.”
Because of the United States’s recent successes in the push for peace around the world, Pompeo said that America’s adversaries like Russia and China are aggressively trying to counter American influence.
For instance, here in Cyprus just days before Pompeo arrived, Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov made an appearance to try to push Russia’s vision. But when Pompeo was here, he upped the ante much more than the Russians could have by pushing for reopening negotiations to reunify the divided Island—for decades, the northern part of Cyprus has been under control of an authority recognized only by Turkey while the southern part is an independent Republic. The cultural divide on the island is real—Turkish Cypriots comprise the northern half and Greek Cypriots comprise the southern half—but more importantly the entire rest of the world except Turkey recognizes the Republic government in the southern half as the legitimate government. Nonetheless, the lingering lack of a solution seems like a perfect place for Team Trump to swoop in and develop one—and that’s exactly what Pompeo started doing in the two short hours on the ground here. He met with President Nicos Anastasiades of the Republic side—not with the authority on the Turkish side—and called for negotiations for a solution to the divided power problem stalled years ago to restart. Then Pompeo announced the creation of a training facility to be built on Cyprus for western countries’ border officials called the Cyprus Center for Land, Open-seas, and Port Security, or CYCLOPS, program. At it, western nations will be able to train border and customs agents and officials with simulations or border crossings.
While different in many respects, what is happening here is a similar push to where the Trump administration—particularly former U.S. ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell, who later became the acting Director of National Intelligence, stepped in as the Special Presidential Envoy for Serbia and Kosovo Peace Negotiations—secured peace between Serbia and Kosovo after decades of stalemate and years upon years of a lack of a solution.
President Trump received two Nobel Peace Prize nominations in recent days for these deals; one for the UAE-Israel deal, and another for the Kosovo-Serbia deal. Trump, this week at the White House alongside Israeli prime minister Bibi Netanyahu and the foreign ministers of UAE and Bahrain, signed the normalization deals dubbed in their entirety the “Abraham Accords.”
Pompeo said that as the rest of the world has caught up with Trump’s vision, and seen what’s happening, while American friends and allies have rushed to “partner with” the United States, adversaries from places like Russia and China have tried to “undermine” American strength.
“They’ve tried to undermine every one of these arrangements, whether it was the deal with Kosovo or the one with Emiratis,” Pompeo told Breitbart News in the Saturday night interview when asked about Russia and China. “Lavrov was here in Cyprus where you and I are sitting now earlier this week. No, they have, every step of the way, tried to undermine. But here’s the reality of it. Nations are coming to see America as their best partner. It’s their best partner for their country’s economic development, it’s the best partner for the security of their country. When we work together, whether it’s the work we’ve done with India or Australia or South Korea or Japan to make sure we are pushing back from that threat against the Chinese Communist Party, these countries have all come to see that President Trump’s leadership is something that they want to be around. They want to partner with America under President Trump and that their countries in their own self-interest will be better off when they do.”
Pompeo wrapped the interview by saying he expects many more significant peace and diplomatic agreements and successes in the coming days, weeks, and months ahead, and hinted that some deals from Asia may begin getting rolled out soon. He even said he thinks the Islamic Republic of Iran may come around eventually.
“I’m hopeful it’s the case,” Pompeo said when asked if more deals are on the way. “People talk about overnight success taking years. I think that’s the case here as well. It looks like overnight success, but a great deal of work from President Trump and his team went into these. I do hope that we’ll see more. I hope we’ll see some significant agreements take place between the United States and countries in Asia, a different kind from what happens in the Middle East. We very much believe that the Islamic Republic of Iran will one day enter an agreement with us, and until they’ll agree to the terms of the USA, you simply can’t find a way to move them back into the community of nations. We’ve been working on all these for a long time. We don’t know which ones will fall the right way and precisely when, but the work and commitment President Trump has put into this will benefit America.”