Mike Pompeo really pisses me off. He’s probably the worst Secretary of State we have ever had. He owes his meteoric rise to being better at Brown-nosing Trump than anybody else. And to top it all off, he spent four years betraying Donald Trump’s one good idea, to the detriment of the country and the world. Infuriatingly, this guy now seems to believe he’s a serious candidate for US president. Unsurprisingly he’s a favored candidate of the military industrial complex, which is why newspapers continue to take him seriously. He rarely makes it to 1% in polls for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination. Today’s video is an attempt to help keep it that way.
Video Transcript after the jump…
Hey there. I don’t like Donald Trump, and I really don’t like Mike Pompeo. But this is kind of a video for Republicans and MAGA supporters who are wondering why it is that Trump just barely lost the 2020 election. There are a lot of reasons of course. Lots of things could have been a little different to make Trump win. But one of the biggest, unrecognized reasons he lost is Mike Pompeo.
I play that clip from a 2015 Republican debate a lot. This clip, and this argument by Trump is one of the reasons he got the Republican nomination, and it’s one of the main reasons he got elected. It’s an idea whose time has come. There is no denying that US foreign policy over the past 20 years has been a colossal waste of time and money.
This is obviously true, if you are like me and believe that there is no real reason for US military engagement abroad at the moment. ButBut it’s even more true if you believe, like most MAGA people do, that China is a great threat that must be confronted. Our engagement in Europe and the Middle East and our obsession with non-threats like Russia and Iran is the greatest gift we can possibly give to the Chinese Communist Party.
Trump was exactly right to condemn the majority of our foreign policy. Nobody on Cable news, CNN or Fox will tell you that, but it’s true. As much as I dislike Trump, every time he tried to take a step towards withdrawal from the Middle East I celebrated it. But after four years we are actually more engaged. The problem here wasn’t with Trump himself. He repeatedly ordered withdrawals that never happened. The problem was with the people he hired.
Two of the three most important positions for US foreign policy are the Secretary of Defense and the National Security Advisor. The first people Trump hired in these positions were all generals. Generals believe that all military missions are good, because they help their budgets grow. They also tend to go work for the arms industry when they retire, whether they do so directly, or whether they go work for think tanks and universities that are heavily funded by weapons companies. The next stage of these jobs got even worse. Trump’s longest serving National Security Advisor was John Fucking Bolton, a guy who famously wants the US to fight wars in half a dozen more countries from Latin America to Europe and Asia. After Mattis the Secretary of Defense position was basically given to the Defense industry entirely. Patrick Shanahan, a guy who served as acting secretary for 6 months had spent almost his entire professional life working for Boeing, one of the biggest weapons companies. Mark Esper, had had a more varied career, but his most important job was as a Vice President for Raytheon, another big weapons manufacturer . None of these people had any interest in getting us out of any wars. These people are the deep state, and they will happily go back to working with all of the #resistance neocons at MSNBC, if they haven’t already. As bad as the priorities of individual appointees were, the main characteristic of the past four years was chaos. Many of these people criticized Trump after resigning in a huff, and there were plenty of other officials in these positions who didn’t last long enough to bother mentioning. But there was a through line to US foreign policy during this crazy era. That through line was Mike Pompeo.
The third of the three most important foreign policy positions in any US government is the Secretary of State. The relative power of these positions changes with every administration though. It depends on how good a political operator the person is. It depends on how long you can last, and it depends on whether the President likes you or not. Mike Pompeo was part of a select class of politicians who made it all the way through the Trump administration, serving as CIA director before serving as Secretary of State from April 2018 all the way through January 2021. His loyalty was unimpeachable. While most other foreign policy officials were publicly feuding with Trump, or even writing tell all books, Pompeo constantly praised the president and claimed to be doing his work.
Trump famously likes loyalty, and Pompeo was fantastically good at performing loyalty. In so doing, he became the most important figure in the Trump administration’s foreign policy. And he did it by lying to Trump the whole time. Pompeo wasn’t about America first, or about focusing US power on China. He was just as much about keeping the defence industry gravy train running as Mark Esper and General Mattis were.
Pompeo’s underlings, like Ambassador Jim Jeffrey, have been open about lying to Trump to keep Troops in Syria. Pompeo was good about sounding aggressive towards China, but he was aggressive towards everybody else too. He worked hard to further sanction and isolate Russia. He tried to bring about regime change in Venezuela. A few months ago, his people did some leaks that made it clear that he was trying to start another trillion dollar middle east war with Iran from his first day in office at the CIA. Pompeo expects to be celebrated for this.
Let’s be clear about what happened here. The most important figure in Trump’s foreign policy, his most loyal supporter, was constantly working to undermine the most universally attractive part of Trump’s agenda. Trump was going to be the guy who ended the wars, and brought our boys home.. Instead Mike Pompeo got us more involved in all of our wars, and tried to start new ones. Just seven months in Biden is bringing more troops home than Trump did in four years.
Democrats and their media like to pretend that Trump was soundly rejected by the US public. I would like that to be true. But it’s not. Trump lost by a few hundreds of thousands of votes in a handful of states. If he had had real successes to point to in foreign policy, instead of a stepped up Middle Eastern troop presence that was being constantly bombed by Iraqi militias, I think he would have won. He might even have won big.
I think Donald Trump really believed he was a guy who ended wars. One of the saddest parts of his administration was the last few months when he scrambled around, desperately trying to find people who would actually carry out his orders and get us out of the Middle East. He should have been looking for those people in 2017, not the tail end of 2020. But he had his loyal guy, Mike Pompeo, who kept telling him that the withdrawals were just about to happen. They never happened. And Trump lost. Mike Pompeo is the reason Joe Biden is President. I guess I should be grateful to him. No Republican should.
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