Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is not a very bright guy. He is, like his boss, a thin-skinned bully with a narrow view of the world focused on US righteousness. With the sanctions going into place on Iran this week he gave an interview with the BBC which laid bare what happens when you scratch Pompeo just a hair beneath the polished surface.
Pompeo will be happy to see the people of Iran starve to achieve his ends. And those ends are purely in service of not only Israel and Saudi Arabia but the military contractors who back him and direct so much of the policy coming out of D.C.
Pompeo: Yeah, we’re going to work to do two things: that things that are sanctioned don’t happen, and things that are permitted to happen are permissible, and can in fact happen. [Speaking of food and medicine flowing unimpeded]
Well, remember, just so you remember, the leadership has to make a decision that they want their people to eat. They have to make a decision that they want to use their wealth to import medicine, and not use their wealth to fund Qasem Soleimani’s travels around the Middle East with – causing death and destruction. That’s the Iranian Government’s choice on how to use Iranian wealth. If they choose to squander, if the Iranian leadership chooses to spoil it, if they choose to use it in a way that doesn’t benefit the Iranian people, I’m very confident the Iranian people will take a response that tries to fix that themselves as well.
Aside from the fact that Pompeo has no idea how commerce works, this is a horrific statement. We’re going to destroy your economy and if you don’t overthrow your government you will starve.
Way to change hearts and minds, Mike.
This is his Madeleine Albright moment who famously said that 500,000 dead Iraqi children were a price worth paying because the US cut Iraq off from all trade, including basic medical supplies.
This is the legacy of our Secretaries of State. We come, we sanction, we invade, they die.
He was pressed on the fact that food and medicine commerce was not sanctioned under Obama and yet these items were curtailed. And Pompeo is stupid enough to believe that this won’t happen again under the watch of Steve Mnuchin’s treasury department.
Mike Pompeo knows that the sanctions are horrific. But he doesn’t care because you can’t make an omelette without breaking a few eggs, right?
Spinning the same tale of demonizing a foreign government and exhorting the people to stand up and fight for their freedom is idiotic.
It has never and will never work.
But, as a dyed-in-the-wool neoconservative Utopian fantasist Pompeo speaks in the same tired rhetoric that has served as a cover for naked hatred of people he doesn’t respect. Chaos is the goal and the supposedly Christian Pompeo is the opposite of what is needed here. It makes me sad that the only voice of reason in the Trump administration on foreign policy so far was fired, Rex Tillerson.
Tillerson knew that this was not the right path but Trump is too much the deal-maker and not enough of a diplomat to see the value in building relationships versus destroying them, which Tillerson regularly argued for. If he was truly interested in a better world in central Asia, Trump would instruct Pompeo to meet with his counterpart and begin negotiations of something, anything.
But, he won’t.
He wants Iranian President Rouhani to come to him. I’m going to Insult, threaten, starve, renege, attack and steal from you, but, hey, let’s talk.
If Pompeo cared one whit about the ‘incredible people of Iran’ he wouldn’t be gleefully making it more difficult for them to build ‘incredible wealth’ and change their course organically.
The whole narrative Pompeo spins in the interview could have been written for him by Benjamin Netanyahu or King Salman himself. He paints the Saudis as as the victims in Yemen. Israel the victim in Syria.
The sad truth is that Pompeo is too ignorant to even know the history of events he’s supposed to be directing.
No one is ever to blame for anything in this world than whoever the US labels as an enemy.
And that enemy is Iran. But, Iran didn’t start the wars in Yemen and Syria, Mike. That’s on your Saudi partners and your forebears at State. A few missiles lobbed near Riyadh? Are you kidding me?
As Secretary of State of the US Pompeo is in charge of those who bomb weddings, shoot unarmed pregnant women, blockade alliance member (Qatar), stone gay people and throw them off buildings as well as dismember dissidents on foreign soil.
And he has the unmitigated gall to throw stones at Iran?
Is there blame to be thrown at Iran in how they have responded to these things? Of course.
Does that mean starving people out is the appropriate response? No.
Pompeo wants to separate the Iranian regime from the people, but he knows damn well that the path to do so that’s been chosen will see the burden of it fall disproportionately on the people not the regime.
The truth is that sanctions are a temporary form of leverage that raises costs and creates subversion. We’re seeing it all across the world and in far greater numbers than in 2012 under Obama.
And that’s the good news. As the world wakes up to the reality that the US cannot be counted on to maintain any sense of stability.
Netanyahu wants Iran and the Iranian people destroyed. Pompeo is too stupid and vane to know what he wants. He does what he’s told. As Alistair Crooke pointed out recently, Netanyahu is likely the chief architect of this regime change plan and doesn’t care if the Iranian people suffer for they are simply lesser beings than himself.
Pompeo’s statement is cheap political theatre that is unbecoming of someone charged with being the US’s chief diplomat. If Trump had any vestige of principles he would fire him on the spot.
But, the reality is this statement by Pompeo betrays the underlying truth that the people do not matter in the fight for a greater Israel and Saudi Arabia while making the world safe for US control over the Heartland of central Asia.
Governments fight and people lose.
It is an unfortunate truth that is millenia old.
It’s getting harder and harder for Pompeo and Trump to defend their positions on Israel and Saudi Arabia as their behavior becomes more erratic and shameful. And if Trump wants to get re-elected in 2020 he better start by figuring out how to extricate himself from the mess he’s gotten himself into over Iran.
Firing Mike Pompeo and putting a grown-up in charge of State would be a good start.