Pompeo Speech Shows US Under Trump Is A Destabilizing Force in the Middle East

May 21, 2018

In his speech today, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made clear that the United States under President Trump is almost totally isolated and is acting as a destabilizing force in the Middle East.

With their decision to violate the historic JCPOA arms control agreement, the president and his ‘war cabinet’ have created a strategic disaster of their own making and undone the major accomplishments of the previous administration. They have made the US, Israel and the world less safe.

At the end of the last administration, each of Iran’s pathways to a nuclear weapon had been verifiably blocked without firing a shot. Americans kidnapped by the Iranian regime had been released and efforts were underway to bring more home. Potentially catastrophic military confrontations between American and Iranian forces were avoided by pragmatic, effective diplomacy. Both the US and Iranian governments — with the full backing of nearly the entire international community — expressed openness to peacefully resolving concerns over other threatening Iranian behavior via further negotiations.

Today, as the US stands alone in violation of its commitments, our position is immeasurably worse. This administration is fundamentally opposed to the basics of diplomacy and negotiation. Americans remain captive in Iran with no serious effort by our government to secure their release. Our key European allies have been alienated and angered by the Trump administration’s destabilizing tactics and rhetoric.

The president, advised by longtime proponents of regime change, has demanded Iran’s complete and unconditional capitulation on almost every issue of dispute. This totally unrealistic approach must be seen for what it is: A recipe for confrontation and war.

Faced with this crisis, it is insufficient to merely call for restraint by the administration, or hope that cooler heads within it will prevail. The only way to ensure that a profoundly unfit president and his regime change-obsessed advisers cannot bring about another costly and bloody war of choice is for Congress to exercise its constitutional duty to act as a check on the president. Congress must make clear that the president does not have its authorization for the use of military force against Iran.