Home/Daniel Larison/Pompeo’s Arrogant Definition of ‘Diplomatic Resolution’

Pompeo’s Arrogant Definition of ‘Diplomatic Resolution’

Pompeo claims that the Trump administration wants a “diplomatic resolution,” which of course is just his code for Iranian surrender to their excessive and unreasonable demands:

QUESTION: What does a diplomatic resolution mean? The attack happened.

SECRETARY POMPEO: Yeah. So the resolution looks like this: Iran becomes a normal nation. We laid out now a year ago in May —

There cannot be a genuine diplomatic resolution when our government doesn’t acknowledge that the other state has any legitimate interests and demands that their side give up everything that Washington wants. What Pompeo seeks is Iran’s humiliation, and the Iranian government understandably isn’t going to give him what he wants. The key problem here is that the Trump administration blows a lot of hot air about diplomacy but refuses to practice it. They wage economic war and deliver ultimatums, and then complain that Iran is not responding to their “diplomacy” in the way they want. Well, the victim doesn’t cooperate with the strangler as he tries to choke the life out of him, and economic warfare and threats aren’t diplomacy.

Pompeo’s “normal nation” rhetoric is absurd, as I have said before, but the arrogance and the colonialist mindset that inform this rhetoric need to be emphasized, too. When a superpower tries to dictate the behavior of a smaller, weaker state on pain of economic suffocation, it is not just presuming that it is allowed to tell other states what their foreign and security policies can be, but it also takes for granted that the other state isn’t really sovereign and can’t be allowed to run its own affairs as it sees fit. It is not our government’s responsibility to police how another state conducts itself, and our government has no right to punish another state unilaterally because it happens to do things that Washington disapproves of. The U.S. is behaving like a neo-colonial empire that thinks the Iranian government has to submit to Washington’s preferences, and that is one of the reasons why Iran is not going to budge on any of these issues.

Earlier in the interview, Pompeo said this:

Apparently, the Iranians are bloodthirsty and looking for war. President Trump and I, we’re looking for a diplomatic resolution to this.

Bear in mind that there would be no crisis at all were it not for the “maximum pressure” campaign that Pompeo supports, and it is the U.S. that took aggressive action against Iran by waging economic war against them. Iran hasn’t been “looking for war,” but it has been provoked for more than a year and has reacted to those provocations. The strangler naturally wants people to blame the victim for fighting back, but like everything else Pompeo says about Iran this isn’t credible.

about the author

Daniel Larison is a senior editor at TAC, where he also keeps a solo blog. He has been published in the New York Times Book Review, Dallas Morning News, World Politics Review, Politico Magazine, Orthodox Life, Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and was a columnist for The Week. He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Lancaster, PA. Follow him on Twitter.

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