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Pompeo’s Botched Warsaw Conference

Then-Rep. Mike Pompeo, R-KS, speaking at a rally in 2013. He faces a senate grilling for his secretary of state nomination today.Mark Taylor/Creative Commons

Pompeo’s Warsaw conference isn’t going to amount to much, and almost half the invited governments may not be sending their foreign ministers to represent them:

What Pompeo originally billed as a major conference to pressure Iran on its regional influence, missile testing and terrorism is now as likely to be defined by what it is not — and who is not coming. Several key countries appear to be engaging in a subtle diplomatic snub to protest the Trump administration’s policies toward Iran and Syria.

Scratch Federica Mogherini, the foreign policy chief for the European Union, who said she had a prior commitment. France and Germany are sending second-tier-level diplomats. Russia won’t be there at all. And the British foreign secretary may leave early.

Pompeo botched this conference from the start, but it is ultimately the administration’s bankrupt approach to issues related to Iran that is to blame for the failure. The U.S. needlessly created the rifts with our allies over the nuclear deal, and that has undermined cooperation with them on everything else. Fixating on Iran as the source of all regional problems regardless of the facts may gain Pompeo points with the president, but it alienates and antagonizes most of the governments that the administration is trying to get on board with their agenda. Fortunately, there is no international consensus in support of the administration’s Iran policy, and Trump and Pompeo are too inept at diplomacy to change that. As a result, the Warsaw conference isn’t likely to get them any results, and it is more likely to underscore just how isolated they are on Iran and on some other Middle Eastern issues as well.

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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