Home/Daniel Larison/What Is the Point of Pompeo’s Cairo Speech?

What Is the Point of Pompeo’s Cairo Speech?

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

Nahal Toosi reports on an upcoming Pompeo speech planned for his visit to Egypt next month:

Pompeo’s speech will likely focus heavily on Iran, as have many of his past public remarks. The chief U.S. diplomat is likely to try to rally Arab capitals to stand with the United States and thwart Iran’s use of proxy forces, support for terrorism and other activities in the region.

The Trump administration has made a regular habit of denouncing Iran in speeches by top officials, and the administration’s Iran policy has no more international support today than it did a year ago. It’s not clear what purpose another high-profile Iran-bashing session serves. The administration’s talking points are tediously familiar by now, and Pompeo’s brusque and overbearing manner is the opposite of persuasive.

Regional clients are happy to “stand with” the Trump administration so long as they aren’t required to do very much, and every attempt to get these clients to do more has so far produced no results. The administration’s ill-conceived, so-called Middle East Strategic Alliance (MESA) has stalled, thanks to the broader anti-Saudi backlash in Washington and the lack of interest on the part of many of its would-be members. The administration’s Iran policy of regime change in all but name isn’t working as planned and isn’t going to work, and there is not much else for Pompeo to talk about that reflects well on the administration. He and the president have gone out of their way to thwart Congressional opposition to the war on Yemen, and they have bent over backwards to make excuses for Saudi crimes.

Pompeo won’t admit it in his speech, but the current U.S. role in the region is a destabilizing one that involves aiding and abetting war crimes and helping to cause mass starvation.

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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