Monday, September 20, 2021

Pompeo backs diplomacy, not war, but rips Russia

Washington, Apr 12 (EFE).- President Donald Trump’s nominee to be the next US secretary of state, CIA Director Mike Pompeo, on Thursday said he backs diplomacy instead of war and blamed Russia’s “bad behavior” for the “historic conflict” with the US.

At his confirmation hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Pompeo tried to tone down his past stance regarding the use of force as a way to resolve conflicts with an eye toward obtaining the approval of lawmakers, who asked him to control Trump’s impulses.

He said he intended to work to achieve the president’s policies via diplomacy instead of military means.

A former congressman and head of the CIA since Trump came to power in January 2017, Pompeo is seen as a US foreign policy hawk who is in favor of using US military might to deal with conflicts instead of working on their resolution within the realm of international diplomacy.

When asked if he agreed with a recent tweet in which the president said that much of the bad blood between Moscow and Washington is the result of the investigation into the Kremlin’s alleged interference in the 2016 election, Pompeo contradicted the mogul, saying that it was Russian “bad behavior” that had caused the “historic” bilateral conflict.

Lawmakers pressured Pompeo repeatedly how he would advise Trump to manage US relations with Russia if confirmed as secretary of state by the Senate, and the CIA chief answered that Washington must continue to confront Moscow, including in economic and cyber areas.

In his remarks, Pompeo criticized Russia for acting “aggressively” on the world stage and emphasized that the Trump administration considers Moscow to be a “danger” to the US, although he acknowledged that diplomatic efforts in this area should continue.

Trump has spoken on numerous occasions about the need to have better relations with Russia, raising significant suspicions among his opponents and detractors because of the investigation currently being headed by Special Counsel Robert Mueller into presumed coordination between the president’s election campaign and the Kremlin to harm the chances of Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton in the election.

Pompeo told lawmakers that he had been interviewed by Mueller and had cooperated with the different Russia probes, although he refused to provided any details.

Regarding North Korea, the CIA chief said that he is not advocating regime change in Pyongyang and had never done so.

Pompeo, who is heading the talks with the North Koreans regarding the upcoming meeting between Trump and Kim Jong-un, caused a stir last year when he made comments that were widely interpreted as supporting regime change in the Asian pariah state.

Despite his hardline reputation, it is highly likely that the Senate will vote to approve Pompeo’s nomination to head the State Department in the coming weeks.