On Tuesday, President Trump nominated Mike Pompeo to head the US State Department after firing Rex Tillerson. The sudden departure sparked concerns about the credibility of American diplomatic personnel being directed by an already chaotic White House, especially as negotiations with North Korea are imminent.
Pompeo became America’s number one spy back in January 2017. During his 14 months at the CIA, he took a confrontational stance toward Iran and gave staunch support to Israel, views more in line with Trump than with Tillerson. His public statements on North Korea give us a peak into how talk with the Kim regime may look under new diplomatic leadership:
Last October of 2017 Pompeo said Pyongyang was would soon be able to threaten a U.S. city with nuclear weapons, agreeing with Trump on the failure of previous administrations for failing to end North Korea’s nuclear weapons program. He continued, “With respect to, if Kim Jong Un should vanish, given the history of the CIA, I’m just not going to talk about it. Someone might think there was a coincidence.”
In July of 2017 he espoused similar views of hoping to oust Kim from power saying “I am hopeful we will find a way to separate the [North Korean] regime from this system. . . . The North Korean people, I’m sure, are lovely people and would love to see him go.”
And earlier this year in January he told reporters that he believed Kim “is looking for a foothold to walk himself back. This would but entirely consistent with his historical activity. When he sees the threat, he tries to pacify it. And you can be sure that this administration is not going to fall prey to the same trap that previous administrations did.”
In advance of what will be a milestone meeting between Trump and the North Korean leader, Pompeo may be a good choice as a negotiator because he’s more of a hawk than Tillerson might have been, and that appears to be what Trump is looking for. Many still worry that having too much of a hard liner in the seat may be Trump’s way of installing a “yes man.”
What say you SOFREP? Is Pompeo the right man for the job? Will he be able to work Trump’s art of the deal into actually doing what no American president has been able to do before now—denuclearize the Korean Peninsula? Sound off in the comments.