MUNICH - Speaking during the Munich Security Conference Saturday morning, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called out European leaders and others for claiming the West is “westless,” pushed back on allegations that the United States “rejects the international community” and explained that the NATO alliance has been bolstered, not weakened, by President Trump’s demands on allied countries to properly budget for defense.
"I saw the topic for this weekend’s gathering, this idea of 'westlessness' as the core theme for this year’s conference. And I am sure, too, there are many of you who would call yourself here realists, but let me give you an idea of what’s real," Pomeo said. "Over the past few years, I’ve seen, we’ve all seen, democratic leaders questioning America’s commitment to the transatlantic alliance and America’s leadership in the world. I’m here this morning to tell you the facts. Those statements simply do not affect in any significant way or reflect reality. I am happy to report that the death of the transatlantic alliance is grossly over-exaggerated."
Pompeo went after leaders by reading their quotes and strongly hit back with examples of how the United States is leading on a variety of issues, including emissions reduction, defeating ISIS, combating terrorism, bolstering Democracy, fighting Russian aggression, holding China accountable and more.
“The United States, with our allies, has undertaken the most significant reinforcement of NATO’s eastern flank since the Cold War. We are stronger when we work together to accomplish our shared security goals,” he said. "The United States has marshalled nations to help us protect the waterways of the Straits of Hormuz and to defend freedom of navigation throughout the South China Sea. The United States, too, has worked with international sanctions, global sanctions, to prevent North Korea from continuing to develop its nuclear weapons program, and we’ve worked to bring Pyongyang consistently back to the negotiating table. We’ve led 81 nations in the global fight to defeat the ISIS caliphate. We took out al-Baghdadi. We took out the leader of al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula just this past month. Is this an America that 'rejects the international community?'"
"The West is winning. Freedom and democracy are winning. And by that, I don’t mean just geographical nations. The West doesn’t define a space or a piece of real state. It’s any nation – any nation that adopts a model of respect for individual freedom, free enterprise, national sovereignty. They’re part of this idea of the West," he continued.
The secretary of state explained how sovereignty and borders bolster western values, protect citizens and promote cooperation.
"We patrol our borders to keep our people safe, so that they can continue to worship, to work, and to make our countries great without disruption. We honor the right of every nation to carry on their affairs as they choose, so long as they don’t try to interfere with our sovereignty or do harm to our friends," he said. "Look, we urge other nations to protect human dignity, because we believe in unalienable rights. We support independent nations. Our signature – our signature military project together is a defensive alliance. We respect the rule of law and we honor intellectual property rights. We don’t interfere in other nations’ elections."
"Respect for sovereignty of nations is a secret of and central to our success," he said.
Pompeo also reminded western leaders that caving to pressure from Russia and China, who do not respect sovereignty or intellectual property rights, may be the easy thing to do, but the wrong direction that threatens future global stability.
"Let’s talk about territorial integrity, or rather, those nations that have contempt for it. Russia has seized Crimea and parts of Eastern Ukraine and Georgia. Iran’s missiles explode on Saudi oil facilities, and its proxy forces are present in Iraq, in Lebanon, in Syria, and in Yemen. China encroaches on the exclusive economic zones of Vietnam, the Philippines, and Indonesia. And on that point, China has had a border or maritime dispute with nearly every nation bordering it," he said.
“I know it’s not without cost or courage to stand up for our sovereignty. But has that ever been the case?” Pompeo said. “Name me a moment in history when the weak and the meek have won.”
After a series of meetings in Munich over the past two days, Pompeo will visit a series of African countries and the Middle East.