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Boardman writes: "Secretary of State Mike Pompeo went to the American University in Cairo early this year to deliver what may be the clearest statement of foreign policy principles that will come from this administration."

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. (photo: Getty)
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. (photo: Getty)

US Adopts Christian Ideology to Guide Foreign Policy

By William Boardman, Reader Supported News

16 January 19


This trip is especially meaningful for me as an evangelical Christian, coming so soon after the Coptic Church’s Christmas celebrations. This is an important time.

We’re all children of Abraham: Christians, Muslims, Jews. In my office, I keep a Bible open on my desk to remind me of God and His Word, and The Truth.

And it’s the truth, lower-case “t,” that I’m here to talk about today. It is a truth that isn’t often spoken in this part of the world, but because I’m a military man by training, I’ll be very blunt and direct today: America is a force for good in the Middle East.

We need to acknowledge that truth, because if we don’t, we make bad choices – now and in the future.
[emphasis added]

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, January 10, 2019

ecretary of State Mike Pompeo went to the American University in Cairo early this year to deliver what may be the clearest statement of foreign policy principles that will come from this administration. Pompeo’s speech began (see above) with his acknowledgement that he views the world through a pair of self-reinforcing ideologies: Christian evangelism and American Salvationism. The 3,600-word speech has little overall coherence as Pompeo meanderingly applies his muscular Christian Americanism (he never suggests his view is shared by the president or anyone else) to a self-serving selection of issues. What follows are highlights from the speech in the order they appear, with whatever commentary seems helpful. Pompeo has this to say about the Arab Spring that started in early 2o11 and spread across the Middle East:

These lands witnessed convulsions from Tunis to Tehran as old systems crumbled and new ones struggled to emerge. That’s happened here [in Egypt], too.

And at this critical moment, America, your long-time friend, was absent too much. Why? Because our leaders gravely misread our history, and your historical moment.

The preposterous dishonesty of this telegraphic summary of a complex nexus of only semi-related events tells you all you need to know about the sophistication and nuance of analysis at work at the top of the US government. Pompeo conflates developments in countries as varied and far apart as Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt, Syria, Bahrain, and Iran (even though Iran isn’t Arab). The US absence from Tunisia and Morocco was more or less beneficial to both countries. The US was hardly absent from Bahrain, where the US naval base benefited from the monarchy’s heavy-handed crushing of protest. The US was excessively involved in Libya, which hasn’t recovered yet from our support.

Pompeo’s soft-pedaling of Egypt (“That’s happened here, too”) is particularly revelatory, not only because he’s being polite to his host country, but even more so because he’s shoving a whole lot of ugly history down the Orwellian memory hole. Egypt, remember, went from one of the uglier, US-supported military dictatorships (happy to do our torture for us) to a constitutional democracy that chose Mohamed Morsi for President. When Morsi turned out to be too Islamist for the Egyptian military (and the US), he was overthrown in a military coup and replaced with a proper military-imposed democracy that elected a general to re-establish the current police state that isn’t quite as bad as the one before. See? America brings progress! But Egypt raises issues – democracy, freedom of speech, rule of law – whose absence in Egypt’s police state are of no great concern to Pompeo. That’s probably why he offers no explanation of what he means by “our leaders gravely misread our history, and your historical moment.”  

That’s because he raised the whole Arab Spring nuisance (without naming it, of course) for quite another purpose: to attack President Obama, who also gave a foreign policy speech (5800 words) at the American University back in June 2009, one that was far more thoughtful and actually coherent, regardless of what Pompeo said in his sleazy way without naming his boss’s predecessor:

He told you that radical Islamist terrorism does not stem from an ideology.

He told you that 9/11 led my country to abandon its ideals, particularly in the Middle East.

These are demonstrably false statements. Obama did not use the word “ideology” or the right-wing buzz phrase “radical Islamist terrorism,” which only the credulous and uninformed would believe. Nor did Obama say 9/11 led the US “to abandon its ideals,” though that would be more true than not, what with torturing innocents, bombing civilians, and invading two countries that had not attacked us. What Obama actually said of 9/11 was that “in some cases, it led us to act contrary to our ideals” – which is precisely true. But Pompeo’s attack on Obama garnered him headlines, with few in the media making the effort to point out that Pompeo was lying by attacking words that were never said. Maybe that’s because Pompeo does that a lot. Even so, it’s not honorable journalism.

Pompeo fulminates at length about ISIS, Iran, “Hizballah,” and Bashar Assad without actually making any cogent or fully accurate point. He asserts that “… our desire for peace at any cost led us to strike a deal with Iran …” even though we were already at peace with Iran. He ignores the reality that the nuclear agreement with Iran has stopped Iran’s development of nuclear weapons and that this is confirmed by Iran’s cooperation with international inspectors. He also ignores the other parties to the deal – Russia, China, France, UK, Germany, and the European Union – all of whom continue to support the deal despite the US pulling out (which has not yet taken effect). Pompeo and his cronies are the only ones claiming the deal is a failure, but those claims are false, disingenuous, dishonest, and supported by no evidence whatsoever. For all his name-calling on Iran, Pompeo offers no specifics, only loose allegations with no factual support. Pompeo reaches this conclusion about his quartet of bad actors:

So today, what did we learn from all of this? We learned that when America retreats, chaos often follows. When we neglect our friends, resentment builds. And when we partner with enemies, they advance.

This must be mere demagoguery. If Pompeo believes it, he’s delusional. Where has America retreated? Not from Iraq, not from Syria (yet), not from any of our myriad bases surrounding Iran and elsewhere across the Middle East, and certainly not from Afghanistan (Pompeo never mentions Afghanistan). There was chaos in Libya because we intervened, there’s chaos in Syria and Gaza, there’s chaos in Iraq and Afghanistan, there’s chaos in Yemen. Most of that chaos is at least partly due to US involvement (except Gaza, where the US supports Israel’s crimes against humanity).

When Pompeo says, “when we partner with enemies, they advance,” he might be onto something. He probably means Iran, but Iran hasn’t “advanced” and hasn’t invaded anyone in centuries (even though the US prompted Iraq to invade Iran). No, what Pompeo unwittingly reveals most obviously is that when the US partners with Saudi Arabia, the Saudis advance by propagating radical Islamist extremism across the globe, by making war on Yemen with our blessing and in violation of international law, and by threatening various of their neighbors including Iran and Qatar. Saudi Arabia is an autocratic, repressive state in which human rights and freedoms exist at the fringes when they exist at all. The other Arab states (as well as Turkey) are similarly autocratic, violent, and anti-democratic. Or as Pompeo calls them, our friends.

Pompeo’s speech has a long passage designed to show how brilliantly the US has changed in the past two years, virtually bringing a new Eden to the Middle East. None of it is credible or reality-based, but it does have its share of hilariously absurd assertions:

America has always been, and always will be, a liberating force, not an occupying power….

And when the mission is over, when the job is complete, America leaves….

Life is returning to normal for millions of Iraqis and Syrians …

Whatever Pompeo may think “normal” means, life is not likely to return to normal for Iraqis or Syrians any time soon, even if “normal” doesn’t mean living under a stable dictatorship. When the mission, as Pompeo argues, is fighting terrorism, then the mission is never over. And America does not have a pattern of leaving anywhere. America has combat forces in 165 countries these days, give or take a few. America hasn’t left Syria, Iraq, or Afghanistan, never mind South Korea, Japan, Germany, Britain, Italy, and lord knows where else. The reality is that America, for its entire existence, has been an occupying power on the American continent.

All this may seem just too obvious for words, but remember this is a rebuttal of what the American Secretary of State – third in line for succession to the presidency – is telling the world what he claims to be the truth. And it’s not even close. And it gets worse.

Pompeo spends the last third of his speech rambling through all the reasons the United States will remain at war for the foreseeable future. His argument goes something like this, and I paraphrase: Iran, Iran, Iran in Yemen, Hizballah, Iran, Iran, Libya, Iran, rockets in Lebanon, Iran, Iran. He never mentions human rights. Anywhere.  

Pompeo’s hypocrisy shines most brightly when he talks about Yemen. He doesn’t mention Saudi killing of civilians or other war crimes, or Yemeni cholera epidemics, or Yemeni starvation, or any of the other horrors perpetrated on the poorest nation in the region. Instead, he claims the US has provided “robust humanitarian aid” and supported peace talks (albeit almost invisibly). Despite decades of American efforts to de-stabilize Yemen, Pompeo boasts: “And in Yemen, we will continue to work for a lasting peace.” This is a criminal war of endless atrocity that Pompeo fully embraces because: Iran (no evidence needed). But he’s too petty to give credit for the war where it’s deserved, since that would mean praising Obama. Pompeo is happy to take the credit for continuing the work no matter who gets slaughtered, hopefully Iran:

America will not retreat until the terror fight is over….

For our part, airstrikes in the region will continue as targets arise….

The United States fully supports Israel’s right to defend itself against the Iranian regime’s aggressive adventurism….

First, it’s never easy to recognize truth. But when we see it, we must speak it… one thing we’ve never been is an empire-builder or an oppressor.

That pretty much sums up the ideology of a self-defined ideologue. America has never been an oppressor. America has never been an empire builder. America always was, is, and will be a force for good, no matter who has to suffer for it.

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William M. Boardman has over 40 years experience in theatre, radio, TV, print journalism, and non-fiction, including 20 years in the Vermont judiciary. He has received honors from Writers Guild of America, Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Vermont Life magazine, and an Emmy Award nomination from the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

Reader Supported News is the Publication of Origin for this work. Permission to republish is freely granted with credit and a link back to Reader Supported News. your social media marketing partner


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+60 # chapdrum 2019-01-16 13:50
On first sight of the headline, thought this was from "The Onion." Somehow, we have got to get these people out of power; I don't know how to do that short of a massive general strike. If the government gets shutdown without our consent, then we can similarly refuse.
+23 # Jim at Dr.Democracy on Facebook 2019-01-16 18:47
Well said...
+11 # Thomas Martin 2019-01-16 22:32
"The US Adopts Christian Ideology" - no we don't - at least as I understand it!!!
0 # tedrey 2019-04-20 07:29
(Part 1)
The American people like to think that they can solve any problem alone, but when their own government betrays them, they may reluctantly choose to call in outside help. I think this is now the case.

American spokesmen have now publicly stated that a U.S. invasion and overthrow of the elected government of Venezuela is intended before the end of this year. Similar threats have been made by the same spokesmen towards Iran.

The United Nations is founded on the principle that aggressive, preemptive, and unilateral wars must not be allowed on any circumstances. Member states are required not to support nations engaging in such hostilities. The U.N. Security Council is the organ set up to enforce this mandate against any nation breaching it.

The UN General Assemblt AND Security Council should request an immediate assurance from the U.S. administration that these spokesmen do not speak for the United States, and preferably that they be discharged from their offices.

(To be continued)
0 # tedrey 2019-04-20 07:35
(Part 2)
In case of non-compliance, the Security Council should lay the issue of planned American aggression upon the table. As the accused party, the United States should obviously recuse itself, and not be permitted to exercise veto power.

In case of further non-compliance, the U.N.General Assembly should permit member states, seperately or together, to raise any non-military sanctions they think appropriate on the United States (of the sort the United States has already raised against Venezuela, Iran, and other member states.)

American citizens who think that the American administration is in serious violation of domestic and international law should openly back such U.N. actions in whatever ways they find appropriate.

In other words, I think that what is necessary in this case is exactly what was NOT done in the 1930s, when the Legue of Nations refused to sanction the aggressions of Japan, Germany, and Italy, thus opening the floodgates to World War Two.

Because we are on the verge of becoming a Hitler/Mussolin i/Tojo type state, and I think that both American citizens and other nations who don't want that should work together to prevent it.
+58 # laborequalswealth 2019-01-16 13:56
Who would Jesus bomb?
+23 # Jim at Dr.Democracy on Facebook 2019-01-16 18:53
No one? Not here. Not there. Not anywhere.

Your question splits open the hypocrisy for for all to see.

Sadly, we cannot get you into a series of discussions with every American. I think your question, if discussed repeatedly at dinner tables across the nation, could take this nation at least partially out of this addiction to the gold gained for a few by means of large-scale murderous, imperial thievery. In the name...of goodness, apple pie, our generosity, and Jesus.
+16 # chrisconno 2019-01-17 00:19
I carried that very sign in protests during the run up to the invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq. Christian's war proclivities are on par with the rest of the world's religious fanatics who terrorize who ever they think doesn't think enough like them.
+12 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2019-01-17 10:20
labor -- can I get a bumper sticker of that? Indeed, who would Jesus bomb? I wish someone from the media would ask the twin Ps -- Pence and Pompeo.
+3 # economagic 2019-01-17 17:28
Actually you can. Do a non-Google web search.
+1 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2019-01-19 09:37
I did. You are right. There are very many of them for sale. Capitalism at its finest. They will sell rope to death row convicts.
+38 # PABLO DIABLO 2019-01-16 18:45
"My goal was to trap the United States in an unnecessary and illegal war in order to bankrupt them"--- Osama Bin Laden. September 11, 2001
Who won???
Time for a Wake up call America.
+9 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2019-01-17 10:38
Did Osama really say this. Or is it another made up story. Either way, the US was doing this to itself long before Osama came on the scene. There are 1000s of Think Tank neo-cons who want just this same thing, only they don't believe the US will ever run out of money. And that is because the US can steal money from all the world (except for Israel, which it gives money to).
+32 # lorenbliss 2019-01-16 19:08
Mr. Boardman always writes well. But this goes way beyond well to fine. Damn fine, in fact.
+33 # munley 2019-01-16 19:18
Yes, get them out of power in the 2020 election. If Trump is impeached and convicted prior to the 20th of this month (an unlikely prospect), Pence becomes president with two more tries in 2024 and 2028. Now Pence is a guy with very robust "Christian ideology," a guy who shouldn't be given a chance.
+32 # Jaax88 2019-01-16 19:18
For an academically bright guy Pompeo is either dumb as a rock and a fool or is mendacious, knowingly trying to convince Trump's base that white is black and the world that he and Trump know what they are doing.
+26 # lorenbliss 2019-01-16 19:29
And apropos our Secretory of State -- indeed not just Pompeo but the entire Trump/Pence Regime (and thus to transform Mr. Boardman's disclosures into metaphor) – surely Pompeo and his fellow conspirators often imagine themselves participants at witch-burnings.

Ah but alas for us, this time the witch they burn is our own Mother Earth, and We the People are the fuel of the fires by which they seek their own redemption.
+33 # Texas Aggie 2019-01-16 19:51
We now have two people in power working to bring about the End Times, Pence and Pompeo. Both of them believe that there will be a conflagration (Armageddon) that will result in his type of Christian being transported to heaven and everyone else going to hell. It is the reason that the fundies have been backing Israel's conquests and occupations of the Middle East because they believe once that is accomplished, war will break out and the end will come.

If Pence gets a promotion, look for a nuclear war before he's voted out, and you can't count on the military to stop him because too many of them (See Air Force Academy) are members of the same cult.
+27 # bardphile 2019-01-16 19:56
"When America retreats, chaos follows." It did in Vietnam, for a while. Now VN has recovered and is holding the line against Chinese expansion while our vets return to the old battlegrounds and shake hands with their former enemy, my old bicycle tour company sponsors tours in VN, etc., all of which reveal the folly of our involvement there. When will we ever learn.
+13 # Anne Frank 2019-01-17 12:55
The absence of hostility toward Americans among the Vietnamese people is amazing. I think if some foreign nation had invaded the U.S. and murdered 5 1/2 million of my fellow Americans (55 million proportionally) I would feel some resentment even 50 years after the invaders left.
+3 # bardphile 2019-01-20 23:07
I've found this to be true with my Vietnamese students over the years. A sweet bunch, individually and collectively. They're reluctant to discuss the American War, but they seem to realize that we were trapped together by large historical forces. Their forgiving attitude inspires me.
+7 # WorkingClass 2019-01-16 21:04
Apply Christian principles in our foreign policy? WOW! Maybe once the GOP actually reads the Bible we will stop killing people. And maybe if we get really, really lucky the GOP will start applying Christian principles, as found in Mathew 25: 31-46, right here in the US. I know, I know - that's just crazy talk.
+14 # economagic 2019-01-16 21:38
OK, I stand corrected. Earlier today I took Paul Krugman to task for asserting that T-Rump's cronies (those who remain) are "morons," on the premise that since the Powell Memo (1971) they and their forerunners have been pursuing with great focus a gunless but nonetheless fascist coup, to avenge the failure of the "Bankers' Coup" of 1933.

Like most of his peers, though much more so, Mr. Pompousass is ignorant to a degree most of us cannot even comprehend. But like most of his ilk he has shown no interest in learning anything about the real world, and failure to recognize and address one's ignorance is WILLFUL ignorance, i.e. stupidity, the state of morons, although such terms are no longer recognized as having any meaning except as pejoratives.

And I spent half of this day lobbying my otherwise progressive Congress Critter to endorse publicly the report of the NC Commission of Inquiry on Torture. (Many of the "Torture Taxi" flights originated from one of two airports near Raleigh and Durham.) Isn't Mister Hypocritical Christian himself an ardent proponent of torture?
+8 # janie1893 2019-01-17 02:22
The END TIMES. Fundamentalist Christians will be standing in line for tickets to the greatest show in the universe. They are too stupid to understand it will mean the end of human existence.

I do believe mankind has outlived it's 'best before' date. We do not deserve to survive.
+9 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2019-01-17 09:33
This is a very good article. Boardman does a great job of showing the total hypocrisy and horror that is US foreign policy. In his descriptions of Pompeo's latest articulation, I see total consistence with US foreign policy going all the way back to Truman, Eisenhower and the post WW II move to create a role for the US as policeman or hegemon of the world.

What's happening under Trump is that the US is becoming visibly isolated. Obama was able to "speak nice" and fool a lot of people. They felt sorry for him because he was a black man and president of a nation that hates, imprisons, and lynches black men. They knew Obama was on a tightrope. So they gave him some respect.

But Trump is the bald face of the ugly American, just as Bush and Reagan were. The world is fully "woke." And it is resisting as much as humanly possible. No one wants to provoke a rain of bombs on their people so they try not to provoke the US. But as Pompeo says, the US will continue bombing where ever it chooses.

I actually think it is good that Trump is exposing the horrors of US foreign policy. the mass media like the NYT are working overtime to continue the myth of US benevolence. But no one believes the NYT anymore. So it is getting exposed, too.
-22 # BKnowswhitt 2019-01-17 12:50
Like it or not the world is in a spritual stuggle on a daily basis including at home in the USA. Progressive Humanism which in many cases denies the existence of God or a Creator believes in self actualization. The policies of the religion of Progressivism insists upon it. You must be on page in their group think. Christianity which is at the heart of what the founders intended to this Constitutional Republic acknowledges the right to freedom of religion. It is not forced on anyone .. nor can anyone force any other belief system onto us citizenry. In the Christian model .. the Truthful Christian belief system .. yes there has been a bastardization via certain religions .. interesting that the Muslim religion started after Christ 400 or so years and do not believe in Mercy nor salvation .. at their extreme they believe in killing westerners and Christians. That is as extreme as it gets. the fact that this man feels guided by his Bible and that Word .. is good for us all .. ALL of America ...
+14 # economagic 2019-01-17 17:27
Oh man, you need to start reading something besides the Protestant Bible. And how are Mr. Pompousass's American Exceptionalism AND his Christian Zionism AND his saber rattling consistent with the teachings in the last third of his Bible?
+3 # elizabethblock 2019-01-17 13:59
Well, Pompeo's speech will probably have no more actual effect than Obama's did.
+17 # Porfiry 2019-01-17 15:02
As, I hope, a practicing Christian and a clergyman for 60 years, I continue to be horrified how people plaster the name "Christian" on the most un-Christlike programs one could imagine. Frankly, I find most "evangelical Christians" to be neither.

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