Mr Pompeo defended President Trump’s foreign policy direction, saying that he’s “not abandoning” leadership. (AP: Francisco Seco)
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says President Donald Trump is not “abandoning American leadership” around the world, and is in fact building a “new liberal order that prevents war”.
- Mr Pompeo said that the Trump administration wasn’t “abandoning” global leadership
- These comments come amid NATO talks seeking to de-escalate tensions in Ukraine
- He called on other bloc members to “pay their fair share”
Mr Pompeo is in Brussels for talks among foreign ministers at NATO, where its European members have been criticised by Mr Trump for failing to spend enough on their own defence and relying too much on Washington.
But the Trump administration has also come under fire in-turn from these allies, having voiced their concerns over the US’s commitment to the alliance.
In a speech to diplomats, Mr Pompeo said Mr Trump was not seeking to be “undermining these institutions, nor is he abandoning American leadership” but was in fact “rallying the noble nations of the world” for an order that “achieves greater prosperity for all.”
“Even our European friends sometimes say we’re not acting in the world’s interest. This is just plain wrong. Our mission is to reassert our sovereignty, reform the liberal international order,” he said.
“And we want our friends to help us and to exert their sovereignty as well. We aspire to make the international order serve our citizens, not to control them.”
He called on all members of the US-led military alliance to pay their “fair share so we can deter our enemies and defend the people of our countries”.
NATO leaders ponder the Ukraine question
Recently Canada assisted Ukraine with a training mission as Russian tensions escalate. (AP: Evgeniy Maloletka)
Allied foreign ministers are meeting to debate ways to dissuade Russia from destabilising Ukraine and encourage the Kremlin to respect a landmark Cold War nuclear treaty.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin will be meeting NATO ministers as Kiev seeks international support for its Black Sea confrontation with Russia.
But it is currently unclear what more NATO would do beyond the sea patrols and air policing it already does in the region.
Noting that Ukraine isn’t a member of the alliance, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said the allies already “provide strong political support and strong practical support.”
NATO allies have helped modernise Ukraine’s armed forces and boosted their presence in the Black Sea over the last year, with more ships deployed in the region and more air policing.
Three NATO allies on the Black Sea — Bulgaria, Romania and Turkey — are also taking individual measures.
Russia remains defiant
Moscow has developed missiles that could launch a nuclear strike with little or no notice. (Reuters: Ria Novosti)
The bloc also imposed economic and other sanctions on Russia since it annexed Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula in 2014, but there is little appetite among the allies to broaden those measures as Russia remains defiant.
Despite NATO launching its biggest military build up in Europe since the Cold War, Russia’s actions near the Sea of Azov demonstrate that the increased allied presence won’t deter its aims in eastern Ukraine.
Of similar concern to NATO is Russia’s new SSC8 missile system.
The US has shared intelligence evidence with its allies that the ground-fired cruise missile could give Moscow the ability to launch a nuclear strike in Europe with little or no notice.
Washington says the system contravenes the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty, which bans all land-based cruise missiles with a range between 500 and 5,500 kilometers, and President Donald Trump is threatening to pull out of the bilateral pact.
“It’s urgent that Russia ensures full compliance in a transparent and verifiable way, because the INF treaty is so important for our security,” Mr Stoltenberg told reporters Tuesday.
Some European allies suspect that Mr Trump could give notice in coming months that the US is leaving the treaty.
That would give Russia a notice period of six months to decide whether to comply.