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Secretary of State Pompeo defends Trump’s ‘America First’ policy



US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo adresses the audience on the podium during the 56th Munich Security Conference in Munich on February 15, 2020.

Andrew Caballero Reynold | POOL | AFP via Getty Images

MUNICH — Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Saturday defended the United States’ foreign policy approach and dismissed criticisms that the Trump administration disregards international alliances.

“I’m happy to report that the death of the transatlantic alliance is grossly exaggerated. The West is winning, and we’re winning together,” Pompeo said in a speech at the Munich Security Conference.

Pompeo’s remarks come a day after German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier took an indirect swipe at President Donald Trump’s “America First” campaign and warned that the United States would prioritize its own interests first at the expense of allies.

“Our closest ally, the United States of America, under the current administration, rejects the very concept of the international community,” he said. “‘Great again’ but at the expense of neighbors and partners,” Steinmeier added without naming Trump but referring to his “Make America Great Again” campaign slogan.

“Thinking and acting this way hurts us all,” he said.

German president Frank-Walter Steinmeier speaks at the Munich Security Conference on February 14, 2020.

Kuhlmann | Munich Security Conference

Pompeo referenced a quote from Steinmeier’s speech saying, “I am here this morning to tell you the facts. Those statements do simply not fact in any significant way or reflect reality.”

“Consider too, what we have done alongside each of you and what we have done to support NATO in particular. The United States has urged NATO onto $400 billion in new pledges. We did this because our nations are safer when we work together,” he added.

Attending Steinmeier’s speech, delivered at the 56th Munich Security Conference, were Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi as well as other representatives, making it the largest U.S. delegation to attend the forum.

The theme of the conference, highlighted in the 2020 Munich Security Report, focuses on the feeling of “westlessness” — a widespread uneasiness that Western countries are becoming “less Western.”

“Recent years have seen estrangement and diverging positions on crucial policy challenges — ranging from arms control and global trade to climate change or the role of international institutions,” wrote the authors of the report.

This year’s conference is expected to gauge international reaction to the Trump administration’s unpredictable foreign policy, frequent trade battles and use of military force as the U.S. braces for a presidential election.

The Trump administration has pulled the U.S. back from global commitments while pushing for the denuclearization of North Korea, escalating tensions with Iran, engaging in a bitter trade war with China and continuing efforts to negotiate the end of the U.S. war in Afghanistan.

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