The Secretary of State spoke out against criticism of President Trump’s quick decision to withdraw troops from the Middle East on Monday, saying that this administration has “taken down” 99% of the caliphate, according to the Washington Free Beacon.
Aboard the Secretary’s plane en route to Jordan, Pompeo’s first stop in his campaign to talk with Arab leaders about the prevention of the caliphate, reporters asked about several foreign policy decisions made by the president. Pompeo responded by saying that while President Trump’s decision to withdraw troops from the Middle East may be an agenda issue, the president wants to make sure that Arab leaders are also willing to help stop terrorism in the Middle East.
“We took over from an administration that let Iran loose,” Pompeo said in response to questions asking about the loose foreign policy of the Obama administration. “That is a big effort to push back against.”
The Secretary of State also confirmed that he will deliver a major speech in Cairo, Egypt, while refusing to disclose specific details about the address. However, we can assume that Iran’s open support for terrorism will be a top priority.
Then questions about the president’s swift decision to withdraw troops from the Middle East while claiming to ensure “peace through strength” were presented to Pompeo. While Pompeo had expressed in the past that this would be an agenda issue for the administration, he responded by alleging that 99% of the caliphate had been “taken down.”
“We’ve taken down 99 percent of the caliphate,” Pompeo said. “That should be the first sentence in every story. This has been an enormously successful campaign.”
While the president has removed the means for the United States to ensure peace in the Middle East, it was seen as fulfilling another campaign promise by many. In the United States, there are many who also believe that it is not the responsibility of the United States to ensure peace in a region plagued by terrorism, a school of thought often referred to as isolationism.