Secretary of State Mike Pompeo thought he could just waltz into Brussels for a quick self-serving photo-op with European diplomats on Monday. He was wrong.
Tensions between the United States and our allies have never been worse as President Donald Trump continues to march the country toward war with Iran despite opposition from the other signatories of the Iran nuclear deal, which Trump withdrew from last year and has been pressuring our friends to do the same ever since, even going so far as to threaten sanctions against them.
Iran has complied with the deal so far, but are beginning to waver in response to sanctions by Trump.
Diplomats from signatory nations planned to discuss Iran on Monday, and Pompeo decided to change his itinerary at the last moment to travel to Brussels, and did not get the welcome he expected.
According to the Washington Post:
Pompeo scrapped a day of mostly ceremonial events in Moscow on Monday in favor of the Brussels stopover. He plans to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in the Black Sea resort of Sochi on Tuesday. Many E.U. leaders are furious with Trump’s moves on Iran, and E.U. foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini offered only a grudging welcome to Pompeo.
We were told during the night that he was planning to change his travel plans,” Mogherini told reporters ahead of a previously scheduled meeting of top diplomats from the 28 European Union nations. “We will be here all day, with a busy agenda, so we will see during the day how and if we manage to arrange a meeting. He’s always welcome, obviously, but there are no precise plans for the moment.”
British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt expressed his concern about Trump’s actions.
“We are very worried about the risk of a conflict happening by accident, with an escalation that is unintended really on either side,” Hunt said. “Most of all, we need to make sure we don’t end up putting Iran back on the path to renuclearization. Because if Iran becomes a nuclear power, its neighbors are likely to want to become nuclear powers. This is already the most unstable region in the world, and this would be a massive step in the wrong direction.”
Alas, Iran is moving closer toward restarting its nuclear program precisely because Trump withdrew from the deal and has been repeatedly violating the terms of it.
In fact, European diplomats were not in the mood to pal around with Pompeo, which is why they declined a photo-op with him, according to Wall Street Journal reporter Laurence Norman.
— laurence norman (@laurnorman) May 13, 2019
It makes sense. After all, there’s no point pretending everything is okay when it’s clearly not, especially since Trump would use such photo-ops as part of his propaganda.
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