News

NRI Ideas Summit

Pompeo Casts Golan Heights Move As a Rejection of Conventional Wisdom

National Review editor in chief Rich Lowry and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (Pete Marovich)

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo provided a defense of the Trump administration’s recent decision to recognize the Golan Heights as Israel’s sovereign territory during his remarks at the National Review Ideas Summit on Thursday.

President Trump, standing side-by-side with Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the Oval office, signed a proclamation Monday officially recognizing Israel’s 1967 annexation of the long contested Golan Heights territory as a legitimate, defensive action.

After announcing the historic decision via Twitter, Trump was immediately criticized for making an impulsive decision that might provide a pretext for other countries with territorial ambitions to act aggressively.

Asked about this criticism by National Review’s Rich Lowry, Pompeo cast the notion as merely another piece of conventional wisdom that has lingered through various administrations despite its lack of grounding reality.

“This is a longtime shibboleth and we’ve now busted down a handful of those things, where people  thought an American action would lead to a particular reaction,” Pompeo said. “You need to look on the ground at what happened here, many countries have said they’re not going to join us but almost no one said that what we did wasn’t right or didn’t recognize the set of facts on the ground that were important.”

Pompeo went on to argue that, contra critics’ revisionist history, Israel’s control over the territory was central to its self defense since the Arab states were employing the high ground to bombard Israeli territory.

“This was a defensive engagement. It in no way blesses any act of aggression by any country,” he said.

Turning to the criticism that Trump’s choice of medium for the announcement (Twitter) evidenced a lack of forethought, Pompeo explained that the decision was made after substantial inter-agency groundwork.

“I remember reading it that this looked like a snap decision like it was random and not well thought through,” he said. “We’ve been working on this for an awfully long time all across the United States government…Is this the right thing, how do we do it, what are the underpinnings, what will be the reactions?”

“It’s the case that the moment the tweet came out it was spontaneous but the groundwork that had been done to lay the foundations of this decision was interagency and long in the making,” he added.

While State Department officials were expecting the move at some point in the coming weeks, the Monday announcement came as a surprise, according to the Associated Press.

Most Popular

U.S.

In Defense of Coleman Hughes

Picture the scene: A young man walks into a congressional hearing to offer witness testimony. His grandfather was barbarically brutalized by people who are now long dead. The nation in which he resides built its wealth of his grandfather’s brutalization. The question: Should his fellow citizens pay the young ... Read More
Film & TV

Toy Story 4: A National Anthem

The Toy Story franchise is the closest thing we have to an undisputed national anthem, a popular belief that celebrates what we think we all stand for — cooperation, ingenuity, and simple values, such as perpetual hope. This fact of our infantile, desensitized culture became apparent back in 2010 when I took a ... Read More
Education

College Leaders Should Learn from Oberlin

Thanks to their social-justice warrior mindset, the leaders of Oberlin College have caused an Ohio jury to hit it with $44 million in compensatory and punitive damages in a case where the school couldn't resist the urge to side with its “woke” students against a local business. College leaders should learn ... Read More
Elections

Joe and the Segs

Joe Biden has stepped in it, good and deep. Biden, if he has any hope of ever being elected president, will be dependent on residual goodwill among African Americans from his time as Barack Obama’s loyal and deferential vice president — so deferential, in fact, that he stood aside for Herself in 2016 even ... Read More
Politics & Policy

The Madcap Caution of Donald Trump

The worry last week was that the Trump administration was ginning up fake intelligence about Iran blowing up oil tankers in the Strait of Hormuz to justify a war against Iran. Then, this week, President Donald Trump said the Iranian attacks weren’t a big deal. The episode is another indication of the ... Read More
Film & TV

Fosse/Verdon and the Dismal #MeToo Obsession

In the final episode of Fosse/Verdon, one of the two titular characters, Bob Fosse, is shooting one of the greatest films of all time. The other, Gwen Verdon, is having a quarrel with her unspeakably dull boyfriend about whether he approves of her performing in a road-show production of a Broadway musical. These ... Read More