Pompeo Tells European Allies It’s ‘Time to Restructure’ International Order

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Brussels, Belgium, December 4, 2018. (Yves Herman/REUTERS )

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Tuesday that European allies must acknowledge it is “time to restructure” the international order.

“There’s a long history of countries just refusing to acknowledge that things have changed and it’s time to restructure,” Pompeo told reporters. “Change is hard everywhere.”

Addressing the 2018 NATO Foreign Minister summit in Brussels, Pompeo criticized several international institutions, including the United Nations, the European Union, the Organization of American States, and the African Union.

“International bodies must help facilitate cooperation that bolsters the security and values of the free world, or they must be reformed or eliminated,” he said.

The secretary of state did have favorable words for NATO, calling it an “indispensable institution,” although he reiterated that the 27 other countries in the alliance must spend more on defense.

“We’ve rebuilt NATO in important ways already,” Pompeo said after the summit. “NATO is a far stronger organization as a result of the Trump administration than it was for the previous decade, I can assure you. And the 28 European ministers who were there with me today know that too.”

President Trump last summer threatened to withdraw from the almost-70-year-old NATO alliance over members’ failure to meet self-imposed targets for defense spending.

“Even our European friends sometimes say we’re not acting in the free world’s interest. This is just plain wrong,” Pompeo told summit attendees in his speech. “Under President Trump, we are not abandoning international leadership or our friends in the international system. Indeed, quite the contrary.”

“It’s not popular to buck the status quo,” Pompeo said. “[But] President Trump knows that when America leads, peace and prosperity follow.”

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