Mike Pompeo to tell Senate soft US policy on Russia ‘now over’

Pick for secretary of state will say Trump administration considers Russia danger to our country

Mike Pompeo, the CIA director picked to be the next secretary of state, will tell the Senate that years of soft US policy toward Russia are now over.

Pompeo will chastise Russia for acting aggressively and emphasise the Trump administration considers Russia a danger to our country, according to excerpts of his prepared remarks obtained by the Associated Press from a senior Trump official.

But Pompeo, the former Tea Party Republican congressman, will also say diplomatic efforts with Moscow, while challenging, must continue. He will also stress the United States duty to lead, despite Donald Trumps vows to put America first.

If we do not lead the calls for democracy, prosperity and human rights around the world, who will? Pompeo will say. No other nation is equipped with the same blend of power and principle.

Pompeo will face the Senate foreign relations committee on Thursday as part of hearing into his confirmation to lead the State Department. Pompeos views on global issues are well known he was questioned extensively by senators for his confirmation to run the CIA but Democratic senators have raised questions about his fitness to be the top diplomat, given his hawkish views and past comments about minorities.

When journalists, most of whom have never met me, label me or any of you as hawks, war hardliners or worse, I shake my head, the former army officer will say. There are few who dread war more than those of us who have served in uniform.

He will add: War is always the last resort.

Pompeos business dealings with a subsidiary of Chinas state-owned oil and gas giant Sinopec could be another sticking point to his confirmation. Pompeo registered his Kansas company SJ Petro Pump Investment in November 2006 and was listed as an owner in 2007, according to documents seen by McClatchy. In 2008 he was still listed as a signing member.

SJ Petro is a subsidiary of Sinopec, based in the central Chinese province of Hubei. Sinopec said in a 2010 press release that it had registered the SJ Petro trademark in the US. As of 2016, Sinopec had hired a Washington lobbyist to advocate for the company on US energy policies. Calls to SJ Petro and Sinopec on Thursday morning were not answered.

Pompeos questioning by senators comes amid spiralling tensions with Russia over Syria and China over trade, concerns about the planned summit between Trump and the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, and uncertainty over the administrations international agenda.

He will tell the Senate he has read CIA histories of past talks with North Korea and is confident Trump wont repeat past mistakes.

President Trump isnt one to play games at the negotiating table and I wont be either, he will say.

Pompeo will also pledge to make it an immediate personal priority to work with US allies to try to fix the Iran nuclear deal. Trump has vowed to withdraw if agreement with European allies to revamp to deal cant be reached by 12 May.

Trump announced Pompeos nomination in the same 13 March tweet in which he fired his first secretary of state, Rex Tillerson.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/apr/12/mike-pompeo-to-tell-senate-soft-us-policy-on-russia-now-over

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