The Lima Summit will be amazing. For starters, Peru’s Foreign Ministry should have a good answer to a key question that all journalists and the mythical “observers” ask themselves: why is dictator Maduro denied access to Peru (which is very good), but dictator Raul Castro receives an invitation (which is very wrong)? It is logical that the servant be excluded in accordance with other Summits’ agreements, but the same should also be done with the master.
Donald Trump will arrive in Lima in mid-April accompanied by his new Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, a brilliant Italian-American. Trump just got rid of Rex Tillerson, firing him with a quick and devious tweet. The New Yorker‘s satire section supposes that the virtually former Secretary of State –he will be formally in office until the end of March– cursed the President when he found out. Tillerson allegedly said that he expects that one day, in the early morning, Trump discovers that he has been fired through another quick and also devious tweet. Si non e vero e ben trovato.
It was evident that the two men did not get along. At some point Tillerson declared that Trump was a moron, and the President responded by challenging him to compare their respective IQs. The ridiculous contest was not carried out, but it would have confirmed that both are people with a high level of intelligence. No idiot can become the president of the United States or the CEO of Exxon-Mobil, one of the largest companies in the nation.
Tillerson, a civil engineer, joined the company in 1975 and went up the corporate ladder all the way to the top. That’s not easy at all in a system where people usually go up zigzagging. When he retired in 2016, he was rewarded with 180 million dollars. It is not a matter of intelligence. That’s not the point here. Deficiencies don’t have anything to do with neurons but with character, knowledge, experiences, purposes and visions.
In any case, Pompeo is a more appropriate choice for the position of Secretary of State. He has done many things and has done all of them reasonably well, but this does not mean that he will be easily approved by the Senate. He has been an Army captain in a society that respects its armed forces. He was in the military between 1986 and 1991, the key years of Gorbachev and the collapse of the Soviet Union and its surrounding belt of communist satellites.
He graduated as a mechanical engineer from West Point at the head of his class. He fought in the Gulf War. He received a Ph.D. in Law from Harvard, has business experience and went to the U.S. Congress representing a Kansas district. In Washington D.C. he joined the conservative group called Tea Party until the White House appointed him as Director of the CIA. He was ten months in that position.
Consequently, Pompeo has an ideological vision of the conflicts that the United States faces. He thinks he knows what values and positions this nation is interested in defending. He doesn’t try to please everybody. That is why he thinks that the agreement with Iran is catastrophic, since the theocracy of the ayatollahs, if it’s not stopped in its tracks, will soon have nuclear weapons, which will exponentially increase the risk of war in the region because Tehran has expressed its desire to destroy the State of Israel.
He is neither naive in Latin American affairs. Because he directed the CIA, he knows that Cuba is not going through a process of transformation, as Obama naively believed, but of ratification of Stalinism. Cuba’s regime showed it again in the last “elections”, with a single party and a single voice, as denounced by Rosa María Payá, the daughter of the murdered opposition leader Oswaldo Payá.
According to those who know him, Pompeo is also convinced that Maduro’s Venezuela is not only a nuisance, but a real danger to the stability of the area. A rogue state run from Havana, dedicated to drug trafficking with the military of the Cartel del Sol, and to aid Islamic terrorism under the direction of Tareck El Aissami, vice president of Venezuela, accused of corruption and money laundering to benefit his accomplices of Hezbollah, to whom he would have given thousands of false documents stating that they were born in Venezuela, in order to facilitate their movement across borders.
The problem, then, is not of diagnosis, but therapy. What can be done with these rogue states? We’ll see in Lima in mid-April.
Published in Spanish by El Blog de Montaner on Saturday March 17th, 2018