Restoring the Role of the Nation-State in the Liberal International Order

Remarks by Secretary Pompeo on Restoring the Role of the Nation-State in the Liberal International Order (State Dept. / AP Images)
Michael R. Pompeo
Secretary of State
German Marshall Fund
Brussels, Belgium

December 4, 2018

SECRETARY POMPEO: Thank you, Ian, for the kind introduction. Good morning to all of you; thank you for joining me here today. It’s wonderful to be in this beautiful place, to get a chance to make a set of remarks about the very work that you do, the issues that confront the Marshall Fund and confront our region as well.Before I start today with my formal remarks, it would be – I would be enormously remiss if I did not pay a well-deserved tribute to America’s 41st president, George Herbert Walker Bush. He was a – many of you know him. He was an unyielding champion of freedom around the world — first as a fighter pilot in World War II, later as a congressman. He was the ambassador to the United Nations, and then an envoy to China. He then had the same job I had as the director of the CIA – I did it longer than he did. He was then the vice president under Ronald Reagan.

I got to know him some myself. He was a wonderful brother, a father, a grandfather, and a proud American. Indeed, America is the only country he loved more than Texas. (Laughter.)

I actually think that he would be delighted for me to be here today at an institution named after a fellow lover of freedom, George Marshall. And he would have been thrilled to see all of you here, such a large crowd gathered who are dedicated to transatlantic bonds, so many decades after they were first forged.

The men who rebuilt Western civilization after World War II, like my predecessor Secretary Marshall, knew that only strong U.S. leadership, in concert with our friends and allies, could unite the sovereign nations all around the globe.

So we underwrote new institutions to rebuild Europe and Japan, to stabilize currencies, and to facilitate trade. We all co-founded NATO to guarantee security for ourselves and our allies. We entered into treaties to codify Western values of freedom and human rights.

Collectively, we convened multilateral organizations to promote peace and cooperation among states. And we worked hard – indeed, tirelessly – to preserve Western ideals because, as President Trump made clear in his Warsaw address, each of those are worth preserving.

This American leadership allowed us to enjoy the greatest human flourishing in modern history. We won the Cold War. We won the peace. With no small measure of George H. W. Bush’s effort, we reunited Germany. This is the type of leadership that President Trump is boldly reasserting.

After the Cold War ended, we allowed this liberal order to begin to corrode. It failed us in some places, and sometimes it failed you and the rest of the world. Multilateralism has too often become viewed as an end unto itself. The more treaties we sign, the safer we supposedly are. The more bureaucrats we have, the better the job gets done.

Was that ever really true? The central question that we face is that – is the question of whether the system as currently configured, as it exists today, and as the world exists today – does it work? Does it work for all the people of the world?

Today at the United Nations, peacekeeping missions drag on for decades, no closer to peace. The UN’s climate-related treaties are viewed by some nations as simply a vehicle to redistribute wealth. Anti-Israel bias has been institutionalized. Regional powers collude to vote the likes of Cuba and Venezuela onto the Human Rights Council. The UN was founded as an organization that welcomed peace-loving nations. I ask: Today, does it continue to serve its mission faithfully?

In the Western Hemisphere, has enough been done with the Organization of American States to promote its four pillars of democracy, human rights, security, and economic development in a region that includes the likes of Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua?

In Africa, does the African Union advance the mutual interest of its nation-state members?

For the business community, from which I came, consider this: The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund were chartered to help rebuild war-torn territories and promote private investment and growth. Today, these institutions often counsel countries who have mismanaged their economic affairs to impose austerity measures that inhibit growth and crowd out private sector actors.

Here in Brussels, the European Union and its predecessors have delivered a great deal of prosperity to the entire continent. Europe is America’s single largest trading partner, and we benefit enormously from your success. But Brexit – if nothing else – was a political wake-up call. Is the EU ensuring that the interests of countries and their citizens are placed before those of bureaucrats here in Brussels?

These are valid questions. This leads to my next point: Bad actors have exploited our lack of leadership for their own gain. This is the poisoned fruit of American retreat. President Trump is determined to reverse that.

China’s economic development did not lead to an embrace of democracy and regional stability; it led to more political repression and regional provocations. We welcomed China into the liberal order, but never policed its behavior.

China has routinely exploited loopholes in the World Trade Organization rules, imposed market restrictions, forced technology transfers, and stolen intellectual property. And it knows that world opinion is powerless to stop its Orwellian human rights violations.

Iran didn’t join the community of nations after the nuclear deal was inked; it spread its newfound riches to terrorists and to dictators.

Tehran holds multiple American hostages, and Bob Levinson has been missing there for 11 years. Iran has blatantly disregarded UN Security Council resolutions, lied to the International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors about its nuclear program, and evaded UN sanctions. Just this past week, Iran test fired a ballistic missile, in violation of UN Security Council Resolution 2231.

Earlier this year, Tehran used the U.S.-Iran Treaty of Amity to bring baseless claims against the United States before the International Court of Justice – most all of this malign activity during the JCPOA.

Russia. Russia hasn’t embraced Western values of freedom and international cooperation. Rather, it has suppressed opposition voices and invaded the sovereign nations of Georgia and of Ukraine.

Moscow has also deployed a military-grade nerve agent on foreign soil, right here in Europe, in violation of the Chemical Weapons Convention to which it is a party. And as I’ll detail later today, Russia has violated the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty for many years.

The list goes on. We have to account for the world order of today in order to chart the way forward. It is what America’s National Security Strategy deemed “principled realism.” I like to think of it as “common sense.”

Every nation – every nation – must honestly acknowledge its responsibilities to its citizens and ask if the current international order serves the good of its people as well as it could. And if not, we must ask how we can right it.

This is what President Trump is doing. He is returning the United States to its traditional, central leadership role in the world. He sees the world as it is, not as we wish it to be. He knows that nothing can replace the nation-state as the guarantor of democratic freedoms and national interests. He knows, as George H.W. Bush knew, that a safer world has consistently demanded American courage on the world stage. And when we – and when we all of us ignore our responsibilities to the institutions we’ve formed, others will abuse them.

Critics in places like Iran and China – who really are undermining the international order – are saying the Trump administration is the reason this system is breaking down. They claim America is acting unilaterally instead of multilaterally, as if every kind of multilateral action is by definition desirable. Even our European friends sometimes say we’re not acting in the world’s interest. This is just plain wrong.

Our mission is to reassert our sovereignty, reform the liberal international order, and we want our friends to help us and to exert their sovereignty as well. We aspire to make the international order serve our citizens – not to control them. America intends to lead – now and always.

Under President Trump, we are not abandoning international leadership or our friends in the international system. Indeed, quite the contrary. Just look, as one example, at the historic number of countries which have gotten on board our pressure campaign against North Korea. No other nation in the world could have rallied dozens of nations, from every corner of the world, to impose sanctions on the regime in Pyongyang.

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

When treaties are broken, the violators must be confronted, and the treaties must be fixed or discarded. Words should mean something.

Our administration is thus lawfully exiting or renegotiating outdated or harmful treaties, trade agreements, and other international arrangements that do not serve our sovereign interests, or the interests of our allies.

We announced our intent to withdraw from the Paris Agreement on climate change, absent better terms for the United States. The current pact would’ve siphoned money from American paychecks and enriched polluters like China.

In America, we’ve found a better solution – we think a better solution for the world. We’ve unleashed our energy companies to innovate and compete, and our carbon emissions have declined dramatically.

We changed course from the Iran deal, because of, among other things, Tehran’s violent and destabilizing activities, which undermined the spirit of the deal and put the safety of American people and our allies at risk. In its place, we are leading our allies to constrain Iran’s revolutionary ambitions and end Iran’s campaigns of global terrorism. And we needn’t a new bureaucracy to do it. We need to continue to develop a coalition which will achieve that outcome which will keep people in the Middle East, in Europe, and the entire world safe from the threat from Iran.

America renegotiated our treaty, NAFTA, to advance the interests of the American worker. President Trump proudly signed the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement at the G20 this past weekend in Buenos Aires, and on Friday will submit it to the Congress, a body accountable to the American people.

The new agreement also includes renegotiation provisions, because no trade agreement is permanently suited to all times.

We have encouraged our G20 partners to reform the WTO, and they took a good first step in Buenos Aires this last week.

I spoke earlier about the World Bank and the IMF. The Trump Administration is working to refocus these institutions on policies that promote economic prosperity, pushing to halt lending to nations that can already access global capital markets – countries like China – and pressing to reduce taxpayer handouts to development banks that are perfectly capable of raising private capital on their own.

We’re also taking leadership, real action to stop rogue international courts, like the International Criminal Court, from trampling on our sovereignty – your sovereignty – and all of our freedoms. The ICC’s Office of the Prosecutor is trying to open an investigation into U.S. personnel in connection with the war in Afghanistan. We will take all necessary steps to protect our people, those of our NATO allies who fight alongside of us inside of Afghanistan from unjust prosecution. Because we know that if it can happen to our people, it can happen to yours too. It is a worthy question: Does the court continue to serve its original intended purpose?

The first two years of the Trump administration demonstrate that President Trump is not undermining these institutions, nor is he abandoning American leadership. Quite the opposite. In the finest traditions of our great democracy, we are rallying the noble nations of the world to build a new liberal order that prevents war and achieves greater prosperity for all.

We’re supporting institutions that we believe can be improved; institutions that work in American interests – and yours – in service of our shared values.

For example, here in Belgium in 1973, banks from 15 countries formed SWIFT to develop common standards for cross-border payments, and it’s now an integral part of our global financial infrastructure.

SWIFT recently disconnected sanctioned Iranian banks from its platform because of the unacceptable risk they pose to a system – to the system as a whole. This is an excellent example of American leadership working alongside an international institution to act responsibly.

Another example: the Proliferation Security Initiative, formed by 11 nations under the Bush administration to stop trafficking in weapons of mass destruction. It has since grown organically to 105 countries and has undoubtedly made the world safer.

And I can’t forget, standing here, one of the most important international institutions of them all – which will continue to thrive with American leadership. My very first trip, within hours of having been sworn in as a secretary of state, I traveled here to visit with our NATO allies. I’ll repeat this morning what I said then – this is an indispensable institution. President Trump wants everyone to pay their fair share so we can deter our enemies and defend people – the people of our countries.

To that end, all NATO allies should work to strengthen what is already the greatest military alliance in all of history.

Never – never – has an alliance ever been so powerful or so peaceful, and our historic ties must continue.

To that end, I’m pleased to announce that I will host my foreign minister colleagues for a meeting in Washington next April, where we will mark NATO’s 70th anniversary.

As my remarks come to a close, I want to repeat what George Marshall told the UN General Assembly back near the time of its formation in 1948. He said, quote, “International organizations cannot take the place of national and personal effort or of local and individual imagination; international action cannot replace self-help.” End of quote.

Sometimes it’s not popular to buck the status quo, to call out that which we all see but sometimes refuse to speak about. But frankly, too much is at stake for all of us in this room today not to do so. This is the reality that President Trump so viscerally understands.

Just as George Marshall’s generation gave life to a new vision for a safe and free world, so we call on you to have the same kind of boldness. Our call is especially urgent – especially urgent in light of the threats we face from powerful countries and actors whose ambition is to reshape the international order in its own illiberal image.

Let’s work together. Let’s work together to preserve the free world so that it continues to serve the interests of the people to whom we each are accountable.

Let’s do so in a way that creates international organizations that are agile, that respect national sovereignty, that deliver on their stated missions, and that create value for the liberal order and for the world.

President Trump understands deeply that when America leads, peace and prosperity almost certainly follow.

He knows that if America and our allies here in Europe don’t lead, others will choose to do so.

America will, as it has always done, continue to work with our allies around the world towards the peaceful, liberal order each citizen of the world deserves.

Thank you for joining me here today. May the Good Lord bless each and every one of you. Thank you. (Applause.)


REMARKS: Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo






德国马歇尔基金(German Marshall Fund)


2018年 12月4日




今天,在开始正式讲话前,我首先向美国第41任总统乔治·赫伯特·沃克·布什(George Herbert Walker Bush)表达我的敬意,否则我会感到极为遗憾,因为他应该得到这样的尊崇。你们很多人都知道他。他是一名斗士,不屈不挠地捍卫全世界的自由。他最初在第二次世界大战(World War II)期间担任战斗机飞行员,然后成为国会议员。他曾任驻联合国(United Nations)大使,后出使中国。此后他与我一样担任中央情报局(CIA)局长。我的任职时间比他长一些。然后他成为罗纳德·里根(Ronald Reagan)的副总统。




我真诚地相信,我今天来到以热爱自由著称的同胞乔治·马歇尔(George Marshall)的名字命名的机构,他一定感到很高兴。他也会因为看到在座的诸位感到振奋,因为有这么多忠诚于跨大西洋联盟的人士在联盟缔结后数十年仍然在这里汇聚一堂。






我们共同创建了各种多边组织,促进国与国之间的和平与合作。我们积极努力,切实坚持不懈地维护西方的观念,因为正如特朗普总统(President Trump)在华沙(Warsaw)发表演讲时明确指出的,其中每一项都应该得到维护。


美国的领导作用使我们享有现代历史上人权最繁荣的时期。我们赢得了冷战(Cold War)的胜利。我们赢得了和平。在很大程度上由于乔治·H. W.布什进行的努力,我们使德国实现了统一。这正是特朗普总统大力弘扬的美国领导作用。








今天在联合国,维和使命数十年迟滞不前,并未更接近和平。联合国有关气候问题的条约被某些国家仅视为重新分配财富的工具。反以色列的偏见已经制度化。地区性大国联手将古巴和委内瑞拉等国选为人权理事会(Human Rights Council)成员。联合国创建之初是欢迎爱好和平的国家参加的组织。我不禁要问:如今联合国是否仍继续忠实地执行其既定的使命?


在西半球(Western Hemisphere),在包括古巴、委内瑞拉和尼加拉瓜等国在内的地区,美洲国家组织(Organization of American States)是否为促进民主、人权、安全和经济发展的4大支柱做出了充分的努力?


在非洲,非洲联盟(African Union)是否为各国家成员促进了共同利益?


在我曾经工作过的工商领域,请考虑这个问题:按照章程,世界银行(World Bank)和国际货币基金组织(International Monetary Fund)应帮助受战争破坏的领土进行重建,促进私人投资和增长。今天,这些机构往往告诫某些经济事务管理不善的国家采取妨碍增长和排挤民营业者的紧缩措施。


在布鲁塞尔,欧洲联盟(European Union)及其前身为整个大陆实现了高度繁荣。欧洲是美国最大的单一贸易伙伴。你们的成功使我们获益良多。但是,如果不谈其他的话,Brexit(英国退出欧盟)拉响了一个政治警报。欧盟能否保证各国及其公民的利益置于布鲁塞尔的官僚之上?






中国经常性地利用世界贸易组织(World Trade Organization)规则中的漏洞,给市场设限,强迫技术转让,盗窃知识产权。它知道,世界舆论无力阻止其奥威尔式(Orwellian)的践踏人权行径。



德黑兰(Tehran)关押着多名美国人质,其中鲍勃·莱文森(Bob Levinson)已经在伊朗失踪11年。伊朗公然藐视联合国安理会(UN Security Council)的决议,对国际原子能机构(International Atomic Energy Agency)调查其核项目的人员撒谎,逃避联合国制裁。就在上星期,伊朗试发了一枚弹道导弹,违反了联合国安理会第2231号决议(UN Security Council Resolution 2231)。


今年早些时候,德黑兰利用美国-伊朗友好条约(U.S.-Iran Treaty of Amity),在国际法院(International Court of Justice)对美国提出毫无根据的诉讼——这种恶意举动大部分发生在《联合全面行动计划》(JCPOA)期间。




莫斯科(Moscow)还在外国领土上,就在欧洲这里,使用军用级神经毒剂,违反它自身是其成员之一的《化学武器公约》(Chemical Weapons Convention)。我今天稍后还将详细谈到,俄罗斯已经多年违背《中程导弹条约》(Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty)。


例子还有很多。我们一定要认真对待今天的世界秩序才能明确前进路线。这是美国《国家安全战略》(National Security Strategy)所说的 “原则性现实主义”。我愿意将它视为“常理”。


每一个国家——每一个国家——都必须坦诚表明对自己公民的责任 ,并自问,当前的国际秩序是否能最好地服务于自己人民的利益。如果不能,我们必须问可以如何改正。

特朗普总统(President Trump)正是在这样做。他正在让美国回到自己在世界上的传统的、中心领导地位。他用实事求是而不是一厢情愿的方式看世界。他知道,没有任何东西可以取代民族国家作为民主化自由和国家利益的保障。他知道,正如乔治· H.W.布什知道的一样,一个更安全的世界始终要求美国在世界舞台上拿出勇气。当我们——当我们所有人忽视对我们所建立的机构的责任时,其他人就会滥用它们。













我们宣布了我们准备撤出关于气候变化的巴黎协议(Paris Agreement),如果没有对美国而言更好的条款。目前的协议将会从美国的腰包掏钱,富了像中国这样的污染国。






美国对我们的北美自由贸易协议(NAFTA)进行了重新谈判,以推进美国工人的利益。特朗普总统上周末在布宜诺斯艾利斯(Buenos Aires)的20国集团(G20)会议期间骄傲地签署了美国-墨西哥-加拿大协议(U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement),并将在星期五将其提交到国会这个对美国人民负责的机构。








我们还采取领导作用及切实行动来制止像国际刑事法院(International Criminal Court)这样的无赖国际法庭来践踏我们的主权——你们的主权——以及我们所有人的自由。国际刑事法院检察官办公室(Office of the Prosecutor)试图对与阿富汗战争有关的美国人员开始一项调查。我们将采取一切必要步骤保护我们的人员,以及在阿富汗国内与我们并肩作战的北约盟国人员不受不公正的起诉。因为我们知道,如果这可能发生在我们的人员身上,就也可能发生在你们身上。值得问一问的是:该法院是在继续服务于其原有的既定目标吗?










另外一个例子是在布什政府时期由11个国家发起的《防扩散安全倡议》(Proliferation Security Initiative),旨在制止大规模毁灭性武器的贩运。它随后有机地增加到105个国家,而且毫无疑问地使整个世界更加安全。










在我即将结束讲话之际,我想引用乔治·马歇尔早在1948年联合国大会(UN General Assembly)建立之初说过的话。他的原话是:“国际组织不能取代国家及个人努力,亦或地方及个人构想;国际行动不能取代自助。”