U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Berlin, May 2019
Fabrizio Bensch / Reuters

In a May 11 speech at the Claremont Institute in Beverly Hills, entitled “A Foreign Policy from the Founding,” U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo quoted John Quincy Adams to explain how Donald Trump’s foreign policy is grounded in a “realism” that eluded his predecessors, particularly George W. Bush and Barack Obama. Adams, then Secretary of State, wrote in 1821 that America “goes not abroad in search of monsters to destroy. She is the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all.”

According to Pompeo, Trump’s foreign policy is grounded in this prudent tradition of the United States’ founding generation, with an emphasis on “realism, restraint, and respect.” Trump, Pompeo said, “has no aspiration to use force to spread the American model.” Instead, he aims to lead by example. “The unsurpassed attractiveness of the American experiment is something I market every day,” Pompeo said, describing his role as America’

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  • BRETT MCGURK is Payne Distinguished Lecturer at Stanford University’s Freeman Spogli Institute. He served in senior foreign policy positions under Presidents Bush, Obama, and Trump, most recently as Special Presidential Envoy for the Campaign to Defeat ISIS.
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