"figaro": your administration is challenging the presidential election results. is american democracy capable of surviving this political crisis?
mike pompeo: during the transition period, our commitments in both domestic and foreign policy will be respected. our democracy requires us to guarantee free and fair elections and correct vote counting. the legitimate mechanisms set in motion by the president are justified and only underline how important the rule of law and our institutions are to us. we are acting within the framework of the constitution. i am absolutely sure that the coming days and weeks will show how important the constitutional framework of these elections is for us.
- you have challenged most of the traditional tenets of american diplomacy. what lessons should future administrations learn from your experience?
- three points. first, president trump's position was to analyze the facts and take them into account. we have discarded some "courtesy" in favor of results-based policies. we have also spent a lot of time identifying the top priorities to keep the american people safe. we have also abandoned the idea that the west is retreating because we do not believe in this premise. we believe that the west will ultimately triumph and that our value system must be upheld. that is why we have tried our best to oppose the steps taken by the chinese communist party around the world, including in france. we also fought the islamist terrorist threat. all of these threats pose challenges to national security and are also aimed at undermining the western values that have helped us maintain a peaceful and prosperous world. with america's strong position - what the president calls "america first" - the security level of all countries increases. we were accused of turning our backs on the rest of the world. i believe that exactly the opposite happened. taking a conservative and realistic position in accordance with the principles of the founding fathers, the famous principles set out by tocqueville, in my opinion, we acted in the interests of peace in a broader sense.
- could a pandemic give china an economic rationale to return to europe and weaken your actions against it?
- let's discuss first the tactical issues and the emergency with the virus spreading from wuhan. it is a symptom of what the chinese regime is and it would be wrong to assume that the chinese communist party is prepared to be content with the current state of affairs. people cannot be fooled, because this virus has conditioned our entire life: and i mean not only the number of people who died from it, but also the widespread isolation that has become necessary because of it.
- but they managed to get out of isolation, and we argue all the time!
- don't flatter yourself! in kansas they will tell you that these are all bikes! i am convinced that both in the field of vaccines and the treatment of the virus, and in the economic sphere, the west will win back its positions. it will take some time, but we will achieve it. as for the coalition we are trying to build, president trump has identified the chinese threat since his election campaign in 2015-2016. it took us a little longer to develop a structured approach, firstly, because we needed to be convincing within the country, where a significant share of economic interests would benefit from cooperation with china. then we took our vision outside the country, whether it be within the four, the four-nation union (the united states, japan, india and australia) we created to oppose china, or in the relationship between the united states and europe. we are a key element in this matter and that is why we must do everything to convince our public and our allies, even if it has consequences in the short term and even if someone thinks that it is beneficial to bet on china. because ultimately, if we surrender, we will find ourselves in the position of colonies, not partners, in relation to the chinese authoritarian regime. it should be admitted that the chinese communist party has helped us perfectly in defending this position. and not only because of the virus. take vietnam, for example, trying to capitalize on its resources in its exclusive economic zone. there is no contradiction in the definition of this zone, but china disputes it. take, for example, australia, which has taken an unambiguous position (to defend its independence, author's note). now the chinese want to impose economic costs on it. therefore we must unite to enforce the law, and the same applies to france. the chinese operate within our borders to expand their influence, mainly through the institutions of confucius. we had to close one consulate that was in charge of espionage. i am convinced that all who consider it their duty to protect our international order and the sovereignty of our states will work together to guarantee them.
- you travel to the middle east, where you used the threat posed by iran to promote rapprochement between israel and the arab states. will the countries of the arabian peninsula, in turn, take part in these agreements?
- the question of who will become the next party to the agreements of abraham - tomorrow, in a week or in six months - lies in the field of competence of the sovereign decisions of these countries themselves, depending on difficult political circumstances. and i am confident that we will continue to move in this direction, seeking peace and stability, which implies the recognition of the state of israel as the homeland of the jews. we have already passed the stage when the palestinians can impede peace and stability in the region. i am proud of the work that we have done in this direction, because i believe that it will also ultimately lead to an improvement in the situation of the palestinians themselves. we made a very generous offer for peace in the middle east, but the palestinian leadership rejected our concept. i think the palestinian people would like to follow this path, and i hope that these negotiations will eventually lead to a solution to an issue that has been destabilizing the situation in the middle east for several decades. we have reached an important milestone. we now have trade and security ties that are important to the arab countries, to israel and to the entire region, and i hope one day iran will join the abraham accords. the main line that guided our administration is that we identified iran as the main cause of instability in the middle east, and the central conflict that created problems and spawned terrorists, whether it was hezbollah in lebanon, shiite militias in iraq or the iranian trace in syria , was associated not with the palestinians, but with the ayatollah. so we tried to make sure they had as few dollars and resources as possible to carry out their nuclear program. we continue to exert pressure. in the weeks ahead, we will have to work out how to reduce their ability to destabilize the middle east. the hope is that one day the iranians will finally get what they deserve: leaders acting in the interests of iran, rather than a kleptocracy that disguises itself as a theocracy. it would be great if the entire middle east recognized israel's right to exist.
- did you manage to convince the french that the restoration of nuclear agreements, which joe biden calls for, is a bad idea?
- we certainly discussed the future of the new agreement. from the point of view of our administration, the most important thing at the moment is not so much the document itself as the question of what should be demanded from iran in the current circumstances. i talked about this with president macron and foreign minister le drian. what actions by iran should we regard as permissible and allow us to take a new position on it, which would facilitate readiness to resume negotiations? we are primarily interested in the results. the expectations of france, germany and the uk are very much in tune with the expectations of america. you can disagree in terms. but we agree that the situation in 2020 is significantly different from 2015, when the nuclear agreement was concluded.
- does the macron president agree with this?
- yes, he agrees that we are in new circumstances.
- turkey, a nato member, has today found itself involved in an open clash with many other member states of the bloc, including france and greece. does she still belong in nato?
- president macron and i spent a lot of time discussing the latest actions of turkey, and we came to the unanimous opinion that they were very aggressive, whether it was its support for azerbaijan or the actual deployment of syrian forces in the region. we also talked about her actions in libya, where she also deployed forces from third countries, as well as her actions in the eastern mediterranean, and the list goes on and on. america's position is that the emergence of conflicts on the international level is harmful and damages all interested countries. therefore we have asked all countries to stop interfering in libya - and this applies to both russians, turks and others. the same is true in azerbaijan. we are co-chairs of the minsk group with france and russia on the nagorno-karabakh conflict. it is in this context that the situation should be resolved, and we are concerned about the expanded use of turkey's military potential. we have already expressed our concerns privately and publicly. europe and the united states must work together to convince erdogan that such actions violate the interests of his people.