In search of team spirit


Mike Pompeo played basketball in his youth. His position was Power Forward, he told Friday. In Berlin, he presented himself as a team player: not one must make all the baskets. "You can have a star in the team," he said, but what matters is that the team is more than the sum of the individuals. He did not explicitly say whether he meant the American President and his Cabinet or America and the international community. Freedom and security in the world, the victory over communism and the "Islamic state", the threats of China and Russia fit both interpretations.

Helene Bubrowski

At many points in his speech at the KOrber Foundation, it sounded that he wanted Germany to be more involved – militarily but also politically. "If you do not lead, if America does not lead, who will be?" Pompeo said. "We must recognize that freedom is never guaranteed." The occasion of Pompeo's two-day trip to Germany – "I have not been here for two days in the last three years" – was the anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. This day is a reminder. After the collapse of communism, he was wrong. "We thought that free societies would flourish everywhere now." But the "specter of authoritarianism" has never disappeared, it is attacking again. "

He spoke of regimes with "vile ideologies" that undermined multilateral institutions and undermined the rule of law. The crucial question in the face of these challenges is: "Do we stand together in unity, do we stand together as friends, as friends?" In the afternoon, the Federal Chancellor in a joint press conference gave the answer: She assured "that Germany wants to play an active role" to contribute to the solution of international crises. She named Afghanistan, Syria, Libya and Ukraine.

Nato has to grow and develop

Of course, it was also about NATO. "I'm in favor," says Pompeo, before Nora Muller, head of the KOrber Foundation's capital office, was able to finish her question. Whether NATO was "brain dead", as the French president had said the previous day, or "obsolete," an expression of his own president, he commented with the words, "So many good answers, so many cameras." Then he added: The defensive alliance must "grow and develop" so that it is still valuable to the peoples and not "inefficient and superfluous". "Our promises that we have given each other will never be outdated and obsolete, but we have to face the challenges of today." That's what defense spending was all about. On the day he had explicitly praised the announcement by Secretary of Defense Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer that Germany will meet NATO's 2 percent target by 2031 at the latest.

Northern Syria is an example for Pompeo, in which international team spirit must prove itself. He called on Europeans to become more involved here. Every country must explain to its own people why stabilization is important. For Germany, he gave the answer: Because otherwise threaten a wave of refugees. He denied that the Americans had withdrawn from northern Syria. That's a misnomer. "We're doing a mission," he said. Many American men and women are still there, risking their lives. "We have provided the Kurds with extensive resources, more than others," he said. "We are proud that we were able to eliminate the Islamic caliphate."

The West has the task of protecting freedom. This responsibility comes from the "political and economic power with which we are blessed." "That was never easy and it will not be easy." For Germany, he made two special tasks. "We do not want Germany's energy security to depend on Russia," said Pompeo, referring to the Nord Stream 2 pipeline. Russia is marching on its neighbors and murdering dissidents. "The Communist Party uses tactics and methods to oppress its people, which are horribly known to the former East Germans."

The second task that Pompeo formulated for the Germans was dealing with Chinese telecom equipment suppliers. The US government has classified Huawei as a "threat to national security" and excluded it from building the 5G network. It is about who will build the net of the future, who will determine the rules for the next decades. He had nothing against the Chinese people, said Pompeo, but against the Communist Party. The Federal Intelligence Service had also warned Huawei. Washington hopes that Berlin will reconsider its course on this issue. Norbert ROttgen (CDU), the chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, who sat in the front row, will have Pompeo's words pleased. He sees the involvement Huawei very critical. However, the chancellor reaffirmed her line in the afternoon: There is no exclusion of a single provider.

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