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    Mike Pompeo speaks at a Senate Select Committee on Intelligence hearing on worldwide threats, Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2018, in Washington.

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    Just 12 hours after being confirmed as the 70th US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo began shuttling around the world to show that the State Department is back in business after a lull under Rex Tillerson. But what trajectory can we expect US diplomacy to take under the new chief who is a known advocate of bombing first, asking questions later?

    Sputnik spoke to Clodagh Harrington, a senior lecturer in politics at De Montfort University to find out.

    Sputnik: So, how do you expect Mike Pompeo to differ in his role as Secretary of State when compared to his recent predecessor, Rex Tillerson?

    Clodagh Harrington: They seem to be extremely different characters in terms of their world view, their experience etc. So I think he will be notably different. There was always a sense I think with Tillerson, that I think he wasn't quite comfortable in the job, maybe never really settled into it that fully and now he's gone. Also, Tillerson was clearly not a Trump ally in the way that Pompeo very much is. I think a change of style a change of priority, the fact that Trump and Pompeo seem to have a good personal report and a similar kind of worldview as well. Pompeo is very hawkish, I guess in his foreign policy outlook, which I think is quite appealing to Trump, this very simple rhetoric almost in some way.

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    The terrorists are bad, Guantanamo, is good, Iran deal is terrible, there's a sort of shopping list of positives and negatives and he would very much line up with Trump so I think he's very different to Tillerson.

    Sputnik: Do you expect to see Pompeo mend the State Department which, according to reports, under Tillerson, has been completely gutted, or do you think he'll keep things the way they are? Is this a man who has much respect for diplomacy?

    Clodagh Harrington: Yes, this is the sixty four thousand dollar question. It's difficult to tell, obviously in some ways having come from directorship of the CIA, which is the epitome of the ‘deep state' if you take that perspective, he must have some sort of insider understanding of the necessity to staff these entities. Whereas the past year or so, as you say, the State Department has been empty on many levels, from people leaving and position not being filled. So certainly if he wants to have a functioning state department, even if it's to be streamlined and toned down to an extent, there are key positions that he's going to have to fill and one would think that logically there's no getting away from that. But it certainly remains to be seen.

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    Sputnik: And, judging by the fact that no more than 12 hours after approval he's jetting off to Europe and the Middle East, what does that tell you the main issues on his agenda are?

    Clodagh Harrington:
    Well I would say, if you think of the Middle East destinations, which include Saudi Arabia and Israel, that's a very clear message that he's going to visit America's friends in the region. I would think that top of their list is going to be the Iran situation so that's probably one of their high agenda items because you have this May 12th deadline coming down the line in terms of whether the US will restore economic sanctions against Iran or not, and obviously that impact the Iran deal.

    So, everyone's very interested to see what America is going to do in terms of dealing with Iran from this point but I know Pompeo was hugely critical of the deal and he said some very inflammatory things along the lines of he'd rather see Iran's nuclear capacity being blown up rather than engaging in diplomacy. So, there's some serious conversations to be had on this trip.

    The views of the speaker do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.


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    Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), Mike Pompeo, Iran, United States
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