Pompeo on What Trump Wants

Mr. Pompeo also sees room for limited cooperation with Russia even as the U.S. confronts its revisionism. “There are many things about which we disagree. Our value sets are incredibly different, but there are also pockets where we find overlap,” he says. “That’s the challenge for a secretary of state—to identify those places where you can work together, while protecting America against the worst pieces of those governments’ activities.”

.. As he prepared for the job, “I spoke to every living former secretary of state,” Mr. Pompeo says. “They gave me two or three big ideas about things you needed to do to successfully deliver on American foreign policy. Not one of them got out of their top two without saying that a deep understanding and good relationship with the commander in chief—with the person whose foreign policy you’re implementing—is absolutely central.”

.. And the president’s agenda, as Mr. Pompeo communicates it, is one of extraordinary ambition: to rewrite the rules of world order in America’s favor while working out stable relationships with geopolitical rivals.

.. Among other obstacles, the Trump agenda creates the risk of a global coalition forming against American demands. American efforts to negotiate more favorable trading arrangements could lead China, Europe and Japan to work jointly against the U.S. That danger is exacerbated by Mr. Trump’s penchant for dramatic gestures and his volatile personal style.

Yet the U.S. remains, by far, the world’s most powerful nation, and many countries will be looking for ways to accommodate the administration at least partially.

.. Mr. Pompeo believes that Mr. Trump’s instincts, preferences, and beliefs constitute a coherent worldview. The secretary’s aim is to undertake consistent policy initiatives based on that worldview.