Mike Pompeo Confesses in a Book

By Atilio Borón on February 6, 2023

Reading Mike Pompeo’s memoir – Never Give an Inch – the former CIA Director and Secretary of State in the Trump Administration, I couldn’t help but draw a comparison with the figure and personality traits of another celebrated Italian-American: Al Capone. And not only because of a certain physical resemblance and the common Italian ancestry of both. The similarities between one and the other do not end there: there is also the bullying, thuggish style and an air of a life-saver. The book is limited to compiling a catalog of self-celebratory anecdotes that punctuate his public life as a U.S. government official, which have the virtue of reflecting and justifying, with pride, the crimes and outrages that, in the name of freedom and democracy, Washington perpetrates all over the world. That is the main interest aroused by this work, which also shows the crudeness and rudimentary nature of the reflections of who was a protagonist of the international scene, and the role of his country in the violation of what José Martí called “the balance of the world.” At times I felt that my body was being run through by a sudden shudder as it dawned on me that this character from the underbelly of world politics was one of the most influential men on the planet.

The book confirms the denunciations of the critics of imperialism: Washington’s systematic interventionism in third countries; its appeal to blackmail and violence to achieve its foreign policy objectives, its total lack of respect for international legality and Washington’s impunity in the face of its outrages. Iran, China and Russia appear as subjects of an unhealthy obsession in its pages; among Latin American countries, Cuba and Venezuela are the ones that by far get the most attention. And when he talks about other nations, Brazil or Colombia, the reference is to the sufferings of Venezuelan migration.

Throughout his pages, Pompeo – a former Army Captain like Jair Bolsonaro – gives free rein to an unbearable chauvinism: American society is infinitely superior to any other country in the world, which gives him the right to insult or disqualify the rest of the world. Not only Pompeo. Joe Biden is exactly the same: in Foreign Affairs magazine (March-April 2020) he described Vladimir Putin as the head of a gang of thieves and Xi Jinping as the “boss” of a huge concentration camp that subjected millions of Chinese to forced labor, that is the basis of Chinese competitiveness according to the nonsensical analysis of the current occupant of the White House.

Returning to the book, I will allow myself to reproduce some passages that illustrate the felonies committed during his administration in the government of Donald Trump and the very modest intellectual thickness of its author. Of Fidel, one of the great statesmen of world scope who filled the second half of the twentieth century with his presence and his professorship, Pompeo says that he was only “a failed baseball player!” It would be difficult to find a more crude and ignorant character than this little personage, whose stature, and that of his bosses, does not reach the heels of Fidel. Later on, he ratifies that “Cuba is important for U.S. national security. It is another foothold for U.S. adversaries and its regime is one of the cruelest in the world.” And on a possible military option to end the Cuban Revolution he warns, astutely, that “the failed Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961 is a reminder that all military action has the potential for failure.” Finally, he boasts that “we designate Cuba as a state sponsor of terrorism … (because) the Cuban regime has refused to return Joanne Chesimard, a fugitive on the FBI’s ‘most wanted terrorists’ list convicted of the 1973 murder of New Jersey State Trooper Werner Foerster.” Of course, his derisive condemnation of the “failure” of socialism in Cuba is a consequence of exclusively endogenous causes. There is no allusion in his book to the blockade and its devastating effects on the economy and daily life on the island.

Venezuela is another of Pompeo’s obsessions and the nonsense he says in his book demonstrates not only his criminal intention to harm the peoples of Cuba and Venezuela, but also the crudeness of his diagnoses. Thus he tells us that “at one point (April 30, 2019) it looked like Maduro was preparing to flee the country on a plane waiting to take him to Havana. I went on TV and urged him to get on. But the Russians had pounced on him. Our information indicated that they persuaded Maduro to stand his ground.” He had later said that “after vetting Guaidó, we decided we could run with him. In the months that followed, the U.S. mounted a pressure campaign on the Maduro regime in concert with our allies. We imposed sanctions on Venezuela’s state-owned oil company and confiscated diplomatic properties in Washington to hand over to the legitimate (Sic!) government headed by Guaidó. In January 2019, and again in January 2020, I spoke at the Organization of American States to rally support against Maduro. Historically the OAS was an anti-American and leftist (Sic!!!!) organization, but now under the excellent leadership of Secretary General Luis Almagro, OAS members backed our efforts.” And later he writes that “in the Trump administration we could not tolerate a nation just 1,400 miles from Florida rolling out the welcome mat for Russia, China, Iran, Cuba and the drug cartels in a 21st century violation of the Monroe Doctrine.” Ahead of the 2018 election … we believed we had a chance to help the Venezuelan people take back their country from a dictator and force him out. We hoped to make life so miserable for the regime of Maduro and his thugs, so that they would have to make a deal with the opposition. If Maduro wanted to live in a Swiss castle for the rest of his life, we were willing to let him, as long as Venezuela could return to normalcy. At various times, President Trump, John Bolton and I suggested the military option for Venezuela. None of us publicly wanted to take such an important means of pressure off the table.”

The list of blatant misdiagnoses and outbursts of all kinds contained in this book is endless, as much as its misunderstanding of today’s world and the challenges that beset the U.S. But in itself this work constitutes a very rich deposit to study the ignorance, brutality and arrogance of the U.S. ruling class, and its perverse immorality. It is true: Pompeo’s successors do not have the same manners as this hoodlum. Antony Blinken is more dapper as befits a gentleman who went through Harvard and Columbia, but politically his policies are no less brutal than those of his rude predecessor. Sure, Biden is no Trump, but he has continued his policies of tightening the blockade against Cuba in the midst of the pandemic and maintaining those measures almost unchanged to this day. Pompeo and Blinken are, in the end, the clumsy administrators of an empire that wants to confront its inexorable decline with violence.

Let us return to the comparison between Pompeo and Capone. Two phrases attributed to the gangster struck me as apt in describing U.S. foreign policy: “I have built my organization on fear.” Now American ideologues call it “soft power,” but it is another way of conceiving and administering fear. The sword of the military, is replaced by media vicariate and lawfare. The other, even more appropriate to define American diplomacy, Capone expressed it when he said that “you get further with a smile and a gun than with just a smile.” Smiling and friendly gunmen who visit us almost daily and who, as history teaches, do not hesitate for a second to pull the trigger to get rid of their adversaries. In short: read the book and verify, with Pompeo’s involuntary confessions, the infinite wickedness of the empire.

Source: Cubadebate, translation Resumen Latinoamericano – US