Back to blog

Mike Pompeo’s evangelical zeal could complicate his new diplomatic life

See blog

Readers' comments

The Economist welcomes your views. Please stay on topic and be respectful of other readers. Review our comments policy.


But America is still a country of Christians and having one as a chief diplomat only shows what this country really is. I guess that he will learn in his new job where limits of his belief are. So I wouldn't expect too many complications.


It seems that hackers have prevented me from replying to Penrod 20/3/2017 in the normal position so I will reply here.
Penrod like all Jew haters assumes that if American policy converges with Israeli policy then they must have taken orders from the Jewish lobby. This of course is classic hate speech. Adolph Hitler and his henchmen also claimed that the Jews control the US. Its really quite ironical because the US hardly took in any Jewish refugees pleading to enter the US from Europe during World war II. (my wife's grandmother was one) - So much for Jews controlling the US!

Penrod also says that Israel's concern against Iran and nuclear arms development is faux hysteria. Like it's extremely silly that Israel should be concerned that Iran will develop this bomb which they will after this agreement. In the last 10 years Iran has been destabilizing the whole ME. It supplies arms to the Hamas and to its proxy army Hezbollah, those that have helped Assad to kill half a million of his own citizens because they wanted democracy. Because of their help Iran is now building army bases 40 kms from the Israel border and weapons factories close to the Lebanon border to supply Hezbollah in the Lebanon. Iran is involved in Iraq and Yemen too, destabilizing both countries and killing American soldiers . In the past Iran has publicly stated that it wants the annihilation of Israel by any means.

Penrod also believes that there should be symmetry between Israel and the whole Muslim world concerning nuclear weapons. As if he believes that there is symmetry between the Jewish state (population about the size of London) and the population of Arab/Iranian world. He believes it is unfair that Israel has them and the Muslims don't. Of course If Iran did obtain nuclear weapons the Sunni Arab world would also get them -they have even said so. And this is why the policy of Israel and the US coincide. It seems that Penrod believes that this is far fairer that the Muslims have the means to blow up the world in some Sunni Shiite holy war because Penrod believes in fair play - this is why he is a moral person.

On the other hand he will not accept that Israel has nuclear bombs only as a last resort as the ultimate deterrent. Why should he, like the Iranians he also believes that the Jewish state should be decimated.


I am no friend of militant Islam. Indeed, no friend of militant anything (including militant feminists, who seem to be inclined to hold the impression that men are bad by definition). The terrorist deeds - known and unequivocal - of the last few decades perpetrated by militant Muslims, are to be condemned firmly, clearly and uneqivocally. They murder in cold blood. Some practices of the faith (example is a head-to-toe black cover-all leaving only a slit for the eyes so that the wearer can see everyone else and no one can see "it") is the epitome of passive aggression, for which there can be no justification of in modern day society except on Mosque grounds.
That said, NOT ALL Muslims are terrorists. This is a statement of FACT no different from "NOT ALL Christians are KKK White Supremists".
The present concern, if Pompeo is what he is portrayed to be by news media, is that in his zealot Evangelism, he fails to see the above.
Surely, no one would want a replay of 1204, a year in history where the following was chronicled: "Niketas Choniates, one of the inhabitants of the city [Note: the city spoken of was Constantinople], condemned the Crusaders’ actions in understandably harsh terms: In truth, they were exposed as frauds. Seeking to avenge the Holy Spirit they raged openly against Christ and sinned by overturning the Cross with the cross they bore on their backs, not even shuddering to trample on it for the sake of a little gold or silver. To the Crusaders themselves, the capture of Constantinople seemed an astonishing turn of events. One wrote: ‘We might safely say that no history could ever relate marvels greater than these so far as the fortunes of war are concerned….This was done by the Lord and is a miracle above all miracles in our eye.'"
I have myself have never understood Christ to be an advocate of en masse slaughter of people for having different creeds and wearing a different color of skin. My own conviction is if your way is good, people will come to you. If your way is "Hi my name is 'Christian', let me kill you for that will save your soul", people will shun you.
I hope the world will not see a sequel to 1204. Truly, you can play the game of politics from dawn to dusk, but reality is not The Apprentice . And not all people are stupid.


Of course he praised Saudi Arabia, they have one of his towers and he doesn't want them to get mad at him and take it from him.


Is there grounds for Congress not approving an appointment for the radical views expressed by the appointee? As Mr Trump is surrounding himself with the likes, Pompeo, Pence and Sessions, I wonder whether middle 0f the road Republicans can stop the appointment on the grounds that foreign policy as a whole will become far too deviant from what has been practise in the recent past and therefore alienating the US from its traditional allies.


Since the end of World War II US policy towards Saudi Arabia was one of fawning appeasement. This was led by the Oil lobby and led to fabulous pay outs to oil executives and millions of dollars in donations to US institutions. The British too were not slow in fawning to the charms of oil wealth and Prince Charles was often seen hobnobbing with the Royals there as Chief Salesman to the arms and banking industries. This was when he was not writing to Congress warning them of the power of the Jewish lobby!
In this long period the Saudis were exporting the most vicious version of Wahhabi Islam to the whole Muslim world that inspired the creation of Al Khaida , the Taliban and ISIS.
Today as the Arab oil nations have lost their grip on the economy of the West it can be openly stated where this extremism has led . American politicians, no longer in awe (and fear) of the Oil lobby can now speak the truth - Islam as is practiced today is a disruptive and belligerent force and most certainly the enemy of Western values.

Swiss Reader

I'm no friend of evangelical or any other zealots; but that videoclip doesn't look quite so horrible to me. It's an undeniable fact that some terrorists are motivated by their faith; Mr. Pompeo states that fact and also mentions quite clearly that those are a minority within Islam.
On the other hand, it sounds a bit surprising to hear him advocate "Christianity" as the right response; the CIA so far is less famous for the Christian ethics of turning the other cheek, but rather for old-testamentarian smiting of the Lord's enemies.


A secular world has become a more peaceful and rational one.
Sadly,the USA is the one major developed country where religion plays a significant role in public life, and this of course is dangerous.Extreme evangelicals such as Pence and Pompeo are potentially more dangerous to world peace than the much hawked Trump v Kim spat.They are just playing politics.Unfortunately the evangelicals actually believe what they are saying.


Pompeo will take his orders from the Israel Lobby and Netanyahu which means he will likely advocate terminating the nuclear treaty with Iran and possibly promote further sanctions. As everyone knows, Israel has upwards of 200 nuclear warheads and coyly refuses to acknowledge their existence despite Arnon Milchan bragging about helping Israel obtain technology and equipment to build the bombs. Naturally Israel is too "special" to consider signing the NPT while the neocons, NYTimes, and the Chosenites hyperventilate and manufacture faux hysteria to protest against Iran which does not have nukes and has signed the NPT.
The usual sick kabuki we have witnessed for a decade or two as our once noble country slides into the cesspool of Israeli lies and hasbara.


For all his reputed hostility to Islam, even President Donald Trump last year praised the rulers of Saudi Arabia for hosting “the holiest places of one of the world’s great faiths”. He must have been hoping his evangelical supporters were not listening.
Or perhaps he was merely confident that they would, once again, give him a Mulligan. His evangelical supporters seem to have abandoned their entire spectrum of moral requirements for politicians, why not this one, too?


Islam didn't figure into American policy as evidenced by its alliances with Pakistan,
Indonesia, Turkey and several regressive Middle Eastern countries. But after 9/11 Islam
informs the thinking of conservative groups who have influence on
American policy. However, policy on Palestine ,particularly Jerusalem, is influenced
by Evangelists who believe in second coming of Christ preconditioned on West bank
including Jerusalem under Jewish control. Evangelists' votes are eagerly sought by
Republicans. There are reports that vice president, Mike Pence who is an evangelist,
impressed on president Trump to declare Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. In all fairness
Muslims are more hostile to Christians than vice versa. Pakistan will be under lot of
pressure and Egypt may be encouraged to hound Muslim Brotherhood more harshly.