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Ex-Ambassadors/National Security Leaders Give Pompeo Low Marks, Deep Concern for China/Iran Conflict

Updated: Sep 27, 2019

(Washington, DC) September 24, 2019 — Former American ambassadors and senior national security officials expressed an overwhelming lack of confidence in U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s job performance as the nation’s top diplomat and serious concerns about the potential for a major global crisis to break out involving China and Iran.


These are some of the key findings of a new bipartisan survey of 50 former ambassadors and senior national security officials conducted by the Global Situation Room, Inc. (GSR), a crisis communications and public affairs firm. The poll highlighted a number of emerging concerns as President Donald Trump gathers with world leaders at the annual United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York City.

Despite winning high praise from the President, the vast majority of former national security leaders (86%) disapproved of Pompeo’s work at the State Department. Nearly all (92%) believe U.S. adversaries have grown “stronger and more influential” under the Trump Administration and 96% say the U.S. has lost “substantial international influence” in the last two and a half years.


“These survey results show the costs of our current approach to the security and the economic health of the U.S.,” said Kenneth Yalowitz, a career diplomat who served as Ambassador to Belarus and Georgia. “U.S. international influence continues to collapse. We’ve become more adept at breaking international agreements than finding diplomatic solutions to great problems of our time.”


Former American Ambassador to NATO and President of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, Ivo Daaldler added, “We don’t show up at meetings. We leave key embassies without ambassadors. We leave our allies and friends to their own devices and ignore the transgressions of our adversaries. That’s how influence — the ability to shape the world to serve our interests — is lost. Not just temporarily. But permanently.”


Nearly one third of the officials saw China as the most likely source of the next major global crisis, while 28.6 percent believe it would involve an incident with Iran. The national security leaders also worry Trump’s potential successors, Democratic presidential candidates, are spending far too little time on national security issues. The one upside of the survey for the Administration was a majority saw no change in the security of American embassies overseas.


The GSR survey is the first of its kind to capture the views of such a wide range of former ambassadors and senior national security officials. The majority of those surveyed were career officials who served under both Democratic and Republican presidents. Nearly 19% were pollical appointees in Republican administrations. The firm produces regular Situation Reports on diplomacy, world affairs, and emerging risks. Participants included: former Acting Under Secretary of State Ambassador Bruce Wharton, former U.S. Ambassador to New Zealand David Huebner; former U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria John Campbell, a fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations; and President George W. Bush’s Ambassador to the African Union, John Simon.


The Situation Report can be viewed here: www.thesituationreports.com.


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