Should Mike Pompeo be confirmed?

Should Mike Pompeo be confirmed?
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As Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoLatest pro-democracy rally draws tens of thousands in Hong Kong 63 killed in blast at Afghan wedding as Taliban, US negotiate troop withdrawal Trump meets with national security team on Afghanistan peace plan MORE, director of the CIA, testifies before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on his confirmation to be President TrumpDonald John TrumpO'Rourke: Trump driving global, U.S. economy into recession Manchin: Trump has 'golden opportunity' on gun reforms Objections to Trump's new immigration rule wildly exaggerated MORE’s next secretary of State, some of his supporters will no doubt seek to justify his appointment by referring to his five years of service in the United States Army, including his participation in the first Gulf War, as well as his three terms in Congress and 14 months as CIA director, as reasons to confirm him, regardless of his policy positions.

They will no doubt try to paint those who oppose him as unpatriotic. Those who invoke Pompeo’s service to the country to justify his confirmation should remember how many of them treated former Sen. Chuck HagelCharles (Chuck) Timothy HagelOvernight Defense: US, Russia tensions grow over nuclear arms | Highlights from Esper's Asia trip | Trump strikes neutral tone on Hong Kong protests | General orders ethics review of special forces Five takeaways from Pentagon chief's first major trip Esper given horse in Mongolia as US looks for new inroads against China MORE (R-Neb.) when President Obama nominated him to succeed Leon Panetta as secretary of Defense in January 2013.

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While many men of his age — including Presidents Donald Trump and Bill ClintonWilliam (Bill) Jefferson ClintonThe magic of majority rule in elections The return of Ken Starr Assault weapons ban picks up steam in Congress MORE, and Vice Presidents Dick Cheney and Joe BidenJoe BidenPossible GOP challenger says Trump doesn't doesn't deserve reelection, but would vote for him over Democrat Joe Biden faces an uncertain path The Memo: Trump pushes back amid signs of economic slowdown MORE — avoided service in Vietnam by gaming the draft, Hagel volunteered to serve in Vietnam, where he received two Purple Hearts. Hagel also served with distinction for more than a decade in the Senate and as the deputy director of the Veterans Administration under President Reagan.

Thus, it was not surprising that two former chairmen of the Senate Armed Services Committee, one a Democrat and one a Republican, Sam Nunn (D-Ga.) and John Warner (R-Va.), introduced Hagel at the witness table at the hearing. Despite his distinguished service to the country, several Republican members of the Senate Armed Services Committee not only used the hearing to disparage Hagel personally, by distorting his record and taking many of his statements on national security issues out of context, but they attempted to filibuster the nomination.

During the hearing, his detractors essentially accused him of being anti-Israel because he did not believe that the United States should give unconditional support to every policy pursued by the government of Israel. They accused him of being pro-Iran because he supported negotiations with the internationally recognized government of Iran rather than overthrowing the regime with force. Hagel believed, as did President Ronald Reagan and former Secretaries of State George Shultz and Henry Kissinger, that the world should work toward the eventual elimination of nuclear weapons.

The Senate Republican critics of Hagel, only four of whom voted to confirm him, compounded the problem by not discussing the real challenges that he would face when he assumed the mantle of Pentagon leadership. For example, they neglected to bring up the impact of the Budget Control Act on the defense budget, the new defense strategy of rebalancing to Asia, or setting a deadline for the withdrawal of our troops from Afghanistan.

When questioning Pompeo, senators should applaud him for his service to the country and focus on his positions on four major challenges that are currently facing the Trump administration and the country. Those are North Korea’s nuclear program and the upcoming summit with President Kim Jong Un, the Iran nuclear deal which the president must certify or decertify by May, the threat posed by Russia to our allies and our way of life, and the role of the United States in the continuing wars in the Middle East. Rather than distorting or taking his record out of context, the senators should ask Pompeo whether he still stands by the positions he has publicly taken on these issues.

That is, whether the nuclear deal, brokered by the Obama administration and the four other permanent members of the U.N. Security Council and Germany, is an unconscionable arrangement that increases the risk to all Americans and that the Iranian regime is intent on destroying this country, whether he still supports regime change in North Korea or that the United States should not offer a single concession in the upcoming negotiations, whether he believes, as his CIA colleagues concluded, that the Russians meddled in our 2016 presidential election, that Iran is complying with the nuclear deal, and whether the United States should remain in Syria indefinitely and continue aiding the Saudis in Yemen.

Given the fact that President Trump has replaced H.R. McMaster with John Bolton as White House national security adviser, it is important that the next secretary of State not have views on these issues as extreme as Bolton. If Pompeo has not changed his mind on these issues, he should not be confirmed because the administration and the nation need a counterweight to Trump and Bolton. This is something on which both Republicans and Democrats should be able to agree.

Lawrence J. Korb is a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress. He is a former assistant secretary of the U.S. Department of Defense.