DBU’s Institute for Global Engagement and the World Affairs Council of DFW Host Mike Pompeo

Mike Pompeo

In partnership with the World Affairs Council of DFW, Dallas Baptist University hosted former Secretary of State and former Director of the CIA Mike Pompeo on January 26 for the Leadership Lecture Series sponsored by DBU's Institute for Global Engagement. It was an exciting opportunity to hear Pompeo share stories and insights about the challenges of serving under the Trump administration in two high-capacity leadership roles involving American foreign policy and intelligence. The conversation of the evening centered around Pompeo's new book Never Give an Inch: Fighting for the America I Love.

To start off the evening lecture held in DBU's Great Hall, Jonathan Fechner, Executive Director of the IGE, greeted guests to the DBU campus and introduced the program personalities. Dr. Adam C. Wright, DBU President, then added his own remarks and recognized special visitors before welcoming to the stage Mike Pompeo and the moderator for the evening, Liz Brailsford, President and CEO of the World Affairs Council of DFW.

During the stimulating discussion, Pompeo fielded questions about current affairs, beginning with the FBI's recent investigations of classified documents in the homes of current and former government leaders. He also talked about the challenges he faced both in his role as head of the CIA as well as the Secretary of State in the Trump Administration. In particular, Pompeo described the unique challenges that he faced especially running the State Department with well over 50,000 employees around the world.

Pompeo discussed how he sought to provide clear and direct information to President Trump and his administration whenever it was time to discuss a course of action, but once a decision was made, he felt it necessary to stand by the decision and never show an inch of daylight between him and whatever policy had been reached. In this way, Pompeo described a team-first mentality, one that helped to present a united front not only to the American people but also to the world at large.

Another major point of conversation brought up by Brailsford was about U.S. decision to pull American military completely out of Afghanistan, which was followed by the Taliban's takeover of Kabul in 2020 under President Biden. Although President Trump had pressed for this as a priority, and although American troops were sizably reduced under his administration, Pompeo urged restraint for complete withdrawal until satisfactory conditions in negotiations with Afghan leaders were met to secure future stability and peace in the country, a policy that Mr. Trump backed while in office.

Pompeo also opined that U.S. should indeed support Ukraine with weapon systems in its war against Russia even though he acknowledged different views regarding this policy within his own Republican party. In fact, he even stated that U.S. support is arriving later than it should have and that Russia is not likely to back down without more American and European aid.

Pompeo concluded his interview by sharing his personal concerns about the potential threats of ascending world powers Iran and China. He also expressed his particular investment in the cause of securing religious liberty around the globe.

"Religious freedom around the world matters," said Pompeo, who worked diligently to support efforts to help persecuted Christians and those of other faiths around the world. "It was another element of America as a force for good around the world."

Pompeo then answered a few questions from audience members, including how he achieved first in his class at West Point. Pompeo commented that he "worked his tail off every day. When you are focused on a mission, recognize that if you work at something hard enough, you may not be the best, but you can do better."

As a young lieutenant serving his first assignment in West Germany, Pompeo also described how he learned from his platoon sergeant the importance of listening to others.

"I was more educated than many in my platoon, but there was a lot of leadership coming from just listening, and every job that I have had since then, I've tried to make sure I take those around me seriously and listen to them," Pompeo stated. "If we would all do that a little more, listen just a little more, even if you do not happen to agree, listening is a good thing for us all to remind ourselves."

About Institute for Global Engagement

The Institute for Global Engagement is a Christian, non-sectarian think tank dedicated to addressing issues in the public square with biblical distinctiveness. The mission of the IGE is to be a moral and spiritual catalyst for renewal in our culture. Founded in 2015, the IGE values the biblical narrative, thoughtful consideration, and gracious civility.

Written by Dr. Michael Whiting

Dr. Michael Whiting is the Director of Written Content in University Communications at Dallas Baptist University.