Secretary of State Mike Pompeo arrives in Bratislava, Slovakia, on Tuesday, during his tour across Central Europe.
(Vladimir Simicek/AFP) Secretary of State Mike Pompeo arrived in Bratislava on Tuesday, the second stop on his Central European tour.
“While it is definitely a positive development that there is renewed U.S. interest and engagement — in that sense the administration is correct that you have to show up first to achieve anything — it comes at a time when there are mixed messages what that engagement exactly means,” Zselyke Csaky, research director for Europe and Eurasia at Freedom House, told WorldViews.
Pompeo’s approach to the region — putting strategic interests and great power politics ahead of human rights concerns to beat back Russia and China from Central Europe — was the cornerstone of Assistant Secretary for Europe and Eurasia Wess Mitchell’s tenure.
There’s also the reality that, for the past year, what some have perceived of the Trump administration’s subjugation of human rights concerns to strategic interests hasn’t actually gotten Central Europeans, and particularly not Hungarians, to change course.
The secretary of state has met with civil society groups on this trip, and, as human rights activists noted, he has announced that the United States would strengthen support for independent journalism, which has been under attack in both Hungary and Slovakia, where journalist Jan Kuciak was killed, apparently for uncovering corruption, a year ago this month.
“We can only welcome the State Department’s announced increase in support for independent journalism and independent media in Hungary and across Central Europe.
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