Guest Commentary

Mike Pompeo’s leadership is helping keep Kansas open for business

Full Interview: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo talks trade, Trump and Kansas

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo addressed the crisis in Venezuela, the trade wars with China, his relationship with President Donald Trump and his love for Kansas in a 20-minute interview with McClatchy’s Bryan Lowry and Lindsay Wise.
Up Next
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo addressed the crisis in Venezuela, the trade wars with China, his relationship with President Donald Trump and his love for Kansas in a 20-minute interview with McClatchy’s Bryan Lowry and Lindsay Wise.

With unprecedented scrutiny emerging regarding America’s engagement with the outside world and growing frustration with the inefficiencies of the global economy, it’s worth remembering how connected Kansas is to the world.

For decades, international trade has been a big winner for Kansas and the United States. While there’s always room for healthy debate regarding whether the playing field is level — it is important to remember how this global economy was built: America’s longstanding commitment to fostering the security and stability necessary for other economies to develop into new, healthy markets, ready to buy American products and invest in the U.S.

Time and again, America has seen the value of taking this holistic approach to the international economy — combining the diplomatic efforts of the U.S. State Department, civilian-led aid and development programs from USAID with the full backing and support of American military force.

This approach works for Kansas too. Just consider one of our signature industries, aerospace. Today, more than 300 suppliers operate in our state, many of which come from other countries. Investing in the world delivers big returns for Kansas businesses big and small in all industries. I know because I’ve spent 25 years helping our small and medium businesses access them.

Without the development work put in decades ago, this simply wouldn’t be possible. And the world is once again looking to America to lead. Thankfully, for the United States and Kansas, there’s a Kansan at the helm: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

With an increasingly emboldened China looking to use its development capabilities to bind emerging markets to its economic world view, we are lucky to have a secretary who knows the risks and isn’t afraid to back down from a fight and to ensure we are prepared to provide alternatives.

We need to ensure America continues its historic and bipartisan commitment to fostering security and development in other countries. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and our congressional leaders should be applauded for stopping proposed cuts to America’s foreign assistance programs when our engagement on the world stage is needed more than ever.

When I talk with businesses, the first thing they look for is stability in global markets. America’s foreign affairs budget, by combining internationalization with strong international trade agreements fosters that stability and creates real opportunity for America’s innovators.

Unless we maintain our commitment to fostering stability, we risk freezing U.S. businesses and U.S. interests out of the emerging world. When we pivot between funding or not funding the programs that make this possible, we set the stage for the instability and insecurity that further spurs the kinds of chaos we see in the news. That’s not good for Kansas businesses or Kansans.

As a Kansan who knows how important America’s access to the global economy is, and how much that turns on our ability to maintain relationships with allies and foster growth and stability in developing nations — I applaud Secretary Pompeo for his intervention on this critical issue.

Thanks to his leadership, our diplomats and development professionals can remain focused on their important goal: promoting stability and prosperity around the globe, so Kansans and Kansas businesses benefit here at home. And that’s something worth committing to.

Karyn Page is president and CEO of Kansas Global, a trade advisory firm.
  Comments