Mar 13, 2019

Pompeo's petro-rallying cry

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

HOUSTON — Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told a room full of energy executives last night that the U.S. oil-and-gas boom is a vital diplomatic and commercial tool in support of the country's foreign policy goals.

Why it matters: As Reuters and others pointed out, the speech was notable in its enlistment of the industry as an ally to advance U.S. geopolitical goals. It casts the U.S. rise into a petro-superpower as a check on Iran, Russia and elsewhere. He also talked up efforts to help allies develop their own resources.

Speaking at the big CERAWeek by IHS Markit event, Pompeo said...

[UNSUPPORTED BLOCK TYPE: blockquote]

[UNSUPPORTED BLOCK TYPE: blockquote]

Our thought bubble: Pompeo's speech marks the Trump administration's dueling continuity and rupture with the Obama administration.

  • The idea of using U.S. LNG exports to weaken Russia's energy influence in Europe dates back to the Obama years.
  • The fracking-driven U.S. oil boom gave the Obama administration leeway to bring other countries on board with sanctions against Iran that helped lead to the Iran nuclear deal.

But for the Trump administration, that oil surge is a leverage point for a very different strategy of trying to isolate Iran with new sanctions now that the U.S. has walked away from the nuclear agreement.

  • "We'll continue with sanctions until Iran behaves in the way normal nations do, without threatening assassination campaigns in Europe, conducting terror campaigns throughout Syria and Iraq, without underwriting Hizballah," Pompeo said.

And the speech was also noteworthy for the absence of emphasis on climate change and the environment, in contrast to State's diplomatic push — especially with China — during the Obama years.

Go deeper:

  • Read the speech
  • Trump’s Secretary of State Wants Energy Companies to Help Spread U.S. Values (WSJ)

Go deeper

Bernie Sanders wins Nevada caucus

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders waves to supporters at a campaign rally on Friday in Las Vegas. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

Sen. Bernie Sanders is projected to handily win the Nevada Democratic primary caucus, according to the Associated Press, with 10% of precincts reporting.

Why it matters: Nevada is the first state with a diverse population to hold a nominating contest, highlighting candidates' abilities to connect with voters of color — particularly Latino voters.

South Korea and Italy see spikes in coronavirus cases

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

The novel coronavirus has spread to more nations, and the U.S. reports a doubling of its confirmed cases to 34 — while noting these are mostly due to repatriated citizens, emphasizing there's no "community spread" yet in the United States.

The big picture: COVID-19 has now killed at least 2,362 people and infected more than 77,000 others, mostly in mainland China. New countries to announce infections recently include Israel and Lebanon, while Iran reported its sixth death from the virus. South Korea's confirmed cases jumped from 204 Friday to 433 on Saturday and Italy's case count rose from 3 to 62 by Saturday.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 46 mins ago - Health

America's rundown roads add to farmers' struggles

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

American farmers are struggling to safely use the roads that cut through their fields; decades of neglect and lack of funding have made the routes dangerous.

The big picture: President Trump has long promised to invest billions in rural infrastructure, and his latest proposal would allocate $1 trillion for such projects. Rural America, where many of Trump's supporters live, would see a large chunk of that money.