The I.N.F. treaty is “a critical issue right now,” said Brig. Gen. Arild Heiestad of Norway, a deputy military representative to NATO. “The U.S. should continue to stand by the treaty provided the other side does the same — but we know they aren’t, so it’s a complicated issue.”
Mr. Lesser said that Mr. Pompeo’s counterparts “will try to understand the timing and the implications of the withdrawal from the I.N.F., if indeed that’s what happens. But for now I heard no signal suggesting that America is prepared to withdraw from the nuclear treaty, unless of course something happens on the Russian side, but I don’t think that’s very likely.”
Mr. Pompeo said there were some international institutions that “work in American interests and yours in service of our shared values.” But he listed only three such bodies: NATO, the Proliferation Security Initiative, and the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, a bank messaging service that is widely known as Swift.
John Bolton, the national security adviser, threatened to penalize Swift, which gives financial institutions a secure way to wire money around the world, if it did not remove Iran’s banks, including its central bank, from the system.
Despite opposition from the European Union, Swift acceded to American demands and thus passed muster with Mr. Pompeo.
“This is an excellent example of an international institution acting responsibly,” Mr. Pompeo said.
Although NATO also received praise from Mr. Pompeo, he repeated Mr. Trump’s frequent complaint that the other 27 nations in the alliance need to spend more on defense. He then announced that he would host other foreign ministers for a meeting in Washington in April to celebrate the alliance’s 70th anniversary.
It would be the first time that a major NATO birthday was celebrated without heads of state. Mr. Trump is such a problematic presence for his European counterparts that they refused to participate in the event with him.