It’s an open question whether Donald Trump will go down as the worst president in American history (James Buchanan and Andrew Johnson remain formidable contenders), but there’s no question that Mike Pompeo, his most fervid lapdog, is the worst secretary of state.

Iran PressAmerica: Through his two years and nine months as the nation’s top diplomat, Pompeo has said or done nothing that’s enhanced our security, our values, or even—right or wrong—his administration’s own policies, Fred Kaplan wrote in Slate.

His tenure is ending with crushing humiliation—a snub from our European allies, who are fed up with the trashing he and Trump had dealt them these past four years. On Jan. 4, Pompeo announced that he would travel to Europe and meet with leaders of the European Union. Two days later, in the wake of the Trump-incited riots on Capitol Hill, EU officials said they wouldn’t meet with him—tiny Luxembourg’s foreign minister publicly denounced Trump as a “criminal” and “political pyromaniac,” for good measure—so Pompeo canceled his last chance of a taxpayer-funded trip overseas.

It has been a long season of humiliations for Pompeo. In August, he pressured the UN Security Council to pass a ban on conventional arms sales to Iran. Only one of the council’s members, the Dominican Republic, joined the US in supporting the ban; Russia and China opposed it; the others—all US allies—abstained.

The episode typified, in extreme form, two of Pompeo’s most distinct traits—an obsession with fomenting regime change in Iran and an utter incompetence at making that or any other goal happen.

Like Trump, Pompeo ceaselessly inveighed against the Iran nuclear deal; it is no coincidence that Trump pulled out of the deal and reimposed sanctions against the Islamic Republic on May 8, 2018, just 12 days after Pompeo was sworn in as secretary. (His predecessor, Rex Tillerson, had advised Trump to stay in the deal.) Pompeo claimed, with swaggering confidence, that the sanctions would compel Tehran back to negotiate a “better” nuclear deal—or possibly force a collapse of the government. Fast forward to today: Iran survives. (President-elect Joe Biden wants to restart the nuclear deal, but Iran’s technological progress and the stiffening of its politics will make this harder to accomplish.)

This week, perhaps realizing that his “maximum pressure” campaign had been a total failure, Pompeo changed course and claimed, in a speech at the National Press Club, that Iran is the new “home base” of al-Qaida—the terrorist movement’s “operational headquarters”—and declared, “The time is now for America and all free nations to crush the Iran-al-Qaida axis.” US intelligence officials say there is no evidence whatever for this claim.

Pompeo’s other big bugaboo has been China, and he has called for regime change in Beijing as well—despite the clear preposterousness of the goal. Pompeo is simply wrong in claiming that the Chinese Communist Party is “totally separate from the Chinese people” or that it’s a “regime” imbued with “a Marxist-Leninist core”—or that the “challenge of resisting the CCP threat is in some ways much more difficult” than resisting the Soviet Union’s Communist empire during the Cold War.

In any case, there is nothing “Marxist-Leninist” about President Xi Jinping’s philosophy, which seeks expansion through mercantilist techniques, not ideological conformity. And while it’s important to contain China’s military aggression in the South China Sea (something the US military has been doing for some time), it’s a huge stretch to compare its scope or ambition to that of the Soviet Union, which once enjoyed a truly global presence. Pompeo misunderstands the nature of China’s challenge—and, as a result, comes up with half-baked notions of how to deal with it.


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Mike Pompeo Is the Worst Secretary of State Ever: NY. times