Pompeo swaggers his way to failure

Mr Mike Pompeo was supposed to rescue the US State Department from its disastrous start in the Trump presidency. When he first turned up at Foggy Bottom on May 1, he promised to staff up a badly depleted bureaucracy, listen to its views and reinvigorate US diplomacy after a year of dysfunction. State, he said, would get "back our swagger".

Now, after a month that has seen the Secretary of State offer smiles and excuses to Saudi Arabia's murderous Mohammed bin Salman, trash Congress for "caterwauling" and inspire a rare revolt by Senate Republicans, it's time to offer a verdict: Mr Pompeo has managed to worsen the State Department's already abysmal standing with every significant constituency.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 11, 2018, with the headline 'Pompeo swaggers his way to failure'. Print Edition | Subscribe