For those who decried Rex Tillerson’s 14-month tenure as secretary of state, who wanted a more aggressive advocate in foreign affairs and more of the empty slots at Foggy Bottom filled, be careful what you wish for. Because you now have Mike Pompeo.
The firing of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and his replacement by Mike Pompeo surprised no one in Washington as rumors to that effect have been circulating for more than six months. He is known for his hawkish positions on Iran and other issues, but perhaps more disturbing is Trump’s designation of Agency Deputy Director Gina Haspel as the new Director of the CIA to replace Pompeo.
Rampant anti-Russia, anti-Iran, and anti-North Korea hawk, Mike Pompeo is expected to be tough on key foreign policy issues. With him holding reins in State Department, the Iran nuclear deal has a slim chance to survive in its current form.
Last week, Rex Tillerson’s tour of Africa gave practical expression to what this “great power competition” looks like in the modern era. The top US diplomat seemed more interested engaging in schadenfreude and shadowing with regard to China and Russia, rather than in supposed “partnership” with African states.