The finale of Mike Pompeo’s reign at the state department has been as controversial and clamorous as the rest of his 32-month tenure, but it is unclear what traces will remain after he has gone.
The last days of Pompeo have been played out in a blizzard of self-congratulatory tweets, at the rate of two dozen a day, as he seeks to write his own first draft of history.
The former Kansas congressman, with evident ambitions for a presidential run in 2024, has accented his claims of success by frequent derogatory references to the previous administration, portrayed as hapless appeasers.
Some of the tweets have been factually incorrect, for example blaming Barack Obama for an arms control treaty that was signed by Ronald Reagan.
Other claims are contradictory, like his insistence the US has restored deterrence against Iran, alongside his allegation that Tehran is a greater threat than ever. On Tuesday, he called Iran “the new Afghanistan”, alleging – without evidence – that it has become al-Qaida’s hub of operations.
While Iran’s economy has been successfully pummelled by sanctions, as Pompeo points out, its stockpile of low-enriched uranium is now more than 12 times greater than it was when Pompeo took up the job of US secretary of state in 2018.
“If the real economic duress US sanctions put on Tehran has increased or least failed to stop the very activities that policy was meant to reverse, it’s a matter of having made an impact without delivering a favourable outcome,” Naysan Rafati, senior Iran analyst at the International Crisis Group, said.
Similarly, Pompeo argues that Donald Trump’s summits with Kim Jong-un led to a lull in nuclear warhead and long-range missile testing. But he does not mention that Kim has declared an end to that moratorium, and is now set to have a substantially bigger arsenal than when he began meeting Trump.
The portrait Pompeo has painted of Trump’s America has been in dramatic contrast to recent events. Two days after Congress came under an unprecedented violent attack by a mob egged on by Trump, Pompeo blithely tweeted: “Being the greatest country on earth is not just about our incredible economy & our strong military; it’s about the values we project out into the world.”
Read more of Julian Borger’s analysis here: The last days of Pompeo: secretary of state lashes out as reign comes to an end