[Ed. – Praise but not without a few de rigueur towel snaps at the president.]
With fiery defenses of President Donald Trump’s order to kill Iranian Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani, Mike Pompeo has emerged as the most powerful secretary of state in decades, rivaling Henry Kissinger, James Baker and Condoleezza Rice for his unchallenged access to the Oval Office.
After the forced departures of national security adviser John Bolton, a notable hawk, and Defense Secretary James Mattis, a more cautious, pragmatic military adviser, Pompeo is the sole survivor of Trump’s original national security team. He is far more experienced than Robert O’Brien, who replaced Bolton, and Defense Secretary Mark Esper.
Unlike Esper, who pushed back against the president’s recent threat to bomb Iran’s cultural sites if Iran sought revenge for Soleimani’s death, Pompeo argued forcefully Tuesday that Trump had not suggested targeting Iran’s cultural sites. Destroying cultural sites is considered a war crime, forbidden by a 1954 agreement signed by the United States.