Mike Pompeo’s decision to air a remarkably dull speech from Jerusalem to the Republican National Convention stirred great controversy. But that controversy overshadowed what was a dismal failure of a Middle East trip for the Secretary of State. Indeed, it only served to highlight this administration’s inability to capitalize on good fortune, its thorough lack of capacity to lead, and its utter contempt for human rights.
Whether in Bahrain, Oman, or Sudan, Pompeo came up empty. Sudan was, in many ways, the most tragic and obscene, especially given the utter desperation of the leadership, especially the military part, of that country to curry favor with the United States. Pompeo revealed himself to be nothing more than a monster bully by trying to extort what to the US is a paltry sum of money from a desperately poor country struggling to find a more egalitarian society.
I examine the whole trip, with particular emphasis on Sudan, in my latest piece for Responsible Statecraft.