Not as good as it could have been but not as bad either, particularly given the media impulse to genuflect before the Peace Prize. I’ve been writing about ElBaradei’s stoogery for Iran since our first few months in business but rarely does the press turn its attention squarely to the subject, a curious omission considering his opinion about the progress of their nuke program is the most influential on earth. If that opinion is being influenced by an agenda — and read this post from last July and this one from June and tell me it isn’t — it would seem to be relevant to the debate about when and whether a potentially cataclysmic war might be necessary, would it not?

Even some of his own staff members have become restive, questioning his leadership and what they see as his sympathy for the Iranians, according to diplomats here…

Dr. ElBaradei, who is 65, seems unfazed, even energized, by all the dissent. He alludes to a sense of destiny that has pressed him into the role of world peacemaker. He has called those who advocate war against Iran “crazies,” and in two long recent interviews described himself as a “secular pope” whose mission is to “make sure, frankly, that we do not end up killing each other.”

He added, “You meet someone in the street — and I do a lot — and someone will tell me, ‘You are doing God’s work,’ and that will keep me going for quite a while.”…

“Instead of being the head of a technical agency, whose job is to monitor these agreements, and come up with objective assessments, he has become a world policy maker, an advocate,” said Robert J. Einhorn, the State Department’s nonproliferation director from 1999 to 2001…

He has become a compulsive name-dropper, diplomats say. “He remains a shy man, but one who is somehow dazzled by his own destiny,” said one European nonproliferation official who knows him well. “He’s always saying, ‘Oh, I talked to Condi last week and she told me this,’ or ‘I was with Putin and he said this or that.’ He’s almost like a child.”

Slowly but surely he’s destroying his own credibility as an unbiased reporter of Iranian progress, which ironically will only make war more likely as western countries panic at the thought that he’s not telling them the truth and overreact. Here’s the Times’s account of a meeting between ElBaradei and representatives of the U.S., Britain, Germany, and France last month after the “pope” took it upon himself to negotiate a deal with Iran that no one asked him to negotiate.

The diplomats who marched into Dr. ElBaradei’s office the next day shredded the plan point by point.

They expressed dismay that the accord, negotiated with no diplomatic input, omitted any stipulation that Iran suspend enrichment. One envoy noted that the plan forces inspectors to ask questions on only one issue at a time, leaving the most delicate topics until the end.

There was general alarm that the document suggested treating Iran like a “routine” case, instead of a country that had lied repeatedly, and, according to some governments, harbors a secret nuclear-arms program.

Dr. ElBaradei’s response, paraphrased by a Western official, was that “all you are doing is being suspicious; the agency cannot judge Iranian intentions.”

The secular pope’s latest self-aggrandizing edict was issued just this afternoon: “We are not using a stick, we are not using a carrot, but we are trying to be impartial and objective… [If] in time of hype telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act … I will continue to be a revolutionary.” If the Times and Journal are looking for a little breather from analyzing Norman Hsu’s financial records, they might want to take a crack at ElBaradei’s. It’s hard to believe this sort of shilling is being paid for with ego dollars alone.

Meanwhile, how are those sanctions coming along? Not so good, not so good.