Do they, now? Many people also say that this version of the New York Times is the worst of all time — and we have a lot more evidence for that than the Times produces in this risible postulation. And that’s just in the past three months.
Mostly, the NYT reaches this conclusion because orange man bad:
But by rejecting the traditional role of predictable diplomacy and mirroring President Trump’s own style, Mr. Pompeo’s strategy backfired, according to foreign policy analysts and a large cohort in the State Department.
As he leaves office, Mr. Pompeo, 57, has been tagged by a number of officials and analysts with the dubious distinction of the worst secretary of state in American history. That will come back to haunt him as he considers running for president in 2024 or seeking another elected office, as he is widely believed to be doing.
“The glass is far more empty than it is full,” said Richard Fontaine, the president of the Center for a New American Security and a former diplomat who advised Senator John McCain’s presidential campaign as the Republican nominee in 2008.
Mr. Fontaine noted that Iran is now closer to building a nuclear bomb and that North Korea has more nuclear weapons than it did at the beginning of the Trump administration. Relations with key European leaders, the United Nations and other diplomatic and economic alliances are in worse shape. The United States has less standing to promote democracy and human rights in the world than it did four years ago, according to many career diplomats.
Ahem. Iran never stopped its nuclear-weapons program, as later developments made clear, nor did it stop its attempt at achieving regional domination. Those latter efforts got funded in part by the massive up-front asset transfer in Barack Obama’s Iran deal. The Trump administration’s “maximum pressure” campaign might not have forced an end to the nuclear-weapon development, but it did deprive Iran of financial resources for their proxy wars and terror campaigns.
The same is true of the North Korean weapons program. The NYT’s measuring stick must only reach back four years, because the Obama administration suffered the exact same failure over eight years and two secretaries of state. Despite the failure to engage Kim Jong-un in ending the nuclear program, Trump and Pompeo did manage to stop Kim’s nuclear-weapons testing, an achievement that somehow eluded Pompeo’s predecessors.
Speaking of which, let’s think back to the Obama-era predecessors. Barack Obama’s first Secretary of State was Hillary Clinton, who started off her term by offering the Russians the infamous “reset button,” and then spent four years without signing any significant agreements. However, she did manage to fumble embassy security in Benghazi, leading to the deaths of four Americans, after cheerleading the decapitation of Qaddafi government, which left us with a failed state run by warlords and terror networks in what used to be Libya.
What about Hillary’s successor? John Kerry is most well known for the aforementioned Iran deal, being part of Obama’s elusive “red line” in Syria, missing the rise of ISIS in Iraq, and then pontificating about the impossibility of normalizing relations between Israel and Arab nations without first giving the Palestinians everything they wanted. Remember this?
John Kerry with a 2016 Middle East take that aged like milk in a sauna. pic.twitter.com/2Vae6yDJFt
— Noam Blum (@neontaster) September 16, 2020
KERRY: There will be no separate peace between Israel and the Arab world. I want to make that very clear to all of you. I’ve heard several prominent politicians in Israel sometimes saying, “Well, the Arab world is in a different place now. We just have to reach out to them and we can work some things with the Arab world, and we’ll deal with the Palestinians.” No. No, no, and no. I can tell you that, reaffirmed even in the last week, as I have talked to leaders in the Arab community. There will be no advance and separate peace with the Arab world without the Palestinian process and Palestinian peace. Everybody needs to understand that. That is a hard reality.
In the past few months, Pompeo and Trump have proven Kerry wrong, and perhaps idiotically wrong. Kerry and Clinton never bothered to even try, and yet “the worst secretary of state” evahhhhh managed to do the impossible with five Arab states by doing precisely what Kerry insisted couldn’t be done at all.
I’m not going to argue that Mike Pompeo is the greatest secretary of state who ever lived. I’m not even going to argue that he’s been above par. It’s clear, however, that Pompeo is the best secretary of state in the past twelve years by far. Many people who review the record properly and whose lifespans didn’t start on January 20, 2017 will look at this and reach the same conclusion … at least about the historical status of the New York Times.
Update: Looks like the incoming Biden administration isn’t fooled:
Not a big surprise, but Blinken (Biden's pick for secretary of state) says the incoming administration welcomes and will build on the agreements between Israel and Bahrain, UAE, etc. ("Abraham Accords").
— Olivier Knox (@OKnox) January 19, 2021
What — they’re not going to follow Kerry’s advice and Hillary’s lack of action? What. A. Shock.