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Mike Pompeo, America's top spymaster who secretly met with Kim Jong Un, has now been confirmed as America's top diplomat.

Donald Trump's pick for Secretary of State faced some significant opposition from Democrats. The vote was 57-42.

The head of the CIA made it through just in time to head to a NATO summit in Brussels on Friday.

His agenda is already jam-packed, with key deadlines on the horizon in the next few weeks involving Russia, North Korea, Syria and Venezuela.

If that wasn't enough to deal with, he has a State Department reportedly beset with flagging morale that he will need to reinvigorate.

Great to have Secretary Pompeo confirmed. He will do an excellent job helping @POTUS lead our efforts to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula. (photos from previously confirmed Easter weekend trip) pic.twitter.com/o4RNDKVmah

— Sarah Sanders (@PressSec) April 26, 2018

Senators couldn't ignore the magnitude of the work ahead and the urgency of the issues.

Democrats running for re-election in Trump-heavy states wanted to avoid being viewed as obstacles in the process of picking such a critical position.

Mr Pompeo has some impressive credentials. He's a West Point and Harvard Law School graduate, a US Army veteran and a three-term member of Congress who first came to Washington in the Tea Party wave in 2010.

But he's also courted controversy.

Image:The former Kansas Republican Congressman grew close to President Trump while at the CIA

The hard-line hawk has been accused of associating himself with anti-Islamic extremists and has been criticised for appearing to endorse the notion that homosexuality is a "perversion."

The former Kansas Republican Congressman, who grew close to President Trump while at the CIA, takes over at the State Department as the United States faces a wide range of foreign policy challenges.

We are days away from the deadline for extending the Iran nuclear deal and potentially just weeks away from Mr Trump's historic talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Then there is the question of how the US will navigate the evolving relationship with its European allies and how to respond to Russia's aggression. When it comes to Vladimir Putin at least, Mr Pompeo has pushed for more punishments than the President.

But the two men are expected to enjoy a more collaborative relationship than Mr Trump had with Mr Pompeo's predecessor Rex Tillerson, who was often at odds with him.

Mr Tillerson opposed the President's decision to move the US Embassy to Jerusalem and to decertify the Iran deal.

Mr Pompeo will now have to advise Mr Trump on whether to extend waivers to sanctions suspended under the 2015 deal.

That would be a critical decision that could lead to the United States reneging on its commitments and withdrawing from the pact.

Away from the momentous policy challenges, there are staffing challenges.

Some inside the State department were said to have felt marginalised by Mr Tillerson – a former chief executive of Exxon Mobil – and his transactional approach.

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His successor will have plenty to do just filling posts. Eight out of nine senior staff positions are unfilled, as well as 60 ambassadorships and 10 of the 22 assistant secretary positions.

The man leading America's soft power strategy has already delivered some surprises with his clandestine trip to North Korea. There will likely be many more to come.

Original Article

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