Secretary of State John Kerry would do well to cut out the exasperated tone at the inevitable results from the administration’s policy miscues. The indignation merely confirms he has no idea what he is dong.
When after rubbing out the White House’s “red line” on Syria, capping three year’s passivity, Kerry decries Syrian obstruction at the Geneva peace talks, you wonder if he knows what sort of regime he has been dealing with for the last year. Likewise, he lashed out at the Russians — apparently unaware they’ve been facilitating Bashar al-Assad’s butchering for three years. The New York Times reports: “Secretary of State John Kerry on Monday sharpened the Obama administration’s mounting criticism of Russia’s role in the escalating violence in Syria, asserting that the Kremlin was undermining the prospects of a negotiated solution by “contributing so many more weapons” and political support to President Bashar al-Assad.” Did he just notice?
He still propounds empty declarations about Assad’s behavior. His conduct is “barbaric.” It must cease immediately! Or else. . . . well, Kerry will be forced to condemn Assad again. Don’t these tyrants want to join the “international community”? Uh, no.
The premise of the Obama-Kerry foreign policy is apparently that if rogue regimes would behave like Belgium, the Russians wouldn’t take advantage of us and despots weren’t despotic everything would go according to plan. But of course a foreign policy based on fantasy is bound to fail; and so it has.
Kerry arguably has spent more time on the least productive endeavor in the Middle East, trying to lure the Palestinians into accepting their own state in exchange for accepting the Jewish state. On how many trips did the PA say it would not accept the Jewish state or give up the right of return? Maybe Kerry thought that if only demonstrated how earnest he was, everything would work out. (He should have gotten his first clue when early in his tenure he pleaded with Mahmoud Abbas to keep the PA’s prime minister, only to see Salam Fayyad swiftly canned.)
Kerry has been misreading the Middle East for years, of course. It was he and his wife who early in the Obama administration went to butter up Assad and attempt to lure him away from the Iranian orbit. A flighty fashion editor might be hoodwinked by the Assad couple’s pseudo-sophistication but Kerry is supposed to be a worldly fellow, wise to the ways of the world. But in fact he was a rube in a long line of rubes thinking they could win over Assad and make him a key player in the “peace process” (which itself is a trap for the gullible).
It is, in part, Kerry and the president’s constant incredulity and frustration with reality that should disturb us. Once he rubbed out the red line and fell into Vladimir Putin’s arms, surely the president and his advisers knew they had the upper hand.
On Iran Kerry insists he is not naïve, one is of course obliged to ask: How would he know?