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Friday, February 7, 2014

David Ignatius, "John Kerry, a Secretary on a Mission": Or a Secretary on a Magical Mystery Tour?

Vinny Gambini: I bought a suit. You seen it. Now it's covered in mud. This town doesn't have a one hour cleaner so I had to buy a new suit, except the only store you could buy a new suit in has got the flu. Got that? The whole store got the flu so I had to get this in a second hand store. So it's either wear the leather jacket, which I know you hate, or this. So, I wore this ridiculous thing for you.

Judge Chamberlain Haller: Are you on drugs?


- "My Cousin Vinny," 1992

No, I'm not suggesting that US Secretary of State is "on drugs," but I do agree with Jackson Diehl that Kerry is on a "Magical Mystery Tour." Back in November, WaPo's Deputy Editorial Page Editor wrote (see: http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/jackson-diehl-john-kerrys-middle-east-dream-world/2013/11/10/5b17d2d2-47cf-11e3-b6f8-3782ff6cb769_story.html) (my emphasis in red):

"Call it Kerry’s Magical Mystery Tour. On Nov. 3 in Cairo, he announced that 'the road map [to democracy in Egypt] is being carried out to the best of our perception,' after failing even to mention the politicized prosecution of deposed president Mohamed Morsi.

On Tuesday, Kerry offered the following explanation of why the Syrian peace conference he’s pushing will succeed: 'The Assad regime knows full well that the purpose of' the conference is 'the installation of a provisional government.'
And 'the Syrian government has accepted to come to Geneva.' It apparently follows that Assad will show up and placidly agree to hand over power. If not, Kerry ventured, 'the Russians and the Iranians . . . will make certain that the Syrian regime will live up to its obligation.'

Kerry’s optimism was far from exhausted. His next stop was devoted to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, both of whom had broken a vow of silence to say the negotiations Kerry persuaded them to begin in July had gone nowhere. Not to worry, said Kerry: 'I am convinced from my conversations' with them 'that this is not mission impossible; this can happen.'

All this was before his weekend trip to Geneva for what became a failed attempt to close a deal with Iran on its nuclear program. Kerry’s conclusion: 'I can tell you, without any reservations, we made significant progress.'"

Well, Egypt is certainly not headed for democracy - chaos, maybe; democracy, no way.

The Russians and Iranians are certainly not "making certain" that Assad will live up to his obligations - quite the contrary. Assad is not handing over power, and meanwhile he has handed over only "4.1 percent" (from where did this silly number come?) of his chemical weapons stockpile for destruction and is moving these stockpiles to Alawaite enclaves on the Mediterranean.

Israeli-Palestinian negotiations brokered by Kerry are headed nowhere, and Palestinian Authority President Abbas, currently in his tenth year of a four-year term, is rejecting any extension of the talks beyond the nine-month timeline due to end in April (see: http://www.jpost.com/Diplomacy-and-Politics/Abbas-rejects-extending-peace-talks-beyond-nine-month-timeline-338924).

A "deal" with Iran was reached, but the Obama administration is refusing to disclose its terms. Meanwhile, Iran is claiming that the "deal" does not require them to dismantle anything. Or in other words, Kerry signed a meaningless "agreement to agree," whose extension is also now being discussed (see: http://www.jpost.com/Iranian-Threat/Opinion-And-Analysis/Analysis-Will-Ashtons-time-extension-allow-Iran-to-build-a-nuclear-weapon-340371).

The "significance" of this agreement to agree with Iran? On Friday, as reported by The Jerusalem Post, "Iran's parliamentary speaker Ali Larijani referred to Israel as a 'cancer' in the region on Friday and accused it and the United States of trying to 'sterilize' the Arab Spring revolutions" (http://www.jpost.com/Middle-East/Top-Iranian-official-Israel-a-cancer-in-the-Middle-East-340756). In short, it would require the naivete of a three-year-old to believe that Iranian Supreme Leader Khamenei has any intention of halting his nuclear weapons development program.

So what does this tell us about the capabilities and, more to the point, rationality of John Kerry?

In his latest Washington Post opinion piece entitled "John Kerry, a secretary on a mission" (http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/david-ignatius-john-kerry-a-secretary-on-a-mission/2014/02/07/9b2935b8-8f6a-11e3-84e1-27626c5ef5fb_story.html?hpid=z3), Obama administration cheerleader David Ignatius tells of us his recent interview with Kerry. Concerning the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations being overseen by Kerry, Ignatius writes:

"Kerry is peeved about the political furor provoked by his statement last weekend in Munich about the possibility of future boycotts of Israel if the talks collapse. He says the statement was 'taken out of context' by critics who overlooked his career-long record of support for the Jewish state. He added pointedly: 'There are those who do not want a two-state solution, who don’t believe in it. There are those who don’t want to stop settling certain parts of the region.'"

Fascinating. Almost two-thirds of Israelis favor a two-state solution (see: http://www.timesofisrael.com/survey-most-israelis-palestinians-support-2-states/); however, as reported today by The Jerusalem Post (http://www.jpost.com/Diplomacy-and-Politics/70-percent-of-Israelis-dont-trust-US-on-security-says-poll-340678):

"Seventy percent of Israeli Jews do not believe the US can be relied upon to maintain key Israeli interests and security requirements in the American- brokered agreement being drafted with the Palestinians, a Geocartography Institute poll taken this week found.

When the pollsters asked respondents whether they trusted the US under President Barack Obama to maintain Israel’s interests in a deal, 23% said definitely no, 25% said no, 22% said not completely, 17% said yes, 8% said definitely yes and 5% had no opinion.

Asked whether they agreed with recent criticism of US Secretary of State John Kerry by top Israeli officials, 67% said yes and only 32% said no."

You heard it correctly: Seventy percent of Israelis don't trust Obama and Kerry, and believe me, those Israelis, who are still engaged in an existential struggle with their neighbors, are not stupid.

No, I don't agree with Israeli Defense Minister Ya'alon that Kerry is "messianic" and "obsessive."

Rather, I think that John (Assad is "my dear friend") Kerry is simply a jackass.

1 comment:

  1. An important article/blog.

    I would say that Kerry is infected by the "Yes we can" Obama contagion, regardless of persistent evidence to the contrary.

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