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Friday, April 4, 2014

John Kerry's "Reality Check": What Happens When a Narcissist in Search of a Legacy Is Appointed Secretary of State

In a New York Times article entitled "U.S. to Reassess Status of Talks on Middle East" (http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/05/world/middleeast/kerry-says-middle-east-talks-are-at-an-impasse.html?hp&_r=0), Michael R. Gordon and Mark Landler begin by observing (my emphasis in red):

"With Israel and the Palestinians falling into a familiar cycle of tit-for-tat retribution, and a peace agreement more elusive than ever, Secretary of State John Kerry conceded on Friday that this week had been a 'reality check' for the peace process.

But more than anything, it may be a reality check for Mr. Kerry himself. After eight months of diplomacy, more than a dozen trips to the region and endless late-night negotiating sessions with both sides, Mr. Kerry was forced to acknowledge that he may have hit a wall too high even for someone with his seemingly endless optimism and energy."

Similarly, in a Commentary contentions article entitled "Reality Check? Kerry's Is Long Overdue" (http://www.commentarymagazine.com/2014/04/04/reality-check-kerrys-is-long-overdue-middle-east-peace-process/), Jonathan Tobin writes (my emphasis in red):

"[I]f there is anyone involved with this mess that needs a reality check, it’s Kerry.

The secretary ignored the advice of wiser foreign-policy analysts who cautioned that there was no reason to believe there was a chance of forging a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians. He then plunged head first into the process convinced that he could succeed where all others had failed, all the while warning the Israelis that they would face violence and boycotts if they didn’t do as he asked. But while both Kerry and President Obama continued to praise PA leader Mahmoud Abbas as a peacemaker, it was he who always had his eye on the exit sign from the talks."

Or in a nutshell, a narcissistic Kerry, in search of a legacy, refused to read the writing on the wall.

The ironclad guiding principles of Palestinian Authority President Abbas are to be found in a declaration he made to Jackson Diehl in 2009 (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/05/28/AR2009052803614.html):

"'I will wait for Hamas to accept international commitments. I will wait for Israel to freeze settlements,' he said. 'Until then, in the West Bank we have a good reality . . . the people are living a normal life.'"

In fact, nothing has changed for Abbas over the past five years, and this logic, premised upon survival, still guides Abbas, who is in his tenth year of his four-year term as president of the Palestinian Authority.

Kerry believed that he could alter this reality. He was wrong, and now we have passed from would-be negotiations to the "blame game." Of course, America's secretary of state, who monkeyed with a tolerable status quo and made it much worse, cannot possibly share in the blame.



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