The Humiliation of John Kerry
The secretary of state was back in Washington on Thursday, begging the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to take it easy on the poor Iranians. Enough with the sanctions, he said. Secretary Kerry has joined decades of his predecessors, buying into the latest version of the 30-year old illusion that we can make a deal with the Tehran regime if only we deal properly and humbly with them. He said there was a "window of opportunity" for a couple of months. It doesn't much matter if he really believes this legend, or is following instructions from President Obama, who is still pursuing this unholy grail despite five years of swift kicks in his behind. The one he so loves to lead with. Either way, it's an embarrassment.
But then our new secretary of state has great flair for embarrassing us. In Obama's community of narcissists, Kerry is a bit different. He excels at self-humiliation, as he showed in his recent sortie to Moscow, where Czar Putin kept him waiting for many hours before sparing some time to "discuss" Syria and related topics, no doubt including Iran. As per the British Daily Mail, "Russian President Vladimir Putin kept Kerry waiting three hours before their meeting at the Kremlin on Tuesday and continuously fiddled with his pen as the top American diplomat spoke about the ongoing crisis in Syria."
I'm told that when Kerry landed in Russia, he was told a) that his hotel rooms weren't ready, and b) that a military parade made it impossible for the Americans to drive to the Kremlin anyway, so he'd just have to wait. Add two hours (check-in delay at the hotel) to the Mail version.
Many years ago, I traveled abroad on behalf of Henry Kissinger, by then a simple citizen, and I spoke with some important people. I was instructed never to wait more than twenty minutes, and on two occasions I informed the important person's assistant that I had waited fifteen minutes, and would have to leave in five more. Nothing personal, just a condition of my employment. Both times the important person appeared almost immediately. And I was not a cabinet member, I was a messenger boy of a famous--but former--high U.S. official. But the American secretary of state couldn't bear the thought of returning to Washington without even talking to Putin, and Kerry waited.
And Kerry waited some more. When the czar was in the proper mood, he received his American visitor. Kerry was full of good cheer. And why not? We share a common vision, don't we? 'The United States believes that we share some very significant common interests with respect to Syria -- stability in the region, not having extremists creating problems throughout the region and elsewhere.'
I'm not a big believer in stability as an American strategic objective, since change and turmoil are the constant themes of world history, and America is in any event a revolutionary country. For extras, the idea that we and the Russians have common interests regarding Syria flies in the face of our proclaimed objectives: Putin wants Assad to win and rule on, while Obama wants Assad to lose and go away. So I refuse to believe that Kerry went all the way to Moscow, and sat impatiently for hours and hours just to deliver that drivel. There had to be more to it than that. No doubt Iran came up. And maybe Putin told Kerry that sanctions were a very bad idea, what with the next Iranian electoral farce scheduled in a few weeks. That might "explain" Kerry's call to Congress to take it easy.
The good news is that Congress isn't buying it. New sanctions were being voted, and implemented, even as the secretary of state was lobbying for the mullahs.
The bad news is that Hezbollah's supreme leader, Hassan Nasrallah, announced that his terror organization would soon receive "game-changing" weapons from Assad.
A sure sign of stability, I suppose.
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