It was 3 a.m. in India. While most people there were asleep, the American secretary of State, John F. Kerry, was up all night announcing yet another cease-fire in the Israel-Hamas war.
— Marie Harf (@marieharf) July 31, 2014
Kerry’s tirelessness came to nothing. Hamas violated the 72-hour ceasefire in less than two hours, and kidnapped an Israeli soldier to boot, as anyone who knows anything Hamas should have expected. Breaking cease-fires and kidnapping (and killing) Jews is what Hamas does. Kerry’s response: More words.
.@JohnKerry: Today’s attack was an outrageous violation of ceasefire negotiated over past several days, and of assurances given to UN & US
— Marie Harf (@marieharf) August 1, 2014
As any sentient being knows by now, trusting Hamas is a fool’s game. The terrorist organization is one of the world’s leading taqiyya practitioners. They lie in the service of their Islam.
Perhaps Secretary Kerry doesn’t watch Hamas TV. Hamas says nice things to him, and preaches genocide to its own faithful.
Before Secretary Kerry flew off to Israel uninvited, before he wound up in India, he could have achieved far more for Israel and for the peace of the world by staying put and saying just a few clear words. Charles Krauthammer picks up the story.
Kerry seems not to understand that the Arab League backed the Egyptian ceasefire-in-place, which would have left Hamas weak and isolated, to ensure that Hamas didn’t emerge from this war strengthened and enhanced.
Why didn’t Kerry just stay home and declare unequivocal U.S. support for the Egyptian/Arab League plan? Instead, he flies off to Paris and sends Jerusalem a package of victories for Hamas: lifting the blockade from Egypt, opening the border with Israel, showering millions in foreign cash to pay the salaries of the 43,000 (!) government workers that the near-insolvent Hamas cannot.
Forget about Israeli interests. Forget about Arab interests. The American interest is to endorse and solidify this emerging axis of moderate pro-American partners (Israel, Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and other Gulf states, and the Palestinian Authority) intent on seeing Islamist radicalism blunted and ultimately defanged.
Indeed, but as Krauthammer notes, Kerry doesn’t see it. His slavishly devoted staff, like Marie Harf in the tweenish tweet above, don’t see it. Does anyone in the State Department see it?
Some of their joy over cease-fires that fail to cease any actual fire springs from the “everyone gets a trophy” culture. They keep playing up “engagement” in this and that as if merely talking equals getting something done. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki keeps talking up “engagement” while Putin keeps waging war in Ukraine.
But John Kerry isn’t from that millennial culture. What explains his wretched handling of the current Israel-Hamas war? What explains his acting as Hamas’ lead advocate, and isolating the United States when he could achieve something good by isolating Hamas?
I guess what I’m asking is, are Kerry’s blunders the result of mere stupidity, or of malevolent intent? What is he really up to in all this sound and fury?
If Kerry gets what he seems to want — adoption of a cease-fire that Hamas and its patrons Turkey and Qatar want — Hamas is legitimized and definitely lives to fight another day. Hamas surely will fight another day, as it still does not accept Israel’s existence. Israel would lose the chance to do itself and the Arab League a favor by destroying Hamas once and for all. The US ends up distanced from Egypt, Jordan, the Saudis and the UAE, aligned with Qatar and Turkey, and…what else? What’s the gain here?
Can Kerry’s actions be explained, as Mona Charen asks, as another overture to Iran? Is that the cliff that Kerry is driving American foreign policy off?
While incredibly misguided, as least there is coherence and thought in that. It won’t work, of course. Iran will just see American indecision and weakness, and our allies will just see us as unreliable. But at least there is thinking.
The other possibilities are far worse. Either John Kerry is every inch the mediocrity he has always seemed — in which case, he is dangerously in over his head here — or he is acting in bad faith to achieve some goal that is destructive to the U.S., Israel and our Arab allies, and he knows it.