Sunday, February 16, 2014

John Kerry, Phony or Fool?

For the past few weeks, I had in mind to write about the lack of self awareness of Secretary of State John F. Kerry. But as I started writing this today, I realized that many of the criticisms I have about Kerry can be blamed on the lack of direction his boss has portrayed in foreign policy. Clearly, Kerry is over his head as Secretary of State. He either doesn't understand the nuances of diplomacy, or he simply doesn't care. His charge, as SoS, is to clearly elucidate the foreign policy of the President. But there have been numerous examples of communication failure that I can't help but wonder if Obama didn't name him Secretary of State as punishment for some nefarious deed.

The first example was when he and Obama openly contradicted themselves regarding Syrian deployment of biological weapons. That took a strange twist when they couldn't find agreement as to what happened and how to deal with it. Kerry came out immediately accusing Basher Assad of gassing his own people, only to be contradicted a couple of days later by Obama. Kerry was far more threatening in his remarks and certainly more assured of the events. But Obama, as he did in Benghazi, softened his stance. All of this led to America's acquiesce to Vladimir Putin - at a great embarrassment to this country.

But the foreign policy issue I most am troubled by is how Kerry (and Obama) treat the state of Israel. Oh, Kerry talks a good game. He sounds almost believable when he recites the talking point about how America will always come to Israel's defense. But no one - whether in America or Israel - believes him. And why should they? In his almost 6 years in office, President Obama has gone out of his way to punish Israel for horrible deed of having Benjamin Netanyahu as her Prime Minister. In keeping with his policy of turning enemies into friends and friends into enemies. it seems Obama has saved his best rebuke to the only democracy in the Middle East. At first, it was Vice President Joe Biden who feigned anger over the audacity of the Israeli government to build apartments in the Jewish section of Jerusalem. The area where the buildings were to be built was not an area under any dispute, and in fact was in a section that even the UN recognized as not part of any "occupation."

But Biden (and by extension, Obama) decided t use this excuse to try and knock Bibi down a notch. However, this calculation failed and eventually led to Netanyahu's famous rebuke of Obama. After this, Biden was stowed away and didn't deal with the Middle East again. Next was Hillary Clinton's turn. However, many Israelis have long memories and remember Hillary's embrace of Suha Arafat. It was said of Hillary when she ran (and eventually won the NY Senate election) that there wasn't enough room on her head for all the faces she has. However, she did get her own digs into Bibi, when she called the Prime Minister personally and berated him for his insolence. That's what is so amazing about this relationship. For some reason, the American leaders treat Israel like they are their child - punishing, berating and even (metaphorically) spanking publicly for any perceived notion that Israel may be an independent nation. The left likes to use the excuse that Israel receives $3 billion in aid (the actual truth is that Israel receives that amount in loan guarantees, not cash). But so does Egypt and Jordan. Yet they are not treated with such disdain.

So now comes big, bad John F. Kerry. Of course, there was a reason he couldn't even beat a very beatable George W. Bush in the 2004 election. Kerry may well be the one person who thinks higher of himself than Obama thinks of himself. Kerry has and always will be a big phony. His accomplishments were always at the expense of someone else's efforts. And for all of you who like to question the intelligence of former President Bush (43), Kerry's GPA at Harvard was lower than Bush's grades at Yale. But Democrats are more interested in appearance and less in substance (that's how they can vote in Obama twice). Kerry looks the part of statesman. That's also why Joe Biden is Vice President. He was chosen because of his supposed strength in foreign affairs. However, no one looked at his foreign policy choices were. Low information voters don't need specifics, just optics. Call it the American Idolization of American politics.

Because Kerry looked the part, the left gave him respect and honor. Of course, when you scratch the surface with Kerry, there isn't a lot there. Certainly nothing overwhelmingly positive. And yet the left nominated him for President. Regardless, Israelis are no longer fooled by lofty rhetoric, which has always been modus operandi of liberal politicians. When Obama criticized Netanyahu, Israelis took notice and - unlike when Bill Clinton rebuked Bibi in 1997 - they stood by their Prime Minister. Bibi's popularity is at an all-time high, while Obama's - and by extension, Kerry's - is at an all-time low.

For the past few months, Kerry has been focusing all of his time on solving the Israel-Palestinian situation. But as anyone with half a brain (and some intellectual honesty) can attest, there isn't a viable solution at this point. Obama and Kerry keep moving the goalposts while blaming Israel for not doing enough. But of course, nothing has been demanded of the Palestinians. On the contrary, due to the feckless incompetence of the American leadership, the Palestinians know they don't have to do anything and eventually the American leadership will force it upon the Israelis. Kerry himself has caused more consternation in Israel than Abbas ever could. And he didn't do anything on purpose. It wasn't anything that was planned.

No, it was just the fallout from the incompetent leadership of Obama and Kerry. Kerry didn't really mean to threaten Israel with a new intifada. But as the top diplomat in the Obama administration, he should understand what his words mean to those who hear them. It was sheer stupidity, but something we are all coming to expect from this administration. Never before have I seen so many "corrections" made by the press secretary to "explain" what the President "meant." Liberals love to talk about Obama as the "smartest person in the room." Well, if he's so intelligent, why does he need his press secretary to come out and explain what he meant?

And this goes for John Kerry, as well. Optically, Kerry looks the part. He has the "experience" and is a "statesman." But is he really? And certainly, who says so? So far, I have not seen anything that proves to me that Kerry is anything but a fool and a charlatan. And this goes for his boss, too.

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