US President Barack Obama’s potential cabinet appointment of Chuck Hagel, a
former senator who has, to put it mildly, issues with the State of Israel and
America’s “Jewish lobby” (his words), is foundering against appropriate outrage.
But the president made an equally important announcement this week: Obama will
nominate Sen. John Kerry, his “perfect choice,” to be secretary of
Kerry’s nomination will sail thorough confirmation by his fellow
senators. And that should alarm America and its allies.
Kerry is no
Hagelian bigot. But he is a morally-preening, self-righteous mediocrity,
unpopular even among his colleagues. He is prone to making thunderous,
categorical pronouncements – and then adopting contrary positions shortly
thereafter as the political winds shift.
While that might be overlooked
in a career politician, less excusable for a secretary of state is that Kerry
has shown unbelievably bad judgment about US policy his entire adult life. He is
hardly the man to pursue US diplomatic interests.
If you think the
Goldstone Report was unfair, consider this: Kerry first rose to prominence as an
anti-Vietnam War spokesman, undermining the American war effort by slandering
the US military. In 1971, Kerry declared the entire US chain of military command
to be “war criminals.”
He testified before the Senate Foreign Relations
Committee about American soldiers he had met who supposedly “had personally
raped, cut off ears, cut off heads, taped wires from portable telephones to
human genitals and turned up the power, cut off limbs, blown up bodies, randomly
shot at civilians, razed villages in a fashion reminiscent of Genghis Khan. Not
isolated incidents, but crimes committed on a day-to-day basis with the full
awareness of officers at all levels of command.”
Read that last sentence
again. These staggering allegations were investigated and proven to be
Kerry also illegally met with Viet Cong representatives, and
signed a “People’s Peace Treaty” agreeing to Communist demands.
never adequately explained or renounced his comments or activities. Just how
will he now project American moral authority and defend American military
AS A young senator, Kerry opposed American aid to the “Contras,”
pro-American democracy fighters battling Nicaragua’s Communist Sandanista
government. In 1985, on the eve of a Congressional vote on Contra funding, Kerry
traveled with fellow Senator Tom Harkin to meet Sandanista president Daniel
Ortega. Kerry returned with an offer from Ortega for a cease-fire in exchange
for America dropping its support for the Contras.
administration denounced the offer as “propaganda,” but Kerry proclaimed that he
was “willing...to test the good faith of the Sandinistas.” Persuaded by Kerry
and Harkin, Congress voted to cut off funding.
The following day, Ortega
flew to Moscow and procured $200 million in new Soviet aid for the
Kerry opposed president Reagan’s successful rollback of
Soviet- and Cuban-supported forces in Central America. In 1986, he endorsed the
Veterans Fast For Life, hunger-strikers demonstrating against America’s “illegal
and extraordinarily vicious wars against the poor of Nicaragua, El Salvador, and
His judgment on Iraq? Kerry opposed the first Gulf War
(Desert Storm) to expel Saddam Hussein from Kuwait, supported even by Arab
nations. And if you recall Kerry as a bitter critic of the 2003 Iraq War, your
memory doesn’t go back far enough: Kerry not only voted for that war, but
proclaimed: “Without question we need to disarm Saddam Hussein. He is a
brutal and murderous dictator.”
Kerry even said that “People have
forgotten that for seven and a half years [in Iraq], we found [and] were
destroying weapons of mass destruction.” On the Senate floor he said that “[a]ll
US intelligence experts agree that Iraq is seeking nuclear weapons.”
later, when things got rough, did he complain that he was “misled” by president
George W. Bush, who “rushed to war.” Perhaps having a Vietnam flashback, Kerry
also accused American troops of “terrorizing” Iraqi civilians.
Kerry adamantly opposed the Iraq “surge” strategy, dismissing it as president
Bush’s “stubbornness” and “recklessness.”
Led by General David Petraeus,
the surge was wildly successful.
In 2009, Kerry penned a Huffington Post
column in which he discussed the gravest threat facing America. Islamic fascism?
Al-Qaida terror? Chinese militarism? Nope – to Kerry, our gravest threat is
from...climate change! Kerry maintains that we have until 2019 “at the
latest” before “catastrophic climate change becomes inevitable and
CLOSER TO home, Kerry has demonstrated a disturbing
confidence in Syria’s Bashar Assad.
Visiting Assad multiple times, Kerry
advocated loosening sanctions against Syria, declaring “my friend” Assad a man
of his word, and saying that under Assad, “Syria will change as it embraces a
legitimate relationship with the United States.”
Kerry told the Qatari
emir in November 2010 that “Assad is a man who wants to change” and that Israel
should cede the Golan Heights to Syria.
One would hope that, 40,000
Syrian corpses later, Kerry has rethought his assessment.
Once the Jewish
community stops kvelling over Kerry’s father’s Hebraic origins, it may notice
that Kerry’s Israel support has always been mixed: Reliable support for aid
packages, but highly critical of all settlement activity – even (initially)
opposing Israel’s security fence, calling it a “barrier to peace.” He has
supported merging religiously terroristic Hamas into the Palestinian Authority,
and criticized Israeli force used in Gaza in Operation Cast Lead.
his radical past to his disdain for America’s leveraging its power to promote
its values, from undermining American allies to appeasing America’s opponents,
and from his terrible judgment to his inability to assess threats to the Western
world, Kerry represents everything already wrong with the Obama administration’s
inept foreign policy, where American influence wanes while radical anti-American
In that sense, perhaps, Kerry really is Obama’s “perfect
choice.”The writer is an American attorney and political commentator
living in Israel. He serves as counsel to Republicans Abroad Israel.