Lacking Pragmatism and Oozing Mediocrity –That is US Secretary-of-State Kerry

Greg Sheridan , in The Australian, 30 December 2016, where the title reads”Undergraduate ramble lacking context, reality” … see for BLOG Comments

John Kerry’s imitation of Fidel Castro, with a speech as long and as mournful and as useless as those the Cuban dictator frequently delivered, helps explain why he was such a dismal failure as US Secretary of State. Kerry’s meandering speech blamed Israel for the failure so far to achieve a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians. The problem is, it read like the speech of an earnest undergraduate who has just come to the issue through the reporting of al-Jazeera and CNN and has no background in historic reality.  The Kerry speech lacked all context, proportion, balance, history and any sense of reality. kerry-planet-ark Pic from Planet Ark

Australians have long understood that Kerry was an extremely mediocre choice for secretary of state. In the published diaries of former foreign minister Bob Carr there is a long cable from then ambassador Kim Beazley concerning Kerry’s appointment. Kerry, Beazley said, had very little interest in Asia and almost none at all in Australia. Beazley predicted, correctly, that Kerry would devote his tenure to trying to get a big historic prize for himself, namely an Israeli Palestinian peace deal.

For his entire tenure, Kerry has seemed disconnected from the real world crises of the Middle East, focusing instead on his undergraduate obsessions with Israel. Hundreds of thousands of people are slaughtered in Syria in part because of the strategic vacuum Kerry and his boss and their feckless sermonising created; Iran and Russia become dominant strategic players; Yemen and Libya collapse, but Kerry knows what his priorities are: to beat up on Israel.

Barack Obama has taken a characteristic personal revenge on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, whom he detests, with a profoundly destructive and irresponsible UN Security Council resolution, which declares every Israeli living anywhere beyond the 1967 borders, even in the Jewish quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem, to be an illegal settler. This means the Palestinians have no incentive to compromise and the Israelis are encouraged not to compromise either, because they cannot even rely on their best friend.

***   ***


HENRY…….An excellent summary of events. Pity the world “leaders in Europe and the US just don’t get it.

LISIE…….Greg Sheridan writes one of his most important articles today, and one has to ask why it is not on the front page, but hidden away in the bottom left hand corner of page 6 in the hard copy Australian?A short article of only a couple of hundred words, but it tells the real story of John Kerry. My next question is the continued support and money provided by our Foreign Minister, Julie Bishop.  I note she has now come out trying to rewrite history on ABCNews24Breakfast this morning.The performance of John Kerry as US Secretary of State is that of a bully – my way or forget it with his “undergraduate ramble” confirming that he was clearly out of his depth. 
ALSON ……. Kerry and Obama may well be mediocre and their policies on Syria, Yemen and Libya may also be total failures – nobody could seriously argue that they have left the Middle East better off. However, the “all the way with Bibi” approach that Sheridan appears to favor isn’t worth much either. There is a good reason why Obama detests Netanyahu – despite billions of dollars of US aid to Israel the response has been a total lack of cooperation on just about every issue and a pig-headed determination to pander to the extreme right in Israel. Netanyahu doesn’t need any encouragement not to compromise, he hasn’t demonstrated the slightest inclination to do so.


Leave a comment

Filed under accountability, american imperialism, historical interpretation, Indian Ocean politics, Middle Eastern Politics, modernity & modernization, politIcal discourse, power politics, propaganda, Responsibility to Protect or R2P, self-reflexivity, slanted reportage, sri lankan society, the imaginary and the real, unusual people, world events & processes

Leave a Reply