John Kerry: Assad's Man in Washington
After the senator's romance with the butchers of Vietnam came his romance with the butcher of Syria.
Now that U.S. Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice has had her name withdrawn from consideration for Secretary of State, it appears that Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) is next in line for the job. Sources have told ABC News that the president has tabbed the Massachusetts senator, but that the official announcement is being delayed by other pending Cabinet decisions, as well as the tragic shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.
Whether Kerry should be nominated at all is the question we would be asking if there were any justice in the world. If Rice ostensibly incurred the wrath of Washington insiders for her lack of judgement regarding Benghazi and Rwanda, how is it possible Kerry gets a pass for his own lack of judgment regarding a host of issues, from his enduring support for Syrian butcher Bashar Assad and his belief that climate change is a “national security” issue, to his unthinkable testimony before the U.S. Congress maligning America and Vietnam vets while running interference for the Viet Cong? Kerry, it seems, cannot kick the habit of sidling up to the great killing machines of our time.
Kerry's lack of judgment is nothing new. For the last decade, he has been the federal government's highest-ranking apologist for Assad. It was Kerry who made numerous efforts to undermine the Bush administration's attempt to isolate the Syrian dictator after their courtship of him ended in failure in 2003. Kerry has made repeated visits to Syria, meeting with Assad five times between 2009 and 2011.
In 2009, days after Barack Obama's inauguration, Kerry was sent to Syria as part of a policy review by an Obama administration looking to establish new relationships with countries the Bush administration considered hostile. Bush had repeatedly accused Syria of willful ignorance regarding the arming of terrorists in Iraq, and supporting terror in general. In 2005, following the assassination of Lebanon's former premier Rafiq Hariri, in a car bombing most likely orchestrated by the Assad regime, the United States withdrew its ambassador.
None of it mattered to Kerry. He listened to Bashar Assad advise him that Washington must “move away from a policy based on dictating decisions,” adding that future relations between the countries should be based on a “proper understanding” by Washington of Middle East issues and interests. In return, Kerry chose the occasion to bash the former administration. “Unlike the Bush administration that believed you could simply tell people what to do and walk away and wait for them to do it, we believe you have to engage in a discussion,” he said. “So we are going to renew diplomacy but without any illusion, without any naivety, without any misplaced belief that, just by talking, things will automatically happen.”
A year later, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee ignored his own advice and sat down once again with Assad. “Syria is an essential player in bringing peace and stability to the region,” he said in April 2010. “Both the United States and Syria have a very deep interest… in having a very frank exchange on any differences [and] agreements that we have about the possibilities of peace in this region,” he said in the statement. And once again, he called on Syria to stop supplying weapons to Hezbollah.
Seven months later, disclosures of diplomatic cables by the Wikileaks website revealed that Kerry had been busy undermining Israel as well. He told leaders in Qatar that the Golan Heights should be returned to Syria, and that the capital of a Palestinian state should be established in East Jerusalem, as part of the so-called peace process. According to the cable, Kerry did so during separate meetings with Prime Minister Hamad bin Jassim Al Thani, and the Emir of Qatar, Hamad bin Khalifa.
Concerning the Golan Heights, the cable noted that “[Kerry] added that Netanyahu also needs to compromise and work the return of the Golan Heights into a formula for peace.” As for an East Jerusalem capital for a Palestinian state? “Any negotiation has its limits, added Senator Kerry, and we know for the Palestinians that control of Al-Aqsa mosque and the establishment of some kind of capital for the Palestinians in East Jerusalem are not negotiable,” the cable stated. “For the Israelis, the Senator continued, Israel's character as a Jewish state is not open for negotiation. The non-militarization of an eventual Palestinian state and its borders can nonetheless be resolved through negotiation.”
By March 2011, as Israel, the United States and France watched the anti-government protests in the Middle East begin to include Syria, France and the U.S. nixed another trip by Kerry to Damascus, concerned that it would signal “Western weakness.” That decision may have been precipitated by an appearance Kerry made before a think tank audience twelve days earlier. During his speech, he contended the United States had a crucial role to play in facilitating the “democratic transitions” in the Middle East, including Egypt. “The people of Egypt liberated themselves in eighteen days without a single IED or suicide bomb,” Kerry said.
As for Assad, Kerry again could not contain himself. “Well, I personally believe that – I mean, this is my belief, okay? But President Assad has been very generous with me in terms of the discussions we have had.” During the same speech he doubled-down on such pie-in-the-sky nonsense, contending that “Syria will move; Syria will change, as it embraces a legitimate relationship with the United States and the West and economic opportunity that comes with it and the participation that comes with it.”
Syria has indeed changed. The death toll in the bloody civil war, during which Assad has cut a bloody swath through his own nation using heavy artillery and helicopter gunships in civilian neighborhoods, has topped 40,000.
Syria is hardly Kerry's only detour. Progressive hearts are a-flutter because the senator is also a climate change warrior. “No senator since Al Gore knows as much about the science and diplomacy of climate change as Kerry,” said David Goldwyn, an international energy consultant who served as Clinton's special envoy and coordinator for international energy affairs. “He would not only put climate change in the top five issues he raises with every country, but he would probably rethink our entire diplomatic approach to the issue.”
If a speech Kerry gave last August on the floor of the Senate is any indication, climate change may even go to the top of the list as one of the nation's chief security threats. “I believe that the situation we face [with climate change] is as dangerous as any of the sort of real crises that we talk about,” he said. (The word “real” is a revealing choice that was apparently lost on both the true-believers and Kerry himself.)
All of the above will undoubtedly be dismissed by Kerry's colleagues in the Senate, where an old-boys club mentality trumps hard-nosed thinking–meaning Kerry is virtually a lock to be confirmed. An equally out-of-touch John McCain indicated as much, when he responded to an introduction by Kerry at a news conference in early December with the quip, “thank you very much, Mr. Secretary.”
It is disheartening to hear such pronouncements from a man like McCain given Kerry's notorious romance with the communist slaughterers of Vietnam and his seditious lies about U.S. forces, which were made famous through his testimony during the Senate Winter Soldier Investigation in 1971 and his extensive pro-communist activism. In '71 Kerry appeared before Congress as a member of Vietnam Veterans Against the War (VVAW), and told the story of “over 150″ Vietnam vets who "told the stories at times they 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 fashion reminiscent of Genghis Khan, shot cattle and dogs for fun, poisoned food stocks, and generally ravaged the countryside of South Vietnam in addition to the normal ravage of war…”
According to the Winter Solider's own website, Army reports “newly discovered” in 2008 discredited those claims. Even more telling, that organization aligned itself with the Swift Boat veterans in opposing Kerry's 2004 run for the presidency. Not least among their long list of grievances were Kerry's two meetings with the North Vietnamese, even as American soldiers were still in the field suffering unspeakable cruelty by communist forces.
Yet John Kerry will be nominated and confirmed to replace Hillary Clinton. It doesn't matter that he has been colossally wrong about Bashar Assad, more willing to negotiate Israel's position in the peace process, a disciple of junk science, or willing to sell out his fellow veterans and country. He is a member in good standing of the ruling class, and his progressive credentials are a perfect match for an administration equally lacking in judgement and integrity. That's “how things work” in Washington, D.C.
Arnold Ahlert is a columnist for FrontPage Magazine.