As someone observed, the only person to pay for the travesty in Benghazi is the one who had nothing to do with it. Susan Rice is out for Secretary of State.
Beep! Beep! Beep! That’s the sound of the Mayflower moving truck backing up to John Kerry’s Louisburg Square mansion.
NBC News is reporting that Susan Rice is no longer interested in the position of secretary of state and the president has accepted her decision.
This means that Massachusetts senator John Kerry is the most likely next top diplomat of the United States. Yes, folks, he’s back!
While the confirmation hearings for Rice would have made good entertainment, they would have been far too contentious. Charges of racism and sexism would have been thick in the air. Kerry will sail through (get it?).
And his performance in this role of a lifetime will be epic. We’ll be talking Oscars, Tonys, Emmys, and Cy Young Awards.
The problem is that Kerry has gotten most of the biggest foreign-policy calls of the past two decades wrong.
He voted against the authorization of force for the 1991 Persian Gulf War.
He opposed President Bush’s 2007 surge in Iraq, calling it “a tragic mistake.” The surge, he elaborated, “won’t end the violence; it won’t provide security; . . . it won’t turn back the clock and avoid the civil war that is already underway; it won’t deter terrorists, who have a completely different agenda; it won’t rein in the militias.” In September 2007, Kerry voted in favor of a resolution introduced by Senator Carl Levin (D., Mich.) to withdraw all U.S. troops within 90 days.
Where Kerry isn’t wrong, he is living up to his flip-flopper label: He voted for the Iraq War and then later insisted he voted only to threaten the use of force, not to actually authorize the use of force. He initially supported and then opposed a funding bill for the Iraq War in late 2003, which prompted the confusing defense, “I actually did vote for the $87 billion before I voted against it.”
He has called Israel’s security fence “a barrier to peace” and “a legitimate act of self-defense.”
In 2004, one of the biggest applause lines in Kerry’s acceptance speech at the Democratic convention in Boston was, “We shouldn’t be opening firehouses in Baghdad and shutting them in the United States of America.” By February of this year, Kerry was denouncing his own applause line: “Cutting foreign aid has always been a guaranteed applause line on the political stump . . . efforts in Congress to cut billions from the president’s proposed budget for the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) are short-sighted.”
In May 2011, shortly after the U.S. Navy SEALs successfully raided Osama bin Laden’s compound, Kerry was quick to emphasize that U.S. military efforts in that part of the world were far from over: “With the death of Bin Laden, some people will ask why we don’t pack up and leave Afghanistan. We can’t do that. . . . Our military is making significant inroads clearing the south of insurgents. But we expect a significant Taliban counterattack this spring to regain some of these areas. We also know insurgents are spreading into other areas of Afghanistan as we drive them from their bases in the south.” But one month later, Kerry was saying the cost of the war was “unsustainable” and urging President Obama to speed up troop withdrawals.
But it is Kerry’s dedicated cultivation of Bashar Assad — one of his primary foreign-policy focuses since his 2004 presidential bid — that most clearly illustrates his naïveté.
On March 15, 2011, the first sparks of a national uprising against Assad’s regime ignited; within days there were large-scale protests in several cities, and police responded with live ammunition in some cases. About 70 Syrian civilians were killed in the initial weeks.
This won’t come as a surprise to most of you, since he’s more of a national figure than a local one, but Kerry is going to be comedy gold. Gold. I’ve been reserving most of my popcorn for the coming domestic disasters, Aggie, but I need something different for the foreign eff-ups. I’m thinking scotch. Single malt, 15 yo at least. Nothing makes mayhem go down smooth like a well-aged Islay.