John Kerry: National Security Menace
By Matthew Vadum
Secretary of State John Kerry’s credibility has taken a major hit with the revelation that his favorite Middle Eastern dictator has been killing his own people with illegal chemical weapons.
Kerry’s abominable judgment, coupled with his anti-Americanism, has blinded him for a long time to the threat posed by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime. For years Kerry functioned as an unofficial lobbyist for Assad in Washington, D.C., making excuses for him and doing his bidding in Congress.
So it must have pained Kerry yesterday to admit that someone he not-too-long-ago called his “dear friend” used Sarin in at least two known attacks against rebels in Syria’s increasingly blood civil war, according to reports.
The United Nations designates Sarin as a weapon of mass destruction. Its manufacture and stockpiling are prohibited under the Chemical Weapons Convention of 1993.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention describes Sarin (also known by the military designation GB) as
“a nerve agent that is one of the most toxic of the known chemical warfare agents. It is generally odorless and tasteless. Exposure to sarin can cause death in minutes. A fraction of an ounce (1 to 10 ml) of sarin on the skin can be fatal.”
The pressure will now be on President Obama, who said last summer that if Syria used chemical weapons such an action would be a “game-changer” for the United States.
“We have been very clear to the Assad regime but also to other players on the ground that a red line for us is [when] we start seeing a whole bunch of weapons moving around or being utilized,” Obama said. “That would change my calculus. That would change my equation.”
The ultimate pampered limousine leftist, Kerry has been on the wrong side of every major foreign policy debate for his entire adult life.
His embrace of adversarial tyrants is nothing new. Over and over again he has become infatuated with thugs. Kerry supported an array of Communist dictators including Cuba’s Fidel Castro and Nicaragua’s Daniel Ortega.
When the U.S. liberated Grenada in 1983 from the clutches of Marxist dictator Bernard Coard, Kerry’s first instinct was to attack his own country. “The invasion represented a bully’s show of force against a weak Third World nation,” said Kerry. “The invasion only served to heighten world tensions and further strain brittle U.S.–Soviet and North–South relations.”
But now the Kerry-Assad “bromance” that captured the imagination of liberal-internationalists everywhere is over. As secretary of state, Kerry has had to distance himself from his love-object.
In early March, Kerry vowed that the U.S. would “empower” Syria’s opposition and declared that Assad must go. The Obama administration has followed up with shipments of non-lethal humanitarian aid to opposition forces, which are now dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood.
Kerry’s new tone stands in stark contrast with his behavior as a U.S. senator.
Kerry journeyed to Syria repeatedly from 2009 through 2011, meeting five times with Assad. After taking a motorcycle ride with Assad, Kerry referred to the butcher of Damascus as “my dear friend,” a term of endearment that reportedly made the then-senator’s staffers wince.
One commentator added:
“On March 16, 2011—the day after the first mass demonstration against the regime—John Kerry said Assad was a man of his word who had been ‘very generous with me.’ He added that under Assad ‘Syria will move; Syria will change as it embraces a legitimate relationship with the United States.’”
Alas, Assad’s Syria did not change. The dictator, a major backer of the Islamic terrorist group Hezbollah, was only telling his number one fan what he wanted to hear. He was stringing him along.
No doubt this special relationship affected Kerry’s judgment. In early 2010 Kerry told leaders in the Middle East that he felt Israel should cede the strategic plateau known as the Golan Heights back to Syria. Such a move would have been disastrous.
“Imagine the situation Israel would be facing today if it had heeded the Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman’s advice,” The Blaze’s Sharona Schwartz wrote late last year as President Obama was about to nominate Kerry as secretary of state. “The strategic plateau overlooking all of northern Israel might today be on the verge of falling into the hands of Syrian homegrown terrorists and imported Al-Qaeda members.”
Kerry reminded the world last week that in essence he is a useful idiot always willing to give Islamic totalitarian thugs the benefit of the doubt.
Testifying before the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, Kerry said elections in theocratic Iran aren’t much different than elections in the U.S.
When committee chairman Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) expressed concern that Iran’s nuclear weapons program was progressing unabated, Kerry was blase:
“They are two months away from an election. The election is on June 14th and every bit of evidence we have — this very week or next week they declare who their candidates are — and there is an enormous amount of jockeying going on with the obvious normal struggle for attention between hard-liners and people who might want to make an agreement etc. We all know what life is like here in the Senate six months from a presidential election, so you can imagine what it’s like there two months from theirs. And so I think this is a moment for us to be a little patient.”
Except that Iran doesn’t have real elections. They’re shams run by fanatics and lackeys. Pro-Western candidates are banned.
Kerry’s complacency towards Iran means America is missing an opportunity to promote change in a country that puts religious and political dissenters to death and that is trying to develop nuclear weapons it can use to threaten Israel and American interests.
During the last Iranian election in mid-2009, Iranians cried out to the U.S. for help and encouragement and President Obama did nothing apart from reassuring the powers that be that he offered “a path . . . in which their sovereignty is respected, their traditions, their culture, their faith is respected.”
Kerry is evidently doing Obama’s will, refusing to lift a finger to help the pro-Western opposition forces.
“We know now how the do-nothing political approach turned out,” Anne Bayefsky writes in National Review Online. “After four years more of [Iranian President Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad, Iran is on the verge of acquiring the world’s most dangerous weapon.”
Let’s recap just two of Kerry’s foul-ups since joining President Obama’s cabinet on Feb. 1:
On April 21, Kerry compared victims of terrorism with perpetrators of it. He drew parallels between innocent bystanders murdered in the Boston Marathon bombing to Turkish-backed armed belligerents killed three years ago trying to violently break Israel’s blockade of the terrorist-infested Gaza Strip.
He said the bombing victims made him think of Turks who died during “the 2010 IDF raid on the Marmara,” a reference to Israeli commandos’ boarding of the Mavi Marmara, a ship carrying pro-Hamas militants in the blockade-running “Gaza Freedom Flotilla.”
Without acknowledging that terrorists participated in the flotilla, Kerry said the Boston bombing made him “acutely aware of the emotions felt by the families of the nine Turks who died” during the raid.
Earlier this month Kerry adopted a curious peace-through-weakness stance toward North Korea after the Defense Intelligence Agency announced that Pyongyang probably already has nuclear weapons capable of being delivered to targets. Instead of talking tough, Kerry offered to reduce U.S. ballistic missile defense deployments if China puts a leash on North Korea.
And like a bumbling salesman lowering an offering price when he learns the buyer is wealthier than he suspected, Kerry rattled America’s allies by suggesting the U.S. may lower the bar for opening direct negotiations with the rogue Stalinist state. Such an approach rewards North Korea’s aggression.
Is Kerry completely incompetent or consciously pursuing an agenda to hurt American interests? Time will tell.
But one thing is certain: Kerry is a dangerous national security menace that the U.S. cannot afford in its top diplomat.