John Kerry sees no evil. The Israeli media is catching on.
Last night, the news arrived that Secretary of State Kerry and UN General Secretary Ban Ki-Moon had issued a joint statement announcing a 72-hour truce between Israel and Hamas. Reported the Washington Post:
GAZA CITY — Israel and Hamas have agreed to an unconditional, 72-hour humanitarian truce to begin Friday morning, diplomats from the United States and the United Nations announced Thursday, potentially paving the way for an end to the 24-day-old conflict.
Got that? John Kerry has brokered a truce that will be “paving the way for an end to the 24-day-old conflict” between Israel and Hamas, the latter who has openly sworn to “eliminate” Israel. If you believe that this is “the end” of a conflict that is a mere 24 days olds (???), there is always that bridge in Brooklyn for sale (these days waving a white surrender flag). John Kerry has brought peace in the Middle East? Really?
From the moment he burst on the national scene in 1971 as a young Vietnam vet, his family connections and anti-war views landing him a spot testifying before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, right straight through to today as the U.S. Secretary of State, Kerry has demonstrated repeatedly that he is unable to grasp not only serious threats to the United States and the larger world as well.
What has been on display again and again in Kerry’s public career is a tone-deafness when it comes to the manifestation of evil. Unless, of course, in the style of that old comic strip character Pogo, he has met the enemy and he is us.
Famously in that televised 1971 testimony (seen here) Kerry attacked his fellow vets for “cutting off ears” and acting like “Genghis Khan.” He would pay a serious political price for this decades later when he ran for president and some of his still-infuriated fellow Vietnam vets came out to sink his White House bid. But there was more in that long ago testimony than imputing terrible deeds to U.S. soldiers. Said young Mr. Kerry of his view of the world in his testimony to an appreciative audience of liberal senators and anti-war protestors:
It is my opinion that the United States is still reacting in very much the 1945 mood and postwar cold-war period when we reacted to the forces which were at work in World War II and came out of it with this paranoia about the Russians and how the world was going to be divided up between the super powers, and the foreign policy of John Foster Dulles which was responsible for the creation of the SEATO treaty, which was, in fact, a direct reaction to this so-called Communist monolith. And I think we are reacting under cold-war precepts which are no longer applicable… but we must learn, in this country, how to define those threats and that is what I would say to this question of world peace. I think it is bogus, totally artificial.
[…] There is no threat. The Communists are not about to take over our McDonald hamburger stands. [Laughter.]
Got it? “There is no threat” Kerry said categorically. This assurance was less than a decade after the Cuban Missile Crisis in which, according to all those Kennedy books and movies, the world came within an ace of being blown up in a nuclear firestorm, a crisis launched by the non-threatening Soviets. It was after the Berlin crisis of 1961, yet another crisis that threatened nuclear war and launched the building of the Berlin Wall. But Kerry’s assurance came two years before the Soviets would bring the world to the brink of war yet again over the Middle East in October of 1973, and eight years before the Soviets invaded Afghanistan in 1979. And it came in the middle of various surges of mass murder that characterized communist regimes in the Soviet Union, China, Vietnam, North Korea, Cambodia, Eastern Europe, Latin America, Africa, Afghanistan and more — episodes of horrendous violence The Black Book of Communism estimates to have killed 100 million people.
But young John Kerry saw “no threat” in any of this.
In 1984 Kerry finally made it to the U.S. Senate himself, representing Massachusetts. Over the next handful of years — which is to say the second Reagan term as Reagan determinedly set about ending the Cold War once and for all — Kerry opposed Reagan on the MX missile, the Strategic Defense Initiative (“Star Wars,” as liberals derided it), the U.S. invasion of Grenada to halt a Communist coup in America’s backyard (Grenada was a year before Kerry was elected to the Senate, but Kerry had described Reagan’s actions as “a bully’s show of force”), the Reagan build-up of NATO (Kerry was for a nuclear freeze) and support for the Nicaraguan Freedom Fighters (Kerry predicted Reagan was starting another Vietnam).
All of which is to say, John Kerry — as he himself could not make plainer — looked at the Soviet Union, at Communism, and said “there is no threat.” The real problem was American “paranoia” about Communism.
But the fundamental difference between Ronald Reagan and John Kerry was Reagan’s unblinking recognition that in fact evil existed in this world. There was no negotiating with it — period. The only way out was to defeat it. Or, as Reagan famously said about the Soviets, whom he called “the Evil Empire”: “We win — they lose.”
Back in June of 2004, the Wall Street Journal’s Daniel Henninger wrote with his usual perceptiveness about John Kerry and evil, Kerry then approaching that year’s Democratic presidential nomination. In the headlines was more ghastly news from the Middle East. Three men — Americans Nicholas Berg, Paul M. Johnson Jr. and South Korean missionary Kim Sun-Il — had all been kidnapped in Iraq and beheaded. With video tape rolling on the gruesome spectacle. Henninger wrote this: Conservatives do believe in evil, and liberals either no longer do or they don't wish to allow the idea of evil to be explicit in our politics.”
He went on to muse that the liberals on Kerry’s staff “would never ask Mr. Kerry to say in public that the beheadings are ‘evil.’… The events that are coinciding with this election may be forcing a referendum on the nature of radical Islam similar to an earlier one on Soviet Communism. Is radical Islam a political problem to manage with our allies and the U.N. or an implacable enemy, a radical evil, that is simply trying to kill us?”
Henninger turned out to be right — in 2004. But by 2008 the Kerry view of the world had a comeback, this time with then-Senator Obama. The view that radical Islam was simply a “problem to manage with our allies” won the day. Today, John Kerry’s view of the world has been implemented, with first Hillary Clinton and finally Kerry himself riding herd on Obama’s leftist foreign policy as Secretary of State.
And confronted directly — and yet again — with evil, this time in the form of Hamas, Secretary of State Kerry doesn’t understand. If one reads the Hamas Charter the language is quite plain: Israel is to be “eliminated.” While it is Hamas at the forefront of this latest battle with Israel, this goal is typical of Jihadist groups who openly proclaim their objective as — in the words of neighboring Hezbollah in Lebanon, “the destruction of Israel.” (And the Jerusalem Post is reporting that Hamas is now inviting Hezbollah to join Hamas in the current war.) Earlier this week Mosab Hassan Yousef, the dissident son of the founder of Hamas, was on The Mark Levin Show patiently explaining to his American audience that after killing the Jews, his father’s Hamas is about establishing a global caliphate. The Jews may be the first target, but the Hamas objective is radical Islamic world domination.
In the face of this, what was Kerry doing? Over at Fox Charles Krauthammer captured the moment well, saying of Kerry that the Secretary of State “returns [from a trip to Paris where he met with representatives of the Hamas-friendly Qatar and Turkey] essentially as the lawyer for Hamas.”
Now the Israeli media is furious with John Kerry. Earlier this week Politico pulled together a sampling of Israeli media comment about Kerry. Among other things the Israeli press is saying “Kerry’s mistakes are embarrassing. … Kerry just doesn’t understand who’s playing against whom in the Wild Mideast” (Times of Israel), that Kerry (and Obama) “did not understand the depth of the cynicism and cruelty of the factors that they are dealing with?” (Maariv), Kerry is like a “blind person” and should be fired because he is “pathetic and confused” (Maariv). There’s more.
What all of this comment is saying, even if not in so many words, is that Israel is having to face evil — this time in the form of Hamas — and John Kerry is at work playing the game of moral relativity.
In Kerry’s lifetime (he was born in 1943), the following events have occurred. In the wake of the Holocaust and the mass murder of six million Jews, surviving Jews flocked to the Middle East to formally establish the State of Israel in the ancient Jewish homeland. South Koreans fought a life and death struggle against the North Koreans and Chinese. Hungarians revolted, the revolt crushed by the Soviet Union. Between 1961 and 1989 some 5,000 East Germans raced across rows of barbed wire or scaled the Berlin Wall, with over 100 recorded as being killed in the attempt — shot to death by East German communist guards with a shoot-to-kill order. Hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese fled after the fall of South Vietnam, many becoming known as “the boat people” for their dangerous attempts to flee in small boats to neighboring countries or into the open sea with hopes of being rescued by larger vessels. Thousands died in these attempts.
Why were all these people — and many more from different nationalities in different countries around the world — spending their lives running, fleeing, escaping or revolting?
All of them were on the run from what they perceived — clearly and alarmingly — as evil. John Kerry, meanwhile, has spent a career blithely ignoring evil. Indeed, as was pointed out in that Dan Henninger piece, this is presumably because John Kerry and “liberals either no longer do (believe in evil) or they don't wish to allow the idea of evil to be explicit in our politics.”
So here we are. Evil is on the march yet again, this time in the form of Hamas. But don’t worry. John Kerry wants to negotiate.