Stephens: John Kerry, Secretary of Unreality
by Bret Stephens, WSJ, Jan. 6, 2014
The secretary of state hasn’t outlawed war, as Frank Kellogg did in 1928, but his Mideast initiatives are a good imitation.
An American secretary of state was once awarded a Nobel Peace Prize for outlawing war. In describing how 62 countries came to sign (and 85 U.S. senators to ratify) the 1928 Kellogg-Briand Pact, the Scottish historian D.W. Brogan observed: “The United States, which had abolished the evils of drink by the Eighteenth Amendment, invited the world to abolish war by taking the pledge. The world, not quite daring to believe or doubt, obeyed.”
John Kerry hasn’t yet captured Frank B. Kellogg’s crown. But he’s trying.
Mr. Kerry announced last week that he’d like to see Iran participate “from the sidelines” in the talks, scheduled to begin in Geneva later this month, to end the Syrian civil war. He’s working overtime on a “framework” agreement for Israeli-Palestinian peace. And then there’s the nuclear deal to finalize with Iran.
Geneva II, as the Syrian talks are known in diplospeak, is based on a June 2012 international communiqué calling on the Syrian government and the opposition to come together and form a “transitional” government. When the communiqué was issued, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton insisted that its terms barred Bashar Assad from remaining in power, while Sergei Lavrov, her Russian counterpart, insisted the contrary.
Otherwise, solid agreement.
Eighteen months, multiple chemical attacks, a spiraling regional crisis, tens of thousands dead and two million refugees later, we come to Geneva II.
In theory, the meeting will bring together all the relevant parties to negotiate a political solution to the war. In reality, Assad is barrel-bombing civilians, the opposition is at war with itself, and the Syrian National Council, the main (and moderate) opposition group, has insisted that it will not take part in a sham process.
So what is Geneva II supposed to achieve?
…..And there was this: The Israeli cabinet was presented Sunday with a long report on Palestinian incitement since the resumption of peace negotiations. “Official Palestinian media outlets relay that Israel has no right to exist, and that the Jewish people have no claim to the Holy Land,” reported the Israeli newspaper Haaretz. “In addition, other messages prevalent in Palestinian media include that Israel’s disappearance is inevitable and expected to happen soon, as Jews are sub-human creatures that must be dealt with accordingly.”
Otherwise, the karma is excellent……