President Obama has become a laughingstock in Moscow, Beijing, Tehran, and wherever else serious people are paying attention. But it is John Kerry, one suspects, who draws the biggest guffaws.
Consider the Syria deal Kerry, with White House approval, presented to Russia in July. According to the Washington Post the proposal was this: the U.S. would share intelligence and coordinate its bombing of terrorists targets with Russia and Russia would ground the Syrian air force and stop its own bombing of U.S.-backed opposition forces.
There was zero chance that Russia would ground the Syrian air force and stop its bombing in exchange for what Kerry offered. Russia’s interest in enabling the Syrian regime to conquer key parts of the country that ISIS does not control far exceeds its interest in bombing ISIS. Moreover, if and when Russia chooses to bomb ISIS targets, it can do so effectively enough without obtaining U.S. intelligence, just as it has effectively bombed U.S-backed forces without our help.
Kerry’s proposal thus reflected a profound misreading of Russian intentions in Syria.
The Russians naturally have not accepted Kerry’s deal. However, they have strung him along to the point that, in late August, Kerry predicted that a deal could be reached within a week.
Since then, Russian and Syrian planes have pounded Aleppo and the key areas nearby. Earlier in August, rebels had broken through the government’s encirclement of the city. But now, according to the Post, government forces backed by Russian air strikes seem to have regained the territory needed to lay full siege to Aleppo.
As Russia has paved the way for Syrian advances, Kerry has frantically attempted to negotiate a cease fire that would freeze the battle lines. The problem is that, thanks to Russian air support, the battle lines are constantly changing in the regime’s favor. Thus, Kerry’s cease fire proposals become obsolete before Russia needs to reject them.
In short, While Kerry impersonates Charlie Brown, Russia impersonates Lucy pulling away the football.
As John reminds us, Obama promised the American people “smart power.” Instead, he has delivered stupid impotence, of which John Kerry is the walking embodiment.