The Middle East’s biggest fool

I thought that Dennis (“fool me a dozen times, shame on all of us”) Ross had retired that title. But Jamie Weinstein makes a strong case for awarding it to John Kerry.

In his pre-Secretary of State days, Kerry made a strong bid when he decided, along with Nancy Pelosi, that Bashar al-Assad was not only a potential ally but the key to peace between Israel and the Palestinians. With Syria now in flames and Assad propped up by Iran, Kerry must rely on his personal brilliance to usher in that peace.

Thus, as Weinstein points out:

Since assuming his role as America’s top diplomat, the former Massachusetts senator has seemingly made Israeli-Palestinian peace his number one priority. He has visited the region five times since February in order to achieve this herculean task, including a recent four day visit where he shuttled back and forth between Israeli, Palestinian and Jordanian leaders.

This is foolishness at two levels. First, Israel is the last of any rational, non-Israel hating American’s present concerns. The list of Middle Eastern countries in countries in turmoil is lengthy — Egypt, Syria, Turkey, Jordan (potentially), Iraq (to an increasing degree), Lebanon, and Yemen — but it does not include Israel.

So why does Kerry focus on Israel? Weinstein says it’s because the Massachusetts man subscribes to the ludicrous bit of conventional Foggy Bottom wisdom which holds that the key to stability in the Middle East is an Israeli-Palestinian peace accord.

But pick any nation on the list of regional “hot spots” list above and explain how an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal would end the turmoil. Even the most doctrinaire State Department Arabist couldn’t do so coherently.

He or she could point out to Kerry, however, that, unlike the other key players in the region, the Israelis will at least give him a superficially respectful hearing. And Kerry knows that where there’s an Israeli-Palestinian agreement, there’s likely to be a Nobel Peace Prize.

But this brings us to the second level of Kerry’s foolishness — there’s almost no chance that Kerry can broker the agreement he craves. As Weinstein explains:

Even if Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu miraculously agreed on a deal, Abbas couldn’t deliver on it because he doesn’t control all the territory he is supposedly negotiating on behalf of. Gaza is controlled by Hamas, a terrorist group whose very charter calls for not only the destruction of Israel, but for Jewish genocide. They aren’t particularly interested in a peace deal.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. In five trips to the region, Kerry hasn’t even persuaded Abbas to meet with Netanyahu yet! Still, Kerry believes he can achieve progress by September. Good grief.

But then, if you could believe that Assad was a potential U.S. ally and Middle East peace broker, you’re a big enough fool to believe anything.


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