This Boston Globe story about John Kerry offers a perfect window into the constellation of forces that are determined to frustrate President Trump’s policies: “Kerry quietly seeking to salvage Iran deal he helped craft.”
John Kerry’s bid to save one of his most significant accomplishments as secretary of state took him to New York on a Sunday afternoon two weeks ago, where, more than a year after he left office, he engaged in some unusual shadow diplomacy with a top-ranking Iranian official.
He sat down at the United Nations with Foreign Minister Javad Zarif to discuss ways of preserving the pact limiting Iran’s nuclear weapons program.
This is remarkable. John Kerry is a former Secretary of State, now out of office, while Javad Zarif is the current Foreign Minister of Iran. They are allies, obviously, but does the Globe’s reporter not understand the deep weirdness of what Kerry is up to?
It isn’t just Kerry, either:
With the Iran deal facing its gravest threat since it was signed in 2015, Kerry has been on an aggressive yet stealthy mission to preserve it, using his deep lists of contacts gleaned during his time as the top US diplomat to try to apply pressure on the Trump administration from the outside.
Kerry also met last month with German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, and he’s been on the phone with top European Union official Federica Mogherini, according to the source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to reveal the private meetings. Kerry has also met with French President Emmanuel Macron in both Paris and New York, conversing over the details of sanctions and regional nuclear threats in both French and English.
So Kerry is meeting with a number of foreign officials in order to frustrate President Trump’s foreign policy. The Globe acknowledges that Kerry’s diplomacy, conducted in opposition to United States foreign policy, is “rare” and “unusual,” but hastens to assure us that it doesn’t violate the Logan Act.
What is most revealing, I think, is the constellation of forces arrayed against our president:
Kerry is coordinating his push with a group of officials who were his top advisers at the State Department, and who helped craft and negotiate the Iran deal in the first place. The group, called Diplomacy Works, has an advisory council that includes lead Iran-deal negotiator Wendy Sherman, former State Department chief of staff Jon Finer, and former spokeswoman Jen Psaki.
The group claims to be responsible for 100 news articles, 34 television and radio hits, and 37 opinion pieces on the Iran question. They do fact checks of criticisms of the agreement and blast them out to an e-mail list of nearly 4,000 policy makers and foreign policy experts.
But the group determined that the most influential voices would not be Democrats, and instead would focus on Europeans, Israelis, and nonpartisan experts to try and salvage the deal, according to a person involved in the effort. As a sign of the their success, Kerry has pointed to an April 25 letter signed by 26 former top-ranking Israeli military and security officials urging the United States to stay in the agreement.
“Our effort is self-aware,” said David Wade, a longtime Kerry adviser who was chief of staff at the State Department and is helping advise Diplomacy Works. “We are in uncharted waters. The bipartisan, traditional foreign policy community remains on the president’s enemies list from 2016….
“This isn’t President Obama’s agreement. It’s the world’s agreement,” he added. “Maybe Macron, Merkel, and Great Britain can persuade the administration, but if they can’t they’ll be even more essential to protecting the deal absent the United States. We know these voices are powerful. They have an audience with the president and our allies are popular at home.”
The president doesn’t listen much to the voices of the foreign policy establishment. And they don’t really know how to reach him through conservative media.
That sentence is pretty funny if you think about it. Meanwhile, some are asking, where is President Obama?
“It’s a legitimate question to ask why is Obama not out front with the cognoscenti. But those aren’t the ones Trump cares about anyway,” Kurtzer said. “My guess is the phone has been ringing off the hook between European leaders and Obama. The Europeans are trying. They’re giving it their best shot.”
A spokeswoman for Obama declined to comment on whether the former president is doing anything to preserve the Iran deal.
The Globe feels obliged to mention Prime Minister Netanyahu’s presentation on the captured Iranian nuclear documents, but only long enough to quote Kerry’s absurd assertion that the documents are “nothing new” and show that the Iran agreement is “working.” Actually, the agreement required Iran to come clean about its nuclear program as a condition for the Western states entering into it, and the documents show that Iran lied. In the law business, we call this “fraud in the inducement,” and it entitles a party–i.e., us–to rescind an agreement.
The Globe happily positions itself on the side of John Kerry, the American Left, various Europeans and the Iranian mullahs in endorsing the farcical Iran deal. (We give Iran $100 billion and sanctions relief today, in exchange for Iran’s promise not to develop nuclear weapons until such time as they change their minds.) The only rays of hope in the Globe’s account are its references to the president:
A former Obama White House official said there is little to be gained by aiming the effort directly at Trump.
“At least from our network, you’re not going to find messages aimed at him directly,” said the official. “It would be counterproductive. Anything with our brand attached to it, he’ll run in the opposite direction.”
Good God, I should hope so!