Former Secretary of State John Kerry has written a book: Everyday Is Extra. Margaret Brennan of CBS News must be one of the few who have read it.
This Sunday on Face the Nation, she pressed Kerry on his admission in the book that the U.S. paid a price for not enforcing President Obama’s “red line” on the use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime. Kerry does some dancing, but ends up confirming his admission.
It’s clear that Obama pulled the rug out from under his Secretary of State who, as Brennan reminded him, had been sent around the world to rally other countries into standing with the U.S., only to see Obama blink. Kerry told Brennan:
I thought we were going to go forward. I thought that weekend was the weekend. I expected the phone call to be telling me that he had decided we were striking that night or whatever was going to happen, and it wasn’t.
As a result, Kerry said, the Obama administration lost credibility, making his job as a diplomat more difficult.
It’s natural for Kerry, who is obsessed with diplomacy, to calculate the price of Obama’s backing down in diplomatic terms, and that price must have been substantial. The Syrians paid the biggest price, however. As Brennan reminded him, they have been the victims of sarin gas attacks notwithstanding the deal Obama made with Putin in lieu of enforcing the red line.
But the biggest mistake Obama/Kerry made in Syria was refusing to establish and enforce a no-fly zone. Predictably, Russia filled the vacuum. They took control of the skies, inflicted unimaginable suffering on Syrians, created a refugee crisis that has Europe reeling, and enabled Assad to win the civil war.
That’s bad even for government work. It should be the main source of Kerry’s regret.
The whole interview can be viewed below:
UPDATE: I forgot to mention that during the CBS interview, Kerry refused to rule out running for president in 2020. Somehow, I don’t think Kerry fits the profile of a nominee of the contemporary Democratic party. He’s too old, too white, too male, and insufficiently socialist.
Nor would Kerry be the first choice of Democrats looking for old, white, insufficiently socialist males. That honor surely goes to Joe Biden.