Falling Up the Stairs

One should always be careful about what one wishes for, because one might just wind up with John Kerry as Secretary of State.
We ruefully admit that we hard ardently wished to see Hillary Clinton extricated from that post, even long before her inept involvement in the fiasco that led to the death of an ambassador and three other Americans in Libya on Sept. 11 or her scandalous behavior in the aftermath, and our wish was granted when she announced her long anticipated resignation. Then we wished that United Nations ambassador Susan Rice wouldn’t get the job, partly because of her own dissembling regarding the Libya deaths and partly because of everything else about her personality and foreign policy philosophy, and our luck continued when she withdrew her name from consideration rather than subject her president to weeks of damning headlines about Libya. We would have much preferred that she be denied the promotion after the weeks of damning headlines, all in a futile hope that the public could be convinced to care about the incompetence, dishonesty, and disregard for American principles that characterized the sordid affair, but by then our luck had run out.
Which leads us to the likely nomination of John Kerry, and his likely confirmation by his collegial colleagues in the Senate, and then on to the inevitable catastrophes that will result from his stewardship of the State Department.. Few things in life are reliable, but John Kerry has been wrong about every single foreign policy decision of his career.
The youngsters who only recall Kerry as the noble war hero who was “reporting for duty” as the Democrats’ presidential nominee in 2004 might not be aware that he first intruded into public life as the shaggy-haired leader of the Vietnam Veterans Against the War. Reasonable people will disagree about the wisdom of that group’s position, if not the haircut, but it is worth noting that Kerry was opposed not only to the Vietnam War but America’s resistance to communism. In Kerry’s now infamous testimony to the Senate in 1971, when he argued the people of South Vietnam had no opinion regarding what political and economic system they should live under, he scoffed at “the mystical war against communism” and added that “we cannot fight communism all over the world, and I think we should have learned that lesson by now.” With the sarcastic certainty of the young, which was so especially pronounced during the late ‘60s and early ‘70s, Kerry went onto dismiss the entire Cold War by sneering that “I think it is bogus, totally artificial. There is no threat. The communists are not about to take over our McDonald hamburger stands.”
Such insouciance about a totalitarian system that had hundreds of nuclear missiles pointed at the United States naturally earned Kerry one of Massachusetts’ seats in the Senate, where he continued to get the Cold War entirely wrong. He was not the least concerned about the Soviet Union establishing a puppet state in Nicaragua, and was one of the most outspoken critics of the Reagan administration’s covert effort to supply guns to a resistance movement there. Kerry has been less vocal about the current administration’s covert effort to supply guns to Mexican drug gangs, but that is another matter. The Senator also led the opposition to the war against another Soviet puppet state in Grenada, but because the war latest only a few moments the movement never gained much steam. A cheerleader for the European “nuclear freeze” movement that opposed Reagan’s introduction of short-range nuclear missiles to the continent, Kerry introduced a Comprehensive Nuclear Freeze Bill in 1985 and constantly fought against the Strategic Defense Initiative, notions he still clings to with a quaint nostalgia.
After the short-range missiles and so-called “star wars” program played a crucial role in the dissolution of the Soviet Union and America’s complete triumph in the Cold War, Kerry turned his uncannily unreliable foreign policy knack to the new challenge of radical Islamism. He voted to authorize an invasion and occupation of Iraq, as did the person that Obama had previously chosen to be Secretary of State, but Kerry quickly resorted to his old ways and became an outspoken critic of the Bush administration’s prosecution of the war right through the implementation of the ultimately successful “surge” strategy. Although reasonable people can disagree with Kerry’s vote for the war, as he does, there is little doubt that if America had pulled out at the time Kerry demanded it the results for both America and Iraq would not have been as satisfactory.
More recently, Kerry has been meeting with the Muslim Brotherhood and offering reassurances that they’re really a very peaceable and democratic lot. Subsequent events in Egypt have proved otherwise, of course, but given Kerry’s history the outcome was drearily predictable. We suppose it should have been predictable, too, that such an unblemished record of wrongness would culminate in Kerry becoming the Secretary of State.

— Bud Norman