July 21st, 2014

Kerry and the “peace plan”

There’s a long, long article in TNR that purports to be “The Explosive, Inside Story of How John Kerry Built an Israel-Palestine Peace Plan—and Watched It Crumble.” It’s worth reading, but maybe not for the reasons the author intended it to be (full disclosure: I’ve only read about half of it so far, although I plan to finish it later today).

The problem with the article and so many other treatments of the subject is that its premise is that there’s a peace plan that can be built and that can crumble. And that someone like John Kerry has the smarts to do it, if it were possible to do it.

None is the case; the whole thing is a chimera.

At its conclusion the piece contains a more realistic appraisal of the situation, from Avi Dichter, former head of Israel’s Shin Bet:

The American effort will always be multiplied by the amount of trust between the two leaders. So if Kerry’s pressure represents the number five, and then Obama’s help brings the number to ten, it really doesn’t matter. You’re still multiplying it by zero. The final result will always be zero.

The amount of trust—or distrust—between the two leaders reflects the amount of distrust between the two countries and their peoples. Peace plans sometimes have been entered into by these two groups (or Israel and other Palestinian groups) for temporary tactical reasons, but that’s it. The Palestinian government does not recognize Israel’s right to exist and Hamas is a terrorist group dedicated to its destruction. But for various reasons both have become the darlings of Europe and the Left, and that helps tie Israel’s hands to a certain extent. But “partners for peace” they ain’t.

As for Kerry, I have loathed the man for well-nigh these forty-odd years, and that opinion began back when I was a liberal Democrat. Long before I thought Obama was a narcissistic leftist and a self-serving liar (long before I’d even heard of Obama, actually), I felt pretty much the same way about Kerry.

Here’s a great quote from the article that tells you a lot about Kerry:

[Netanyahu] opened the meeting by playing Kerry a video on one of his favorite topics: Palestinian incitement. It showed Palestinian children in Gaza being taught to glorify martyrdom and seek Israel’s destruction. “This is the true obstacle to peace,” Netanyahu told Kerry.

“It’s a major issue,” Kerry replied. “And nothing justifies incitement. I hate it. I’ve read Abbas the riot act about it. You know I have. But it is worthwhile to try to understand what life looks like from the Palestinian point of view.”

“This has nothing to do with the occupation and the settlements,” said Netanyahu.

Kerry pressed on: “When I fought in Vietnam, I used to look at the faces of the local population and the looks they gave us. I’ll never forget it. It gave me clarity that we saw the situation in completely different ways.”

Kerry went on to add that the situation in Israel “can’t be solved if you can’t see it how they see it.”

This is beyond inane on Kerry’s part. Who cares whether Kerry “hates” incitement, or whether he’s “read Abbas the riot act” about it? Certainly not Abbas. But that’s the way a narcissist like Kerry talks.

What’s more, understanding the Palestinians won’t help or change a single thing, and it’s a travesty that Kerry is saying that it will. I wonder whether he says that to the Palestinians, too; but even if he were to say it, it would be an equally useless statement. Understanding what the Palestinians want, and what they might stand to gain and lose from negotiating or failing to do so, and then what pressure can be brought to bear on them, is much more to the point.

Kerry was in Vietnam for barely four months over forty years ago and went home early, and his time there was spent on a Swift Boat. How many South Vietnamese did he get to encounter, and under what circumstances? And how could he possibly have a clue what they were really thinking when they looked at him (except for the ones he was shooting at), or why, or whether they “saw the situation in completely different ways” from him? How about the ones who fled the country after we left, or those who were killed or re-educated; how did they “see the situation”?

Kerry has long been fond of making sweeping pronouncements on what the South Vietnamese people wanted and didn’t want, and how they “saw the situation.” I guess he was a mind reader then, just as he’s a mind reader now. According to his 1971 Senate testimony on the subject, here’s what they thought:

We found most people didn’t even know the difference between communism and democracy. They only wanted to work in rice paddies without helicopters strafing them and bombs with napalm burning their villages and tearing their country apart…

So that when we in fact state, let us say, that we will have a ceasefire or have a coalition government, most of the 2 million men you often hear quoted under arms, most of whom are regional popular reconnaissance forces, which is to say militia, and a very poor militia at that, will simply lay down their arms, if they haven’t done so already, and not fight. And I think you will find they will respond to whatever government evolves which answers their needs, and those needs quite simply are to be fed, to bury their dead in plots where their ancestors lived, to be allowed to extend their culture, to try and exist as human beings. And I think that is what will happen…

I think that politically, historically, the one thing that people try to do, that society is structured on as a whole, is an attempt to satisfy their felt needs, and you can satisfy those needs with almost any kind of political structure, giving it one name or the other. In this name it is democratic; in others it is communism; in others it is benevolent dictatorship. As long as those needs are satisfied, that structure will exist.

It’s extraordinary to think that this man is our Secretary of State.

30 Responses to “Kerry and the “peace plan””

  1. Artfldgr Says:

    same as curing racism..

    if you murder all the jews, the problem goes away
    ergo the jewish solution

    if you murder all the white guys, or prevent their mates from having children, the problem goes away, ergo hate white guys (of which most jewish men are white)

    the oppressors do not have the right of defense, they only have the right to lay down and die. which i explained the doctrine and such years ago here…
    which is why reverse racism does not exist
    and that they tell me i married my wife not cause i love her and want a family with her, but to prove iam not racist and skew the body politic from disliking me

  2. T Says:

    Neo,

    Kerry is a walking talking demonstration of the great Progressive mothership of false premises: I am culturally, intellectually and morally superior to you. (Remember I said false premises.)

    I have mentioned before that I am from Pittsburgh — Heinz territory. It is a great psychic wound for many Pittsburgher’s that Therese Heinz re-married to such an intellectual, cultural and moral schlub as John Kerry (yes, it’s name-calling, but I call ‘em as they present themselves).

    Many people here on both sides of the political aisle had great respect for her late husband, John Heinz. Optics would indictate that it was more important for her to be married to a senator, any senator, than to anyone of quality.

  3. Lizzy Says:

    Every time I hear Kerry speak or read his statements I am also amazed he is our Secretary of State.

    I can only imagine what leaders from others countries think of America after meeting with him. Well, except for Iran, who has been quite open with their contempt for Kerry and Obama.

  4. parker Says:

    Interestingly, the Egyptian government is openly siding with Israel and against hamas. The pali horde, imo, is beyond even a smidgen of sympathy. They have spent 60+ years following corrupt and vile leaders, instilling blind hatred in 3 generations of their children, and refusing to do anything to better their lives being content to live off handouts from the West.

    There is only one one way road to peace in this ancient conflict: either the Jews are annihilated or the Jews kill millions of Muslims and destroy the will of the Muslims that survive to ever return to their senseless blood feud with the Jews and the rest of the West.

  5. Artfldgr Says:

    and for america, its colleges and so on

    Prof. Espenshade Runs From His Own Research

    http://www.mindingthecampus.com/2010/08/prof_espenshade_runs_from_his_1/

    Writing in the New York Times, Ross Douthat, citing both Nieli and Espenshade, emphasized that the Espenshade study provides statistical confirmation for what alumni of highly selective universities already know.

    The most underrepresented groups on elite campuses often aren’t racial minorities; they’re working-class whites (and white Christians in particular) from conservative states and regions.

    “For minority applicants,” Douthat noted, the lower a family’s socioeconomic position, the more likely the student was to be admitted. For whites, though, it was the reverse. An upper-middle-class white applicant was three times more likely to be admitted than a lower-class white with similar qualifications.

    i dont really give as crap any more
    i ahve nothing left to do but die
    and i have to wait for that while i get tortured

    finding crap like this out AFTER life is over for me makes it all the worse…

    i work with lots of kerry people and the ilk, they are absymall human beings full fo themselves and perfectly willing to violate morals they think thye have to display the amorals they ahve and hurt others

    im not qualified to comment any more
    nor am i able to have an opinion, its forbidden as i am forbidden permission to think.. .

    even neo couldnt save me… ha ha

    does anyone have popcorn? i just sit and watch then later, am gone… big deal… my ideas and opinions mean nothing, and its a waste of time and good air to voice them – and be punished, tortured, etc…

    bad day…

  6. KLSmith Says:

    It’s extraordinary to think how close he came to being our president. Though sometimes I think that if either Gore or Kerry had won – we probably would not have Obama as president. The trade would have been more than worth it.

  7. Ymarsakar Says:

    The Left never gives up. People think they got rid of one, but they regenerate. The Left will always be enemies of humanity. The only power greater than theirs, is Death itself.

  8. Matt_SE Says:

    @Artfldgr,

    You’re still qualified to pull the trigger, aren’t you? Then buck up…your “input” will be valued.

  9. Matt_SE Says:

    I’ve often wondered about the morality/immorality of waging war on civilians. If it is the civilians that elect madmen, then aren’t they the ones responsible? That’s what Germany did to England. That’s what the allies did to Dresden (among others). That’s what the U.S. did to Tokyo, Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
    That’s what every civilization in an existential crisis has done throughout history.
    This is done because it is the right and proper thing to do in war, when the other side is recalcitrant.
    This is the kind of war that was practiced before the world became too “civilized” for it. We have not been made stronger for it.
    I think Israel congratulates itself too much for its show of restraint.

    And after 3 generations of totalitarian indoctrination, I wonder how reasonable the average Palestinian can be.

    In which case, I wouldn’t cry if Gaza were turned into a wasteland.

  10. Alan F Says:

    I too have loathed John Kerry for 40 years. Even though I had turned against the Vietnam War, I had served in the 101st Airborne. From that perspective I found Kerry’s pontifical condemnation of soldiers loathsome. My loathing of him resurged during his 2004 run; I loved the swift boating of him.

  11. eve Says:

    Yes, Alan. Kerry deserved to be Swiftboated. It couldn’t have happened to a more deserving jerk.

  12. Sgt. Mom Says:

    I also detest Kerry – he made his political bones on accusing Americans in Vietnam of committing hideous atrocities – accusations that turned out to be false, and that he would then turn around and claim to be the honest, patriotic veteran in 2004, reporting for duty (and his salute was particularly inept – shudder!). The audacity of the man, thinking that what he did as part of the Winter Soldier hearings would have been forgotten, and military veterans would just tumble all over ourselves in our eagerness to vote for him… I live in San Antonio, which is a military town, without peer and above reproach, and I didn’t know a Vietnam-era veteran around who didn’t just about spit nails when they said his name.

    It could have been worse, though. They could have made him Secretary of Defense, which was the scuttlebutt before the administration anointed him as Secretary of State. I believe that even this administration realized that would have been an insult past bearing.

  13. Oldflyer Says:

    I can’t improve on Neo’s assessment. It sickens me every time I think of Kerry as a Naval Officer.

    I am not sure that I agree with KLSmith who said: “Though sometimes I think that if either Gore or Kerry had won – we probably would not have Obama as president. The trade would have been more than worth it.”

    I understand his point; but, I am not certain that either Gore or Kerry would not have been worse because they would bring more energy and focus to their toxic agendas. I think the only thing that saves us now is Obama’s lack of these characteristics.

  14. Richard Saunders Says:

    Come on, guys, stop being so down on Kerry — he’s the smartest man I ever heard of. After all, didn’t your mother ever tell you “It’s just as easy to fall in love with a rich girl as with a poor one?” And how many of us did that? But Kerry did it twice, and the second one is a billionaire!

  15. M J R Says:

    Alan F, 5:44 pm; eve, 6:14 pm –

    “McCarthyism” and “swiftboating” have entered the lexicon:

    “McCarthyism” purporting to mean, calling someone a communist when s/he is not;

    “swiftboating” purporting to mean, telling lies about someone such as John Kerry.

    Senator McCarthy was correct in the main about communist infiltration of government. He was sloppy in some instances, but his targets, if not communists themselves, were sympathizers and were security risks all the same — which in fact was Sen. McCarthy’s central point.

    As to “swiftboating”, isn’t it incredible how John Kerry is blandly assumed to be believed (by the mainstream media and dominant culture), as contrasted with the testimonies of dozens of honorably discharged men who served with Kerry? What’s wrong with this picture?

  16. James Says:

    Ah Neo, this man is a ghoul. He feeds on the bones and honor of the dead. I cannot really describe the anger this thing, this creature rouses in me.

  17. Mike H. Says:

    My one abiding unhappiness in life was that I helped clean up Phu Quoc. If we had left it dirty Kerry wouldn’t have been able to get the status of Splinter Hero!

    A Marine Platoon started an intelligence sweep and we provided shore support with 5″ 38s. They lost one and said that if we hadn’t been there they would have only had one return.

  18. KLSmith Says:

    Oldflyer: I see Gore and Kerry as useful idiots while Obama is a fellow traveler (albeit one pursuing a corporatist agenda). And the media would never have let them get away with what Obama has done.

  19. Beverly Says:

    Heads-up to anyone living withing range of New York (and Boston, for that matter): In NYC right now, at the Grolier Club (47 East 60th St., free) there’s an absolutely astounding exhibit of World War II artifacts, including handwritten materials from Churchill, Roosevelt, Stalin, Hitler, Mussolini, and many more; actual D-Day invasion plans, a real ENIGMA machine, propaganda posters, SS daggers, you name it.

    Curated by Kenneth Rendell, who runs this museum near Boston: http://www.museumofworldwarii.com/

    See the Virtual Tour at that site to get an idea of the astounding artifacts he’s collected. The exhibit in NY is over on August 2, so don’t dilly-dally!

  20. Beverly Says:

    Senator McCarthy was correct in the main about communist infiltration of government. He was sloppy in some instances, but his targets, if not communists themselves, were sympathizers and were security risks all the same — which in fact was Sen. McCarthy’s central point.

    As to “swiftboating”, isn’t it incredible how John Kerry is blandly assumed to be believed (by the mainstream media and dominant culture), as contrasted with the testimonies of dozens of honorably discharged men who served with Kerry? What’s wrong with this picture?

    Bears repeating!

  21. Ymarsakar Says:

    This is done because it is the right and proper thing to do in war, when the other side is recalcitrant.

    Military necessity requires that civilian casualties be used to end the war sooner. It’s not right and proper if people end up firebombing Japan, but Japan still refuses to surrender, requiring 1 million investment of American and Allied resources/lives.

    The difference between people who can make use of deaths in war to win, and people who just kill people to kill people, is the difference between mediocre military commanders and genius ones.

    The end result changes how much justification a nation’s missions and tactics are. Whether this is because of might makes right, or right makes might makes little difference.

    If the US kills 500 civilians, and the war ends saving 50000, that is correct and right. If the US kills 500 civilians and the war lasts longer, killing more people, then those deaths were in vain, pretty much useless.

    Like Vietnam. Like other things now.

  22. Artfldgr Says:

    MAt_se

    You’re still qualified to pull the trigger, aren’t you? Then buck up…your “input” will be valued.

    actually… not… i am deaf in one ear..
    though.. i have a marskman rating

    first time trap shooting i shot a 85 out of 100. without a scope i can consistently hit a quarter just under the distance i can see it… 100 feet to hit dimes…

    competition pool player… good breath control, focus, etc

    but i am out of this one
    not enough life or time left to have anything
    and shooting innocents is not my thing

    so i am just dead weight – which aint dead

  23. Artfldgr Says:

    That’s what every civilization in an existential crisis has done throughout history.

    yes.. up until the nuremburg trials and treaties where using such force would have our president in war crimes bracelets…

    so basically, its illegal to do what you listed
    part of just war

  24. Artfldgr Says:

    “McCarthyism” purporting to mean, calling someone a communist when s/he is not;

    while the man who invented the term, lattimore WAS A communist AND a spy, which is why he leveled and created the term

    sadly. mccarthy was just a target, for the most part most of what people attribute to him, he never did…

  25. Gringo Says:

    Bringing up the term “Swiftboating” reminds me of several tangential points about John F. Kerryman.

    Kerry tried to play both sides: honorable soldier who did his duty, and protester against the Vietnam War. When JFK’s protesting against the Vietnam War involved the slandering of soldiers- JFK’s comparing US soldiers to Genghis Khan comes to mind- we see the incoherence of of JFK’s positioning- better calling posturing. It is no accident that JFK later told us “I voted for it before I voted against it.”

    JFK is just as incoherent when it comes to Israel and the Palestinians. What a surprise. Yalie JFK is not exactly the poster child for the claim that the Ivy League is the home of the intellectually superior.

    A while back, a former soldier commenting on this blog made the point that some people who deserve medals don’t get them, while some people who don’t deserve medals get them. So no point arguing about JFK’s medal- was it medals?

    But we can make one point about JFK and his time in Vietnam. Many of us- myself included- gamed the system during the Vietnam War-draft era. Kerry presents himself as someone who didn’t game the system, but did his duty. Anyone who gets out of Vietnam after four months there, eight months short of his scheduled exit, for a medal awarded which involved wounds less grievous than I have suffered playing sandlot soccer or football, is rather adept at gaming the system.

  26. Bob From Virginia Says:

    Another factoid: Kerry thinks Tom Friedman is the last word in Middle East expertise.

    and

    The late Prof. Barry Rubin (RIP) noted that Kerry had a reputation as a slow boat among people who worked around him.

  27. southpaw Says:

    I also despise the walking caricature of Thurston Howell the Third. I would bet money he was getting a lot worse looks from the guys he served with than from the locals. If he did encounter any, it was most likely at the airport to carry his bags, and he stiffed the guy instead of tipping.
    John Kerry is an insufferable ass of the highest grade – you couldn’t pick a bigger jerk to represent Americans or American interests if you ran a national contest and offered a reward.

  28. FOAF Says:

    “I see Gore and Kerry as usefulless idiots”

    FIFY

  29. Ymarsakar Says:

    Kerry is a one person war criminal. And that’s only after 4 months in Vietnam. Imagine what he can do to the US after 10 years.

  30. Phil Dayton Says:

    I assume that Kerry’s understanding that he and the people in Viet Nam saw things differently ultimately led to a peaceful resolution? How did that Vietnam thing end anyways? Ergo, understanding that people see things differently means nothing in resolving the situation.

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.
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