Streetwise Professor

February 17, 2014

The Wages of Fecklessness: Obama and Kerry Get a Raise

Filed under: History,Military,Politics,Russia — The Professor @ 11:39 am

American foreign policy continues its triumphant march from humiliation to humiliation.  To the shock and amazement of the world (not really) the Syria “peace” talks in Geneva have failed.  Utterly.  So utterly that the Assad regime put the Opposition’s delegation to the talks on a terrorist list.

This left Obama’s foreign policy Sancho Panza, John Kerry, spluttering in impotent rage against Assad:

“It is very clear that Bashar al-Assad is continuing to try to win this (on) the battlefield rather than to (go) to the negotiating table (with) good faith,” said Kerry, speaking in the Indonesian capital during a trip to Asia and the Middle East.

That was clear before the talks began.  Reuters claims that it appears that Kerry is “trying to tighten diplomatic pressure on Assad.”  I’m sure the Chinless Ophthalmologist is quaking in his Guccis.

He is also spluttering against the Russians:

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry accused Russia on Monday of enabling the Syrian regime’s stepped-up military campaign by providing President Bashar al-Assad with more arms, undercutting efforts to find a diplomatic solution to the conflict.

The sharp criticism from Mr. Kerry reflected growing U.S. frustration with Moscow’s continued support of the Syrian president. Mr. Kerry said Iran and Lebanese Hezbollah have likewise increased their support for the Syrian regime, allowing him to expand his military campaign.

“Russia needs to be a part of the solution and not be contributing so many more weapons and so much more aid that they’re in fact enabling Assad to double down, which is creating an enormous problem,” Mr. Kerry told reporters at a joint news conference in Jakarta with his Indonesian counterpart. His comments came on the final stop of a five-day Asia tour.

Mr. Kerry said it was important for the international community to consider in the coming days “exactly what steps can now be taken in the face of this intransigence.”

Again, this was all known, and totally predictable, when Kerry was high-fiving The Tarantula in Geneva at the announcement of the talks oh-so-many deaths ago.

Speaking of The Tarantula, Lavrov had an answer for Kerry.  Short version: f*ck off.  Longer version:

In Moscow, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov hit back, citing “evidence that certain sponsors of the opposition are starting to create a new structure” bringing in Assad foes who have left the main opposition National Coalition.

“In other words, a course is being set to move away from the negotiations track and once again place bets on a military scenario,” Lavrov said at a joint news conference after talks with his Eritrean counterpart.

He also faulted the United States for failing to ensure the presence of a broadly representative opposition delegation at the Geneva talks, saying that Russia had done its part in getting Assad’s government to the table.

“Russia is always being urged to make more of an effort to resolve the Syrian conflict,” Lavrov said. “When we hear that Russia must take some steps, it’s necessary to remember one simple truth: We have done everything we promised.”

Given the failure in Geneva, Obama says he is “considering” new policy options, but according to the Reuters piece, provided no details.

Sure.  Take your time.  It’s not like people are dying or anything.

In point of fact, Don Quixote is too focused on Iranian windmills to pay much attention to Syria.  Indeed, the most reasonable inference is that he believes that doing anything that would undermine Assad would also undermine his Iran initiative, given that Assad is essentially a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Iranian Pasdaran.

But there is some good news for Kerry.  The Chinese are planning to build a replica of the Titanic, and to reenact the disaster.  So after retiring from public life (I won’t say service) he can apply for the furniture rearranging position.

Syria is just one example of Putin beating on Obama like a big bass drum.  There are many others.  Obama’s retiring ambassador to Russia, Michael McFaul, watched Putin’s drum solo for five years (and who took a few personal beatings of his own), but nonetheless thinks that Obama should strive for another Reset. Because, of course, repeating the same thing that has failed miserably is a sign of genius, not insanity.

Maybe for his next appointment should be as ambassador to Sweden, because he evidently has Stockholm Syndrome.

And here’s the sobering news people: Putin is on his good behavior now.  Wait until the cleanup after the closing ceremony at Sochi begins.  More on that later.



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  1. Kerry was also spouting off about green energy while standing in Indonesia which lives off coal exports, among other things. Yeah, that would go over well.

    Comment by Howard Roark — February 17, 2014 @ 6:38 pm

  2. @Howard. Spouting off is what Kerry does. Gawd it was embarrassing. Apocalyptic rhetoric about climate change, delivered in a hectoring tone to a country that is struggling to transition to modernity. Talk about the ugly American, the condescending let-them-eat-cake rich man.

    Puritanism hasn’t gone away. It has been displaced to things like environmentalism, spouted by people who would shriek in outrage at being called Puritans. But the impulse to control and dictate at the heart of Puritanism is there: only the God that must be worshipped has changed.

    The ProfessorComment by The Professor — February 17, 2014 @ 10:02 pm

  3. I’ve been suspicious of the so-called rogue elements of Syrian opposition purportedly tied to Al-Qaeda. It’s not a big secret that all terrorist organizations of the 20th century had one thing in common – their origin. They all been invented, originated, trained, funded, directed, and provided political support by USSR (later Russia.) The was true for German Marxist groups in 1970-es, Red Brigades in Italy, PLO, Algerian Front, Uighur movement against Chinese when Soviets and Chinese had their differences, and a slew of other terrorist groups. The same goes to Al-Qaeda. One former Soviet high-ranking official whom I had a few discussions back to 1990-es claimed that he personally saw Osama in Crimea in the 80-es. I am not sure whether to believe him but the timing of its sudden appearance can be better for Assad and for Russians. Now, they can start helping the Assad regime with impunity pointing to the opposing elements as vehemently anti-West and thus confusing the West.

    Comment by Eugene De Lattes — February 18, 2014 @ 3:52 pm

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