Monday, September 09, 2013

John Kerry: I Love This Guy!

The way Secretary of State John Kerry backed into the proposal that Assad surrender his chemical weapons has convinced me he’s some kind of anti-war idiot savant.  

To me, he’s a Futurama mash-up: the iron-jawed obliviousness of Bender

 combined with the hapless shlubbishness of Zoidberg

and the ever-victorious loserman vibe of Fry.

I only hope that President Obama is crying tears of joy at the gift Big John gave him: a chance to sidestep the Syria attack, reboot the engagement process (maybe even get Russian and Chinese votes at the UNSC), and get the political bulls-eye off his back.

We’ll see what he does.

Meanwhile, apropos Susan Rice’s presser today, I was going to compare her Bombs Away advocacy to Condoleezza Rice’s legendary mushroom cloud threat under the heading, Same Shit Different Rice.

Indeed, in a rather desperate effort to convince the American public it had some skin in the game and we weren’t just talking about humanitarian do-goodery, she invoked the looming menace, per the Guardian liveblog:
Rice says it's in the US interest to conduct "limited" strikes against the Assad regime.
She said the chemical attacks in Syria are a "serious threat to our national security." 
She says she'll explain why "it is in our national interest to take limited military action to [deter] future use" of chemical weapons. 

Here's a Rumsfeld-esque phrase: "Opening a door to their use anywhere threatens the United States and our personnel everywhere."

Rice is starting to sound downright CHeney-esque. She says Assad gassing east Ghouta could "threaten our soldiers in the region and even potentially our citizens at home."

The abusive references to the UN, Russia, and the PRC, however, were pure Susan Rice:
It's just not going to happen now. Believe me, I know. I was there for all those UN debates. I lived it. It was shameful.

Three times we negotiated for weeks over the most watered-down language imaginable, and three times Russia and China double-vetoed almost meaningless resolutions.

So that’s the NSC.

The State Department made a valiant effort to stay on war-message, in the process inadvertently digging a hole by calling the Russians liars “for two years” (is gaffe-ing a prequalification for working at the State Department?):

Harf, the state department spokeswoman, underscores US skepticism of the talk coming out of Moscow and Damascus about a new quarantine of Syrian chemical weapons. "All we've heard today are statements from Russians and Syrians who've lied for the last two years..." Harf says.

She says the US has "serious and deep skepticism about this last statement."
"If we see any indication that this latest statement has any merit" we'll look at it, Harf says. But "everything we've seen from the Assad regime points in the opposite direction."

And then Hillary Clinton, who might have a firmer grasp of the politics, gave the chemical weapons hand-off a qualified thumbs-up (undoubtedly with the secret caveat that, like Saddam with his WMDs, the Syrian concession can always serve as the foundation for unallayable suspicions, demands for intrusive inspections, und so veiter).

If President Obama doesn’t grab this chance, he’s nuts.