And liberally quoting from David Gertsman's
John Kerry and the Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Week in DiplomacyI almost feel bad for Secretary of State, John Kerry. This really has been a brutal few days for him. There was the op-ed by Jackson Diehl John Kerry’s Middle East dream world
All this was before his weekend trip to Geneva for what became a failed attempt to close a deal with Iran on its nuclear program. Kerry’s conclusion: “I can tell you, without any reservations, we made significant progress.”Stipulated: The mission of the U.S. secretary of state is to tackle big problems diplomatically, even if it means taking on missions impossible. Still, it’s hard to think of a previous chief of Foggy Bottom who has so conspicuously detached himself from on-the-ground realities. ...If any one of Kerry’s dreams comes true, the world would be better off, so I hope skeptics like me will be proved wrong. If not, this secretary of state will be remembered as a self-deceiving bumbler — and his successor will have some large messes to clean up.
The op-ed inspired this tweet, from New York Times White House reporter Mark Landler, a big administration fan.
For those of us on tour with John Kerry , this is like getting a letter from Dad, cutting off the credit card
...Then there was Lee Smith in The Weekly Standard (citing a much-cited Ha'aretz article):
Haaretz reports that the administration misled Israel regarding the terms of the proposed interim agreement with Iran over its nuclear weapons program. One senior Israeli official explained that on Wednesday Israel had seen an outline that the Israelis “didn't love but could live with.” Thursday morning French and British officials, and not the White House, told the Israelis that the terms had changed and were much more favorable than what they’d been shown previously. “Suddenly it changed to something much worse that included a much more significant lifting of sanctions,” said the Israeli official. “The feeling was that the Americans are much more eager to reach an agreement than the Iranians.”When Kerry landed in Geneva Friday, only a few small details were left to sort out before striking an agreement. But the problem wasn’t the Iranian side, rather it was France that wouldn’t sign off on the “bracketed text” in the draft document. In other words, after misleading the Israelis, the administration had hoped to present the deal as a fait accompli. In scuttling the agreement, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius saved the day—for the time being.
Commenting on the same Ha'aretz article, Michael Doran tweeted:
If those allegations are true, then the US is guilty of of diplomatic malpractice of the first order.
But the French also understand that the sole reason Iran has a nuclear program is to build a nuclear weapon. They are not nonchalant about it. The secular republic has always been realistic about the threat posed by theocratic Iran. And they have come to care about nonproliferation too, in part because they belong to what is still a small club of nuclear states. Membership has its privileges.This now puts the French at the head of a de facto Axis of Reality, the other prominent members of which are Saudi Arabia and Israel. In this Axis, strategy is not a game of World of Warcraft conducted via avatars in a virtual reality. "We are not blind, and I don't think we're stupid," a defensive John Kerry said over the weekend on "Meet the Press," sounding uncomfortably like Otto West (Kevin Kline) from "A Fish Called Wanda." When you've reached the "don't call me stupid" stage of diplomacy, it means the rest of the world has your number.
...Reading through these articles what emerges is a portrait of a man who is ill suited for diplomacy.