John Kerry’s Peculiar Priorities

Editor’s note: The graphic on the left is created by our IllustWriter Bosch Fawstin. Visit his site here.

Al Qaeda and its affiliates are running all over North Africa and the Middle East while remaining a serious threat to Pakistan and Afghanistan. Approximately 70,000 Syrians are dead in a civil war exploited by Iran, Russia and Islamist jihadists.  Egypt is an economic basket case, ruled by an increasingly unpopular authoritarian Islamist regime. Iran is getting ever closer to achieving its nuclear arms ambitions. North Korea has just exploded its third and most powerful nuclear bomb and is also developing inter-continental missile technology, which its military has said is “targeted” for the United States.  China is engaging in cyber attacks on U.S. companies and government agencies. The “reset” of relations with Russia is reset in reverse.

In short, Secretary of State John Kerry assumes his office facing some of the most challenging foreign policy issues in a generation. One might think that his first major foreign policy address would deal with the clear and present dangers facing the United States and the free world today, such as the proliferation of nuclear arms into the wrong hands, the Arab Spring-Turned-Winter or global terrorism, which cost Ambassador John Christopher Stevens and three other Americans their lives last September 11th.

But that would be too much to ask. Instead, Kerry decided to use his speech on February 20th at the University of Virginia to indulge in clichéd generalities about the importance of State Department foreign “investments” (i.e., foreign aid), promotion of American values abroad, and the need to tackle climate change. He also threw in for good measure a warning about budget cuts and the looming sequester.

“Some might ask why I’m standing here – why I’m starting here – a Secretary of State making his first speech in the United States,” Kerry said. “They might ask, ‘Doesn’t diplomacy happen over there, overseas, far beyond the boundaries of our own backyard?'”

A good question, but John Kerry gave an answer that is more fitting for a high school social studies teacher:

The reason is very simple: I came here to underscore that in today’s global world, there is no longer anything foreign about foreign policy. More than ever before, the decisions we make from the safety of our shores don’t just ripple outward – they also create a current right here in America….

In this age, when a shrinking world clashes with calls for shrinking budgets, it’s our job to connect the dots for the American people between what we do over there and why it matters here at home – why the price of abandoning our global efforts would be exorbitant – and why the vacuum we would leave by retreating within ourselves will quickly be filled by those whose interests differ dramatically from our own.

Kerry said that before he embarks on his first trip abroad this weekend it was important to speak at home about the importance of our “investment” in foreign aid.  Never mind the many billions of dollars wasted on corrupt regimes, failed assistance programs, a bloated United Nations, etc.  More tax dollars for foreign aid is an investment essential to helping our businesses compete abroad, he argued.

“Eleven of our top 15 trading partners used to be beneficiaries of U.S. foreign assistance,” Kerry said.  Whether he was including in this total aid from the Marshall Plan to re-build Europe after World War II was not clear, although he mentioned the Marshall Plan towards the end of his speech. But one thing is for sure. The aid we are squandering today in the underdeveloped world is going to do little more than create more dependency.

Kerry also singled out a number of countries where he claimed the State Department was instrumental in obtaining foreign purchases and investments that helped American companies. For example, he heralded the “success in Canada, where State Department officers there got a local automotive firm to invest tens of millions of dollars in Michigan, where the American auto industry is making a remarkable comeback.”

Ironically, Kerry’s State Department could return the favor to Canada very quickly by giving final approval to the long-stalled Keystone pipeline to transport oil from Canada to the U.S. Gulf Coast. Canada is the United States’s most important trading partner. Kerry has a long-standing interest in the pipeline and will be personally leading the State Department’s review of the project. The first foreign leader Kerry met with as Secretary of State was with Canada’s foreign minister, John Baird, in early February, with whom he reportedly discussed the Keystone pipeline project.  However, Kerry gave no indication which way he was leaning on the recommendation he will eventually make to President Obama.

Recall that Kerry told his University of Virginia audience how important it is for the State Department “to connect the dots for the American people.”

Let’s help him connect some dots of his own regarding the Keystone pipeline. The pipeline project would connect to thousands of more jobs for Americans. It would increase our connection with our neighbor to the north, rather than alienate them, and connect our supply of oil to a friendly, reliable source.  It would help disconnect us from dependence on the volatile Middle East for oil. Less dependence on OPEC will enhance our national security.

What is preventing Secretary of State Kerry from connecting these dots?  His hyper-focus on climate change, which he said “may be the only thing our generations are remembered for” if we don’t rise to the challenge.

Kerry has been on the forefront of the climate-change-is-a-national-security-threat theme for years. In July 2009, for example, then-Senator Kerry convened a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing to focus on how climate change was supposedly linked to national defense.  At the hearing, Kerry called climate change “a grave and growing threat to … America’s national security.” The committee heard testimony on the specter of “climate conflicts,” and Kerry himself compared the threat to 9/11. In his first major speech as Secretary of State at the University of Virginia, he linked climate change to “standing up for American jobs and businesses and standing up for our American values.”

Endangering an already fragile economy with immediate drastic measures to deal with a complicated, multi-faceted long-term problem does little to help our national defense or to create more American jobs. Holding up a favorable recommendation on the Keystone pipeline because of its possible impact on climate change is counter-productive, since Canada will only turn to environmentally unfriendly China to purchase its oil.

Finally, Kerry couldn’t resist using the phrase “world citizens” in his University of Virginia speech. It is reminiscent of his declaration during the 2004 presidential campaign that America’s decision to go to war must pass “the global test” – whatever that means.

Let’s hope that Kerry’s debut speech as Secretary of State is not indicative of how he will perform on the global stage. But with the radical Obama administration behind him, the outlook is pessimistic.

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  • AdinaK

    The American people can no longer deny, the hands steering the ship of state are anti-American to their core. If this wasn't the case, would the Commander-in-Chief have appointed this duo, let alone Kerry, a man who sees the world through the same prism as his wife, Teresa Heinz, the head of the Tides Foundation, one which is also in league with George Soros –

    Adina Kutnicki, Israel

    • Glennd1

      Brilliant, penetrating analysis…Not. I wonder, will political thugs like you ever understand that "leftists" think you are just as morally bankrupt as you do them? That they have an entire framework of thought to base that on? You see, by not granting that they are acting in good will, you sink to their level. They see the world very differently than people on the right do – so what? That makes them anti-American? They do see a very different role for the U.S., sort of like a global Nanny, mirroring the domestic Nanny-state.

      What's even funnier is that you really want the ideas of Kerry to win the day. He's fighting for continued meddling around the world. We don't give money out of the goodness of our hearts, we give money to create political outcomes that we think are desirable. Like the aid we've given to Israel and Egypt for 30+ years guaranteeing the Camp David accords.

      People get the impression I'm anti-Israel on this site, but really, I'm anti-interventionist. I do think we need to be able to project our power globally to ensure free trade, and even offset our great rivals such as China and Russia. However, we should stop everything else. Forget Africa and most of Asia and the Arab and near/mid-east. We don't create stability, have many enemies (the ultimate test of our foreign policy) and spend vast sums creating these outcomes. Forget Israel. Ask yourself an honest question, if Israel were to cease existing tomorrow, how would the average American be affected? How would they even notice? I get the drift that you are formerly associated with Israeli intelligence, you should know better tha most that the U.S. has many sources of intelligence aside from Israel in the region and would not be 'blind' without Israel

      Just the aid to Israel and Egypt could fund the development of an additional carrier group or two – the most fearsome projection of military might and destructive power known to man. I'd rather spend the energy pressing back against China everywhere – they are a global, real threat to us. Enforce Japan's claims to those islands, and amp up our cyber campaign against them. You see, the Chinese Communists gain great favor with the Chinese people by being seen as pressing us back, as being aggressive towards us, without consequence.

      If we leave Islam, the Arabs and the mideast alone, they will go back to fighting themselves. It's amazing that people here who spend so much time prattling on and on about Islam don't even understand what Bin Laden was up to. He – and others – saw the disconsolate lot of the average Muslim man. They saw how culturally they had been beaten into submission. He saw how fractured they were, but also saw how the rallying cry of Jihad against the infidel-invader lifted the spirits and focused the energies of Muslims. Adina should know this – she's some ex-spook, right? – why would Bin Laden attack us in the way he did on 9/11? Those attacks would not do any lasting damage to our country, but were incredibly provocative. He knew that there would be a response in Afghanistan – Iraq was seen as a bonus. He wanted to inflate the perception of the U.S. as the invader, on a 'crusade'.

      I'm not saying we should not have gone to Afghanistan. I'm saying yes, we should have gone, and we should have killed every last Taliban we could find and never have let Osama flee over the Paki border the way we did, even if it meant nuking Tora Bora. But then we should have left. We should have simply just let them go back to their tribal, warlordish culture. By staying, we supported the narrative of Bin Laden. We are so stupid, all we've done in the past decade is vastly increase the power of Salafists and Al Qaeda. Al Qaeda is 7 times larger now, and holds more territory.

      In other words, Bin Laden was playing chess while most right-wingers are playing checkers. But admit it, Adina, you love the U.S. deeply involved in the region. and even the 'war on terror' because you can conflate the Palestinians with the Islamist threat. I'm no leftist, just an American who's actually loyal to Americas interests first.

      • John Stone

        I am going to take a shot at your version of the world, only with my nuance thrown in.

        The semi-secret truth about Israel is that our support for the country arises for reasons of domestic politics. That is, it is internal to the US and not really a foreign policy calculation. If at some time in the future we drop support for Israel it would be the same thing, domestic politics. Hence it is misleading to think of our support as a foreign policy mistake because it is not driven by foreign policy considerations, not really.

        Somebody should push back against China for the sake of global stability, but we should not be proactive in this area. We get involved only with the support of the other nations in the region. Never give somebody else more help than they want, whether nation or person. Because if you do get proactive it comes off as inappropriate meddling.

        There is no reason to assign some special or complicated reason for Arab terrorism. Islam is Terror-Are-Us, always had been, and perhaps always will be. It is a predatory cult, never at peace with its neighbors. Get involved with those people, allow them access to your domestic society, and terrorism follows. This is a clever ‘chess’ game only if routinely violent and brutish behavior is deemed clever.

        The Middle East,
        It does seem that we meddle in the Middle East more than we should, to our determent. In this particular area Bush was worse than Obama, it would seem, but both of them overreach.

        Left and Right,
        The way it works out is that the right is on our side and the left is on the side of its agenda. When the left sallies forth into the world, it gets involved with other nations and societies that are for themselves. One might hope that an expansive agenda of the sort the left carries would improve things, but more commonly the results are damaging. The first big screw up following this leftist agenda approach was the unhappy peace produced by Woodrow Wilson at the close of WWI, and it has been like that ever since. The lefties are always pushing some agenda that seems like a good idea, but fails to function on implementation. They just screw things up and usually to our determent.

        The only reason for going into Afghanistan was revenge. Perhaps worth doing but otherwise the place was only a staging area for the terrorist attack. It was mostly or entirely Saudi citizen funded and Saudi nationals were the majority of those who were involved. What a shame we did not simply encourage the Afghans to go back to their tribalism, and you know, go back to fighting each other. Once again it was overreach, excessive meddling.

        • Glennd1

          Do you realize how stupid you are? Reading your words, I imagine some kind of lower primate, slapping the keys, howling and screeching as it hammers out idiocy, so simplistic, so obviously uninformed by actual study of the issues and yet presented as though it’s some blazingly insightful set of observations about the world. Here’s a wake up call: Your “analysis” is an 8th grade level spin combined with right wing agit prop. You might be able to get a conservative talk show host in some third rate radio market, but other than that, what you wrote is useless and laughable. Truly, and you are completely unaware of it. You aren’t even smart enough to be embarrassed to write such things.

          Please, do the world a favor. Stop posting comments. Start reading actual history books and and articles that don’t come from right wing blogs. And also, please don’t ever reproduce or vote again, okay? Thanks.

          • John Stone

            So, you are not pro or anti Israel after all. You are just a troll. I am somewhat tempted to study your insults to see if there is some pattern to them. But I doubt it would be worth the trouble, so I will pass.

            Anyway, have a nice day troll. (That is, if trolls can have a nice day.)

          • Drakken

            Glenn is the perfect example of the left and why we on the right can no longer deal with these Quislings in a pleasant manner, play by the same rules these useful idiots play by with greater force than what is given, they will fold like a deck chair in a hurricane once they are shown the error of their ways, no more Mr. Nice guy nonsense.

          • trickyblain

            Wow. Not sure I read the same reply as you did. Surely there are some (many?) posts on this website that fit your description, but — agree or disagree — this was not one of them and did not deserve such an angry, ugly retort.

          • Steve

            So Glenn I assume that you are getting your information from left wing blogs. Is this what makes you smarter than everyone else? It does seem to make you more angry.

        • EthanP

          I agree except your 1st point. Many pols support Israel who don't have to answer to Jewish voters. Israel became a US ally AFTER many Arab nations went to the Soviets. Prior to the Nixon administration the USA had been neutral at best, and often hostile. Indeed, the Liberty attack was caused by the fact that she was, at LBJs orders, intercepting Israeli communications then transmiting them to a British (very anti Israel) base in Cyprus for transmission to Jordan. Jordan's army was at that time commanded by an egyptian genreral. Thus there are many strategic reasons to support Israel. Or do you think any of the Arab nations have EVER been real friends?

    • EarlyBird

      Adina, the only thing you care about is the US being Israel's lapdog, and regularly slander the US president on this board. What a self-promoting weasel you are.

      • Drakken

        Earlyidiot, the only thing you care about is groveling on your hands and knees to your muslim masters, what a little dhimmi you are. Adina has more spine that you will ever have jellyfish.

      • Marc

        Ouch bird. Do you always get upset when you don't agree with someone?

      • JacksonPearson

        Go here to learn more about Adina.
        You just might learn something?

    • JacksonPearson

      Every Secretary of State wants all the Santa Claus money they can get.. Hanoi John Kerry is no different than the rest of the moochers that occupied that position. The bottom line of his whiny message is, don't cut him back, but give him more dollars to redistribute world wide.

  • Mary Sue

    Yeah, I bet John Baird is going to find out real fast just how much of a schmuck John Kerry is, if he hasn't figured it out already.

  • pierce

    Just imagine what would have happened had John Kerry defeated George W in 2004. An absolute disaster. I am glad I only know the name "George Soros", for if John and Teresa are his disciples, god help us. Do the Kerry's smoke the funny tobacco? No practicality to either of them.

    • EthanP

      The real "god" of all of this is Saul Alynsky. Soros only thinks he's "G-d". Barak and Hillary are actual disciples. But Soros does provide hundreds of millions of dollars with groups like Move on, Southern Poverty Law Center and J Street. There are many others. Plus he has these type of groups in Europe and Israel.

  • Asher

    The Left and the global Islamists are all in it together…changing the landscape of America, and forming the One World government…..even some Republicans are part of the scheme…they will find their campaigns unfunded by conservatives too, nobody is buying the fact that they couldn't stand up and fight for values and against Communism!

  • clarespark

    Read DEAD AID by Tambisa Moyo. It is short and reveals the corruption of foreign aid to Africa as currently practiced. On the "international community" as a Wilsonian substitute for international law, see my essay…. "Multiculturalists and Wilsonians can't diagnose 'the new antisemitism..'"

  • Lentenlands

    Old skull and bones 322 – he'll do what they the new world order controllers tell him to…

  • Rostislav

    You know, in my USSR we also had a lot of the same ironical or indignant reactions about our Central Committee's new decisions, new bureaucrats and new spending plans – the only difference with the present American situation is purely technological: we discussed it in our tiny kitchens and Americans discuss it in the giant Net. Nevertheless, the result – as we all see it – is similar, both in case of the kitchen commentaries and of the Internet ones, because Communists never care about any discussions, be they technically obsolete or innovative. The only thing they do care about is resistance, – not irony or indignation. Let's face the facts: your voters have permitted the victory of the clearly Communist regime, and there is no resistance at all in Congress or elsewhere, so now you just have to get accustomed to the faces of all kinds of Kerries – and, naturally, to the delicious taste of kitchen-irony: it is so sweet! Rostislav, Saint-Petersburg, Russia.

    • kasandra

      Thank you for your keen and correct analysis. The resistance will come only when facts demonstrate to a majority of the American populace the folly of its ways in voting this regime into office twice. As John Adams and, I believe, Vladimir Ilyich (or maybe it was Stalin) said, "Facts are very hard things."

  • RiverFred

    Kerry won't have to be concerned about suppressing climate change after Iran explodes a few nukes on us. Where is his priorities?

  • EthanP

    Kerry, Hagel and Brennon seem to have NO concept of the real world. Thus they are frighteningly inept. It's either that, or they are traitors seeking to damage their own country. I would prefer to believe it's the former. However past statements by and activities by Kerry and Hagel convince me it's the latter. As such they are well qualified to serve their Alynskyite master.

  • Ar'nun

    As a life long Massachusetts resident (I don't know why either!!!) I am very familiar with this Tax System abusing fraud. Never have I heard him give a speech with so much enthusiasm except fro when he thought it was his turn to be POTUS. He is very excited by this new title. Nothing gives a creep like Kerry more happiness than his own importance.

    This is going to be the longest 4 years ever.

  • Drakken

    What a perfect trifecta of diaster, Brennan(CIA)Hagel(defense)Kerry(state) . I say get out the lawnchairs and favorite cocktail and watch this abortion on steroids come to pass, let world events eat these morons for lunch, nothing short of the perfect storm of diaster will change the publics minds and atitudes more than when it reaches their wallet,families and backyards.

    • John Stone

      We are headed in the wrong direction in so many ways.

  • WilliamJamesWard

    It is so wonderful to know that our American National conserns are tied to a fatuous and
    absurd fraud like climate change. I am sure that Kerry will take a few months to see if
    asteroids and meteors hurteling towards Earth are cause by global warming or the
    new canard climate change. How blessed we are to have the Obama regeme behind
    American interests and their beneficient bankrolling of our deadliest enemies. However
    they seem to be a covetous and self serving bunch trying to corner the market on stupid,
    it overlaps with insanity while America devolves with hyperventilating communist, socialist
    and Islamist thugs laughingly spending America into oblivion…….we must thank Kerry.


    Well Stanley, that's another fine mess you've gotten us into.

  • LeftistLament

    For God's sake… will we ever be rid of these shallow scourges on humanity? Kerry, the Clintons, Pelosi, Obama… all plagues on the rear ends of societal evolution, or rather, societal regression.

    John Kerry should just retire and assume his rightful place with his familiar kin on the banks of Easter Island!

  • welldoneson

    Given that, according to science, man's CO2 is not a factor in climate change, it seems very odd indeed that any secretary of state, let alone the U. S. secretary of state, should be giving top priority to climate… until you realize that the whole point of the multi-billion dollar "man did it" campaign is to convince voters to accept higher taxes, higher prices, and more restrictive regulation, AND more gov't spending on "green projects".
    The mere fact that those green projects involved friends of gov't and almost always produce nothing means nothing to people like Kerry… after all, if the constitution of his country means nothing to him, what would?

  • BlowbamaIsADouche

    Just what the F** has Swillary Clinton, the EX- SUCKretary of Hate been doing the past 4 years????? How are the lazy, apathetic, freeloading American public turning a blind eye to this?? It absolutely BOGGLES!!!!! Blowbama is a complete and total A**HOLE SOB!! What an America-destroying POS. I would not believe this could be happening if it were anywhere else…Brain dead JACKA**ES!!!


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