Is the press turning on John Kerry over his Mideast peace flops?

posted at 12:41 pm on July 29, 2014 by Noah Rothman

Secretary of State John Kerry must be frustrated.

He has yet to negotiate a peace, or even a cease fire, in the ongoing and bloody conflict in Gaza. Kerry’s scattershot and unfocused efforts have earned him the rebuke of his fellows in the Washington D.C. political and press establishments.

You can’t say he wasn’t warned. “The Israelis and the Palestinians are resisting Secretary of State John Kerry’s repeated offers to travel to the Middle East and try to help negotiate a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas,” The Daily Beast’s well-connected security reporter Josh Rogin wrote on July 13. “Experts on both sides believe he doesn’t have the credibility or ability to do any good if he shows up there.”

Along with the accomplished Eli Lake, Rogin followed that report up on Tuesday with a damning postmortem chronicling the failure of Kerry’s peace push.

When Kerry sent the Israel government his draft ceasefire proposal July 25, the Israeli cabinet rejected it unanimously and senior Israeli officials leaked several angry and nasty criticisms of Kerry to the Israeli press. Kerry’s meeting with the Turkish and Qatari foreign ministers in Paris on July 26 evoked another round of leaked quotes about Israel’s frustration with Kerry’s effort.

Of course, the Benjamin Netanyahu government in Israel was wary of Kerry’s efforts. Israel has been resisting Kerry’s criticism that their operations should focus more on avoiding civilian casualties and has groused that Kerry’s proposal would reward Hamas for launching barrages of rockets into Israel. Israeli officials have also disparaged Kerry in public and private ever since Kerry’s last Middle East peace push collapsed in April.

But anonymous Israeli officials were not the only ones grousing about Kerry’s diplomacy. Asharq al-Aswat, an Arab newspaper based in London, quoted a senior Palestinian Authority official over the weekend saying Kerry’s plan was an attempt to destroy the Egyptian ceasefire proposal.

Perhaps the unkindest cut into Kerry’s credibility as America’s chief diplomat came this week from Washington Post opinion writer and seasoned diplomatic journalist David Ignatius.

“A wiser course, which Kerry rejected in his hunt for a quick diplomatic solution, would have been to negotiate the cease-fire through the Palestinian Authority, as part of its future role as the government of Gaza,” Ignatius wrote.

Kerry’s initial plan was to support Egypt’s demand that Hamas accept a cease-fire. When Hamas balked at surrender and it was clear that Egypt lacked the clout to make the deal stick, Kerry turned to Turkey and Qatar, which as friends and financial backers of Hamas had more leverage. That put the deal first and a stable solution to Gaza’s problems second. The deal blew up anyway, victim of Israeli and Palestinian inability to get to yes.

By turning to Turkey and Qatar, Kerry also enhanced their position in the regional power game. That’s contrary to the interests and desires of the United States’ traditional allies, such as Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the moderate Palestinian camp headed by Abbas.

“It’s not clear why Kerry left the perception that he was prepared to sideline Egypt and push a ceasefire plan favored by Turkey and Qatar,” MSNBC’s Chuck Todd pondered on Tuesday. “Why didn’t he go back to Egypt? Try to get them onboard before announcing it?”

MSNBC accompanied Todd’s segment, in which he essentially denounced Kerry’s bungled approach to negotiating Mideast peace, with a chyron calling Kerry’s approach to diplomacy “words of uncertainty.”

On Tuesday, Netanyahu warned his fellow Israelis that the campaign in Gaza would likely be “prolonged.” Meanwhile, as Ed Morrissey noted, Hamas and the Palestinian Authority are signaling their willingness to accept a 72-hour rolling cease fire which could be extended, at least in theory, indefinitely.

“That would be a big step backwards for Hamas, if true,” Morrissey observed. Yes, but it would also be a victory for peace for which John Kerry could not claim any credit.

Kerry remains the only American Secretary of State in more than 20 years to fail to negotiate a cease fire or major peace accord in the Middle East. His failures only become more glaring when considering the view historians will take on Kerry’s approach to the job.

Kerry, the son of a diplomat, always wanted to make his mark on America’s foreign policy. It was this desire that motivated him to run for president in 2004. It was this desire that led him to lobby so hard for the position he currently occupies. With the proliferation of conflicts abroad, however, and his inability to accomplish even the base-level successes of his predecessors, Kerry’s tragic lot may be to go down in history as a failure in his tenure at Foggy Bottom.


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The talking horse is really dumb and in the open.

Schadenfreude on July 29, 2014 at 12:43 PM

Given a choice of blaming Obama for an utterly pathetic and failed foreign policy and blaming Kerry, they’ll protect their manufactured god-king Chicagojesus every time.

ConstantineXI on July 29, 2014 at 12:44 PM

Kerry’s tragic lot may be to go down in history as a failure in his tenure at Foggy Bottom.

How is this situation a tragedy? I don’t think you know what that word means.

Happy Nomad on July 29, 2014 at 12:47 PM

“Hey John, why the long face?”

(That one never gets old.)

Rusty Nail on July 29, 2014 at 12:47 PM

“Hey, C’mon, you guys, I really, really, really need this cease fire! Else my old lady, and the New York Times are gonna be all over my a** when I get home.”

Never send a dilettante, narcissistic gentleman sailor to do a man’s job.

orangemtl on July 29, 2014 at 12:47 PM

They expect good decisions from a guy who chose John “War on Wife” Edwards as his Veep running mate?

aquaviva on July 29, 2014 at 12:47 PM

Well, discussing Kerry is like watching Pond Scum…

We have a list of the 50 Most Beautiful people on Capital Hill!

I’m certain Rep. Rosa Delauro (D) is on that list!!

ToddPA on July 29, 2014 at 12:48 PM

The talking horse is really dumb and in the open.

Schadenfreude on July 29, 2014 at 12:43 PM

Le cheval qui parle français.

de rigueur on July 29, 2014 at 12:50 PM

The talking horse is really dumb and in the open.

Schadenfreude on July 29, 2014 at 12:43 PM

A horse is a horse, of course, of course,
And no one can talk to a horse of course
That is, of course, unless the horse is the famous Mr. K.

Go right to the source and ask the horse
He’ll give you the answer that you’ll endorse.
He’s always on a steady course.
Talk to Mr. K.

People yakkity yak a streak and waste your time of day
But Mister K will never speak unless he has something to say.

A horse is a horse, of course, of course,
And this one’ll talk ’til his voice is hoarse.
You never heard of a talking horse?

Well listen to this.

I am Mister K.

Maybe he just needs a new theme song.

HumpBot Salvation on July 29, 2014 at 12:52 PM

#ThisIsThatIdiotBush’sFaultForNotFixingItWhenHeHad

TheChanceAndIt’sMuchWorseNowThanItEverWasBeforeAndThat’sWhy

It’sSoHardAndItHasNothingToDoWithOurAdministration’s

CompetencyAndWe’reActuallySuperDuperAwesomeForMaintainingThings

AtThisLevelBecauseTheyCouldBeMuchWorseBecauseOfHowBushLeftThem

rogerb on July 29, 2014 at 12:53 PM

Le cheval qui parle français.

de rigueur on July 29, 2014 at 12:50 PM

:)

Schadenfreude on July 29, 2014 at 12:54 PM

lorien1973 on July 29, 2014 at 12:50 PM

Yglesias has to be an HA troll. He operates at about the same level.

Does Matthew Yglesias Ever Tire Of Being Embarrassingly Wrong About Everything?

NotCoach on July 29, 2014 at 12:58 PM

John “F’ing” Kerry, who was in Vietnam you know, is A failure. One of the group of failures. Dog Eater being the biggest failure of all.

That the failure stems from Obama and his Regime’s anti-Israel, pro-Hamas bias and strategy. The reason they are FAILING is because Israel refuses to rollover and surrender. The gall!

Obama and his Regime are the first overtly pro-Hamas, Jew Hating Regime in my lifetime. Don’t listen to their words, which are all lies anyway, look at their actions, and there is no other conclusion.

Meople on July 29, 2014 at 12:58 PM

“Experts on both sides believe he doesn’t have the credibility or ability to do any good if he shows up there.”

Nailed it!

And Johnny sooooooooo wanted a Nobel Peace Prize!

Hey! Maybe Johnny can get the NVA to back him up!

GarandFan on July 29, 2014 at 12:58 PM

#ThisIsThatIdiotBush’sFaultForNotFixingItWhenHeHad

TheChanceAndIt’sMuchWorseNowThanItEverWasBeforeAndThat’sWhy

It’sSoHardAndItHasNothingToDoWithOurAdministration’s

CompetencyAndWe’reActuallySuperDuperAwesomeForMaintainingThings

AtThisLevelBecauseTheyCouldBeMuchWorseBecauseOfHowBushLeftThem

rogerb on July 29, 2014 at 12:53 PM

#TL;DR

NotCoach on July 29, 2014 at 12:59 PM

“It’s not clear why Kerry left the perception that he was prepared to sideline Egypt and push a ceasefire plan favored by Turkey and Qatar,” MSNBC’s Chuck Todd pondered on Tuesday. “Why didn’t he go back to Egypt? Try to get them onboard before announcing it?”

Why even go to Egypt. Go straight to Saudi Arabia. Right now Egypt’s foreign policy is being dictated from Saudi Arabia. Cut out the middle man. Going to Egypt was a waste of kerry’s time and he knew it.

A lot has changed in the ME. Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Israel are BFF. Qatar and Turkey are Hamas BFF. Abbas doesn’t know who to trust. The Palestinian people are pawns in a game for geopolitical power.

The US is trying to figure out who the new players are, and how or if the old players still have a role to play. But I hope after this the US realizes that the only role all the countries involved see for it is that of hired help and weapon provider. They don’t give a crap about what the United States think.

We have proven over decades that as long as they buy our weapons or supply us oil, we will put up with anything.

coolrepublica on July 29, 2014 at 1:01 PM

MATT YGLESIAS: “Given his enormous achievements as Secretary of State, John Kerry has to be considered a leading contender for the 2016 nomination.”

lorien1973 on July 29, 2014 at 12:50 PM

These leftists are really living a fantasy……

John Kerry needs to go live in Tehran with Valerie Jarrett.

redguy on July 29, 2014 at 1:01 PM

Time to send him to the knacker.

Flange on July 29, 2014 at 1:02 PM

Before too long Kerry is going to be a republican in the eyes of the press.

jukin3 on July 29, 2014 at 1:02 PM

With the proliferation of conflicts abroad, however, and his inability to accomplish even the base-level successes of his predecessors, Kerry’s tragic lot may be to go down in history as a failure in his tenure at Foggy Bottom.

On the bright side, Kerry has neither abandoned an Ambassador and three others to their deaths,yet, or physically shot himself.

We do have to wonder if these failures will be seared into his mind like that Xmas in Cambodia?

Athos on July 29, 2014 at 1:03 PM

They use Kerry to channel to/from the Obama…

albill on July 29, 2014 at 1:03 PM

No.
This handful of feeble examples is not ‘turning’ on Kerry.
Th media is not going to turn on one of their own ideological tribe.
Particularly since he’s in the service of President Precious.

Dr. Carlo Lombardi on July 29, 2014 at 1:07 PM

Second look at Neville Chamberlain?

Cicero43 on July 29, 2014 at 1:09 PM

Kerry and Obama’s demand that Israel cease it’s TOTALLY JUSTIFIED war on a confirmed terrorist organization and set itself up for extermiantion is not the act of a friend. If there was ever a pretense that Obama was a friend to Israel. Obama and his policies are squarely in the Muslim Brotherhood camp and act openly against the only free country in the middle east. Israel would be wise to ignore Obama and Kerry and their demands, just like the rest of the world does.

Kuffar on July 29, 2014 at 1:10 PM

If Kerry really wants to make peace, he should volunteer to be a human shield in Gaza. It would show his bravery, and if it didn’t work, we would have the opportunity for a more competent Secretary of State.

Steve Z on July 29, 2014 at 1:11 PM

MATT YGLESIAS: “Given his enormous achievements as Secretary of State, John Kerry has to be considered a leading contender for the 2016 nomination.”

lorien1973 on July 29, 2014 at 12:50 PM

At first glance I thought that HAD to be a snark, and that someone had beat me to it. But utter failure seems to be a resume enhancement for dhimmicrats, so, why not? Kerry/Warren 2016!!

Harbingeing on July 29, 2014 at 1:11 PM

Botch

forest on July 29, 2014 at 1:15 PM

Openly siding with Jew killers will do that.

faraway on July 29, 2014 at 1:17 PM

Perhaps the IRS can help Kerry out of his current difficulty…after they finish helping out the HHS on their Obamacare website snafus?

workingclass artist on July 29, 2014 at 1:20 PM

Second look at Neville Chamberlain?

Cicero43 on July 29, 2014 at 1:09 PM

That would be Barack Obama.

But, with John eFfin Kerry in the room, Obama has assured that he is the smartest in the room…well, as long as there isn’t a potted plant present.

Athos on July 29, 2014 at 1:21 PM

Openly siding with child slave labor Jew killers will do that.

faraway on July 29, 2014 at 1:17 PM

fify

workingclass artist on July 29, 2014 at 1:21 PM

Second look at Neville Chamberlain?

Cicero43 on July 29, 2014 at 1:09 PM

That would be Barack Obama.

But, with John eFfin Kerry in the room, Obama has assured that he is the smartest in the room…well, as long as there isn’t a potted plant present.

Athos on July 29, 2014 at 1:21 PM

Joe Biden…potted plant

workingclass artist on July 29, 2014 at 1:22 PM

Best way to achieve peace in the Middle East:

Tell the Israelis that they can hit anybody they want and we won’t say or do a thing to stop them.

Then tell the world that we just did that.

fossten on July 29, 2014 at 1:24 PM

coolrepublica on July 29, 2014 at 1:01 PM

Y’know, sometimes posts above this handle don’t sound consistent with the online character present most of the time. Almost like several different people might have access.

butch on July 29, 2014 at 1:28 PM

Just had sirens here in Jerusalem. Huddled in our safe area. Heard a distant boom. They just announced that Iron Dome knocked it out.

To Obama, Clinton and Kerry, I say one ironic word: NUTS!

Shy Guy on July 29, 2014 at 1:31 PM

Y’know, sometimes posts above this handle don’t sound consistent with the online character present most of the time. Almost like several different people might have access.

butch on July 29, 2014 at 1:28 PM

We are the Borg. Your biological and technological distinctiveness will be added to our own. Resistance is futile.

- Excerpt from Star Trek: Next Generation

Turtle317 on July 29, 2014 at 1:32 PM

Best way to achieve peace in the Middle East:

Tell the Israelis that they can hit anybody they want and we won’t say or do a thing to stop them.

Then tell the world that we just did that.

fossten on July 29, 2014 at 1:24 PM

Exactly! Israel needs to stop listening to the Mooslim Brotherhood Regime in the U.S. and wipe Hamas out completely!

Meople on July 29, 2014 at 1:33 PM

Leave us alone

Schadenfreude on July 29, 2014 at 1:50 PM

“Leave us alone“

Schadenfreude on July 29, 2014 at 1:50 PM

Indeed!

Meople on July 29, 2014 at 1:58 PM

With the proliferation of conflicts abroad, however, and his inability to accomplish even the base-level successes of his predecessors, Kerry’s tragic lot may be to go down in history as a failure in his tenure at Foggy Bottom.

YAY!

Ward Cleaver on July 29, 2014 at 2:21 PM

Kerry remains the only American Secretary of State in more than 20 years to fail to negotiate a cease fire or major peace accord in the Middle East.

All such agreements have been costly failures due to the Pallies using each as a hudna during which they prepared for their next round of atrocities followed by posing as victims. Kerry merely cut out the middle man and failed right up front.

Hucklebuck on July 29, 2014 at 2:21 PM

Maybe he just needs a new theme song.

HumpBot Salvation on July 29, 2014 at 12:52 PM

Well, it’s still better than that guff Francis the Talking Mule was giving us.

Hucklebuck on July 29, 2014 at 2:25 PM

Smart Power!! ©
Don’t do stupid sh*t!
Great foreign policy chops, eh? Was this strategy (is this a strategy?) created by a golfer or something? This isn’t a junior prom, is it?

DublOh7 on July 29, 2014 at 2:35 PM

Barry reunited the Senate Idiots Club to a great degree for the Choom Gang.

And the media applauded.

formwiz on July 29, 2014 at 3:23 PM

This is a blame Kerry, don’t blame Hillary campaign.

Obama, and his media, blamed the predecessor all day long.

Can’t let that happen with Kerry/Clinton.

This is all about protecting Hillary.

Carnac on July 29, 2014 at 3:56 PM

Wow: Obama “Demands” That Israel Unilaterally Declare a Ceasefire;
Israeli Government Apparently Leaks the Transcript of the Conversation to the Press

Barack Obama: I demand that Israel agrees to an immediate, unilateral ceasefire and halt all offensive activities, in particular airstrikes.

Benjamin Netanyahu: And what will Israel receive in exchange for a ceasefire?

BO: I believe that Hamas will cease its rocket fire — silence will be met with silence.

BN: Hamas broke all five previous ceasefires. It’s a terrorist organization dedicated to the destruction of Israel.

BO: I repeat and expect Israel to stop all its military activities unilaterally. The pictures of destruction in Gaza distance the world from Israel’s position.

BN: Kerry’s proposal was completely unrealistic and gives Hamas military and diplomatic advantages.

BO: Within a week of the end of Israel’s military activities, Qatar and Turkey will begin negotiations with Hamas based on the 2012 understandings, including Israel’s commitment to removing the siege and restrictions on Gaza.

BN: Qatar and Turkey are the biggest supporters of Hamas. It’s impossible to rely on them to be fair mediators.

BO: I trust Qatar and Turkey. Israel is not in the position that it can choose its mediators.

BN: I protest because Hamas can continue to launch rockets and use tunnels for terror attacks –

BO: (interrupting Netanyahu) The ball’s in Israel’s court, and it must end all its military activities.

Oh.

My.

Resist We Much on July 29, 2014 at 4:01 PM

Wow: Obama “Demands” That Israel Unilaterally Declare a Ceasefire;

Resist We Much on July 29, 2014 at 4:01 PM

Israel needs to fly Obama and his Mooslim Brotherhood, well laid azz, the BIRD.

Meople on July 29, 2014 at 4:10 PM

Meople on July 29, 2014 at 4:10 PM

If it’s not a hoax that is.

Meople on July 29, 2014 at 4:12 PM

foolrepublica on July 29, 2014 at 1:01 PM

Y’know, sometimes posts above this handle don’t sound consistent with the online character present most of the time. Almost like several different people might have access.

butch on July 29, 2014 at 1:28 PM

Could also be some form of mental illness that comes and goes. Perhaps substance abuse.

slickwillie2001 on July 29, 2014 at 4:17 PM

Lurch has been a failure since before he went in the Navy. He was a failure in the Navy and in everything he has done since with one exception. He seems pretty good at conning rich widows in marrying him.

Quartermaster on July 29, 2014 at 4:26 PM

Perfect SOS for the regime – feckless, insincere, hubristic, narcissistic, clueless and historically ignorant. I could think of more, but I just ran out of adjectives.

vnvet on July 29, 2014 at 5:11 PM

By turning to Turkey and Qatar, Kerry also enhanced their position in the regional power game. That’s contrary to the interests and desires of the United States’ traditional allies, such as Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the moderate Palestinian camp headed by Abbas.

Excuse me if this has already been brought up, but… isn’t Qatar the country that we “entrusted” to keep an eye on the five released terrorists in the Bergdahl hostage exchange fiasco, but now has reports of the five thugs roaming free at their own will?

Wonderful….

KansasNavyDad on July 29, 2014 at 5:13 PM

Sending Kerry as Sec. of State is the same as sending a street person to the same post. His history tells a story that he loves himself and anyone covering their Vietnam experience with video shows what an ego maniac he is. It does not work in all cases, John.

mixplix on July 29, 2014 at 7:44 PM

Is the press turning on John Kerry over his Mideast peace flops?

More likely they are registering their displeasure with Obama for his having given them such a rancid lump of mutton fat to defend as his Secretary of State.

jbspry on July 30, 2014 at 2:20 AM

As inept and contemptible as Kerry’s efforts are, I must, as one who wholeheartedly supports the ass-whuppin’ currently being dealt Hamas by the Israelis, point out that Israel has been holding back against their natural impulse to strike out at their attackers for years, and now that the Palestinian sh*t has hit Israel’s self-preservational fan, it would be hard for anyone to talk them down.

jbspry on July 30, 2014 at 2:56 AM