Ed made a strong case yesterday for why Trump has little to gain but virtually nothing to lose by pulling out of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). Neither of those choices does much about John Kerry’s shadow diplomacy gumming up the works, though. Kerry’s ongoing involvement in foreign affairs keeps getting stranger and stranger the more we learn about it, and it’s not just the Iran deal that he’s got his fingers into. Most recently, we found out that the former Secretary of State has been in direct contact with the Palestinians, signaling that their position vis-à-vis Isreal could be significantly improved if they just wait Trump out for a couple of years until he can swoop in and rescue the Middle East peace process by becoming president himself. (Daily Mail)
Former Secretary of State John Kerry recently told a confidant of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas that he is considering a second run for the presidency in 2020.
Kerry ran unsuccessfully against President George W. Bush in 2004.
His comments, reported by the Israeli newspaper Ma’ariv, came during a London discussion about the Middle East peace process with Hussein Agha, a Lebanese academic who is close to Abbas.
Kerry, 74, said his advanced age wouldn’t be an impediment to mounting another White House bid, and urged Agha to tell Abbas to ‘stay strong’ and ‘play for time’ while Trump is in the White House.
The full report is fairly stunning, not least for the brazen claims that Kerry is putting forward with scant evidence to back them up. He reportedly told Abbas pal, Hussein Agha, that, “he could broker an Israeli-Palestinian peace process” that was far superior to Trump’s plan. Really? I may need to check my calendar to be positive, but didn’t Kerry already have four full years to work out a deal between Israel and the Palestinians? Nothing seemed to come of that except for vastly deteriorated relations between Israel and the United States, with Hamas still actively digging tunnels and firing missiles at our ally. Granted, part of that could be the result of directions he had to take from Obama, but if he had some brilliant plan back then couldn’t he have suggested it?
There’s also the question of how seriously Abbas should take any claims by Kerry that he could take the White House in 2020. I’m not saying that Kerry isn’t still a popular and sympathetic figure on the left, but in the current political climate I think his candidacy would face a serious uphill climb. Kerry would be 77 by the time he was sworn in and it’s tough to see the Democratic base wanting a white man of that age as their candidate. If that’s the direction the party was going they’d probably nominate Joe Biden, who is far more charismatic and generally likable.
I realize there’s still a lot of talk about the Logan Act in reference to Kerry’s recent activities but I’m not going to spend a lot of time on that one. John addressed it yesterday, and besides the fact that nobody has ever been successfully prosecuted under that law, there are questions as to whether it would be a violation of the First Amendment to reign him in that way. Still, this back-room dealing should rightly leave the public feeling nervous. We still only have one President at a time and Kerry doesn’t represent the current administration.