By Meeting with His Former Iranian Counterpart, John Kerry Undermined U.S. Policy and Encouraged Terror and Repression

Sept. 20 2018

In his recently published memoir, John Kerry mentions having met “three or four times” with the Iranian foreign minister Javad Zarif after his own term as secretary of state had ended. The purpose of these meetings was to reassure Zarif that the Trump administration will not last forever, and that Tehran should hold onto the nuclear deal until a more favorable government comes to Washington and relaxes the renewed sanctions on Iran. Noah Rothman comments:

This is a former secretary of state who all but confirmed that he is actively conducting what the Boston Globe described in May as “shadow diplomacy” designed to preserve not just the Iran deal but all the associated economic relief and security guarantees it provided Tehran. The abrogation of that deal has put new pressure on the Iranians to liberalize domestically, withdraw their support for terrorism, and abandon their provocative weapons-development programs—pressures that the deal’s proponents once supported. . . .

The Iranian threat will not be neutralized until [Iran] abandons its support for terror and the repression of its people, and that will not end until the Iranian regime is no more.

While Kerry’s decision to hold a variety of meetings with a representative of a nation hostile to U.S. interests is surely careless and unhelpful, it is not uncommon. . . . In 2007, [for instance], as Bashar al-Assad’s government was providing material support for the insurgency in Iraq, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi sojourned to Damascus to shower the genocidal dictator in good publicity. . . .

Honest observers must reluctantly conclude that the adage is wrong: American politics does not, in fact, stop at the water’s edge. It never has, and maybe it shouldn’t. . . . American political actors who contradict the president by conducting their own foreign policy should be judged on the policies they are advocating. In the case of Iran, those who seek to convince the mullahs and their representatives that repressive theocracy and a terroristic foreign policy are dead-ends are advancing the interests not just of the United States but all mankind. Those who provide this . . . autocracy with the hope that America’s resolve is fleeting are, as John Kerry might say, on “the wrong side of history.”

Read more at Commentary

More about: Iran, Iran nuclear program, Javad Zarif, John Kerry, Politics & Current Affairs, U.S. Foreign policy

Why President Biden Needs Prime Minister Netanyahu as Much as Netanyahu Needs Biden

Sept. 28 2023

Last Wednesday, Joe Biden and Benjamin Netanyahu met for the first time since the former’s inauguration. Since then, Haim Katz, Israel’s tourism minister, became the first Israeli cabinet member to visit Saudi Arabia publicly, and Washington announced that it will include the Jewish state in its visa-waiver program. Richard Kemp, writing shortly after last week’s meeting, comments:

Finally, a full nine months into Benjamin Netanyahu’s latest government, President Joe Biden deigned to allow him into his presence. Historically, American presidents have invited newly installed Israeli prime ministers to the White House shortly after taking office. Even this meeting on Wednesday, however, was not in Washington but in New York, on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly.

Such pointed lack of respect is not the way to treat one of America’s most valuable allies, and perhaps the staunchest of them all. It is all about petty political point-scoring and interfering in Israel’s internal democratic processes. But despite his short-sighted rebuke to the state of Israel and its prime minister, Biden actually needs at least as much from Netanyahu as Netanyahu needs from him. With the 2024 election looming, Biden is desperate for a foreign-policy success among a sea of abject failures.

In his meeting with Netanyahu, Biden no doubt played the Palestinian issue up as some kind of Saudi red line and the White House has probably been pushing [Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman] in that direction. But while the Saudis would no doubt want some kind of pro-forma undertaking by Israel for the sake of appearances, [a nuclear program and military support] are what they really want. The Saudis’ under-the-table backing for the original Abraham Accords in the face of stiff Palestinian rejection shows us where its priorities lie.

Israel remains alone in countering Iran’s nuclear threat, albeit with Saudi and other Arab countries cheering behind the scenes. This meeting won’t have changed that. We must hope, however, that Netanyahu has been able to persuade Biden of the electoral benefit to him of settling for a historic peace between Israel and Saudi Arabia rather than holding out for the unobtainable jackpot of a two-state solution.

Read more at Ynet

More about: Benjamin Netanyahu, Joseph Biden, Saudi Arabia, U.S.-Israel relationship