Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Opinion: Kerry’s Political Dilemma - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
Select Page

There can be no doubts about the intentions of US Secretary of State John Kerry. From his actions as head of the US State Department, it is clear that he is a well-intentioned man. Based on these good intentions, he is always roaming the world, scarcely spending anytime with his family. This is the thought that crossed my mind when I saw him a few weeks ago in New York.

However, as far back as my journalistic memory goes, I cannot recall a US Secretary of State with such a long history of failure and missed opportunities. To date, he has failed to make good on any of his promises or achieve any of his projects. The problem with Kerry is that he is overly optimistic, in contrast to the diplomatic reservation and political realism often demonstrated by other politicians.

Every issue that Kerry has promised to address remains ongoing: from mediation efforts in Palestine, Syria, Ukraine and Lebanon to a host of other issues across the globe.

So, what can we attribute Kerry’s weak performance to?

Simply put, Secretary of State John Kerry is representing a weak US administration. This weakness follows him, wherever he goes. He arrives in Geneva to represent a capital with no political capital. He visits Baghdad to represent an administration that lacks decision-making. He shuttles between Tel Aviv and Cairo as a mediator with no real clout.

Kerry cannot prove his zeal as long as he represents a president who never stops going back on his words. Barack Obama’s weak foreign policy is weighing on the deteriorating situation across the world. Europe is becoming increasingly embroiled in conflicts, going the way of the Middle East. Even Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu did not heed the calls from Washington—Tel Aviv’s greatest ally—to halt the Gaza conflict, continuing to set the Gaza Strip ablaze. In addition to this, Washington’s position on Egypt has changed over the course of the past three years in a funny, or sorry, manner, demonstrating America’s confused vision and weak foreign policy.

Kerry’s predecessor Hillary Clinton was able to cover for the flimsy US administration she represented with the glitter and glamor of the First Family. But Kerry is marred by the confusion of the US administration and the absence of the president. Obama did not even bother to issue a statement regarding the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) forcing Mosul’s Christians to flee. Obama’s increasingly isolationist policy is damaging Kerry’s credibility, as he continues to seek to solve these crises but is ultimately unable to do anything. This may irrevocably damage Kerry’s future political career.

As I said, Kerry is a well-intentioned man, but we need more than good intentions.

Samir Atallah

Samir Atallah

Samir Atallah is a prominent Lebanese journalist, author and political analyst.

More Posts