U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is on his way to Cairo, as of this writing, to attempt to negotiate yet another ceasefire. His journey is a thoughtless, and no doubt narcissistic, waste of U.S. diplomatic capital, since after two unilateral Israeli ceasefires that Hamas blithely ignored, it is clear that military pressure on Hamas, not diplomatic pressure on Israel, is the only way to stop the violence. This is a war Hamas started, and still wants.
Kerry was caught Sunday morning on a “hot mic” as he prepared to be interviewed on Fox News Sunday. In a conversation with an aide on his cell phone, Kerry criticized Israel’s military actions in Gaza: “hell of a pinpoint operation,” he said sarcastically. It was an odd remark, since Israel has not described its own actions in those terms, and in fact was well into an intense ground war to remove Hamas terror tunnels by the time Kerry spoke.
The purpose of Kerry’s quip was not just to criticize Israel, but to elevate his own importance. He followed up his remark about Israel by telling the aide: “We’ve got to get over there…we ought to go tonight. I think it’s crazy to be sitting around.” Actually, given the failure of previous ceasefire attempts, and the fact that a ceasefire at this point would allow Hamas to preserve its terrorist infrastructure, going to Cairo is in fact the “crazy” move.
Kerry does not understand that. He also does not understand the nature of the enemy Israel is facing: in the formal portion of his Fox News Sunday interview, Kerry said that “it is important for Hamas to be reasonable and understand,” as if Hamas wants peace and accepts it as an inevitable proposition. It is the same obtuseness that Kerry displayed when criticizing Russian president Vladimir Putin for “19th century rules” in the Crimea.
As Obama administration figures go, Kerry is probably the most sympathetic towards Israel, or is at least seen that way. But he is clueless about Middle East, displaying his ignorance earlier this year in his address to the AIPAC Policy Conference in Washington, D.C., and again on Fox this week. Perhaps he means well, but his “hot mic” moment revealed an administration that is obsessed with Gaza casualties–not with the bigger picture.
It is frightening that the U.S. is led by such people–though not surprising, perhaps, given the administration’s extreme reluctance to acknowledge that something called radical Islam even exists. The effect, if not the intent, of Kerry’s visit to Cairo will be to shore up Hamas. Events have proven that the only lasting ceasefire will be one in which Israel utterly defeats Hamas. Anything that prevents that goal, at this point, helps the terrorists.
Update: It is worth noting Kerry’s commendable defense of Israel on State of the Union with CNN’s Candy Crowley, in which he notes Hamas is using children as human shields precisely to create civilian casualties. That’s evidence of the sympathy described above. And then, without missing a beat, Kerry concludes that “we need to have a ceasefire.” The conclusion is a non sequitur and can only result in more deaths in the long run.