Who Gets To Be Secretary of State

John Kerry was an clueless Secretary of State — witness his various Geneva “negotiations” over the Syrian civil war that, oh by the way, didn’t include any of the key players — duh.  He calls for negotiation in Geneva and no one comes.  That’s called talking to yourself and thinking it “diplomacy”.

Then there was the Chamberlain-like, “peace in our time” Iranian deal that he engineered, which was the big giveaway in order to get any kind of agreement, so that he could claim “success”.  No one told Kerry that you have to be willing to walk away from the table in order to get a good deal — you can’t be too eager or give that impression.

Now he is being a disastrous ex-Secretary of State and actually interfering in our foreign policy with respect to Iran — his first experience dealing with Iran wasn’t bad enough, it seems.  These former office-holders should learn how to fade away gracefully, but apparently that is asking to much.

But I guess my lingering question has to do with how we fill this position of Secretary of State?  It seems to be reserved as a political plum, that is to say, it’s given as a prize to some former senator or other, as if election to political office is the appropriate background and sufficient training for diplomacy.  But why would some political hack necessarily have the best qualifications for leadership in international affairs?

Remember Henry Kissinger, with that marvelous gravelly voice?  Whatever you might say about Kissinger, he wasn’t some off-the-wall political hack, but someone who actual knew something about negotiating, foreign affairs, and diplomacy, with enough gravitas that even our adversaries listened his every word with rapt attention.  Seems to me we should get back to that model for making this very critical appointment — appointing someone as Secretary of State who has actual claims as a diplomat.  Doesn’t that make more sense?  Or are we going to continue giving away the position to ex-Senators as a booby prize — ex-Senators with zero qualifications for the job?

Pompeo on Kerry Undermining Our Foreign Policy

Neville Chamberlain’s Peace in Our Time Speech

Henry Kissinger

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Iraq — Our Three Stooges War

During the 1980’s, Iraq and Iran were at war with each other.   Sunni-led Iraq was fighting against Shiite Iran, so that the war had a sectarian character.  The war was fought to a stalemate, and so, ironically, established a clear balance of power between the Sunni countries and the Shiite countries, as neither Iraq nor Iran could make any territorial gains, so that purely sectarian aggression in the Middle East was held in check pretty much throughout the 90’s.

The Iraq War that began in 2003 undermined that precious balance of power.  We went to war to prevent Saddam Hussein from using “weapons of mass destruction,” even though he had none, and to remove him  as an ally of Al-Qaeda, even though he wasn’t one.  But what we did remove was a regime ruled by the Sunnis in Iraq, and replaced it with one ruled by Iraqi Shiites.  The net result was that Iraq invariably fell under the sphere of influence of Iran, as both countries were now  allies as ruled by the same Islamic sect — in essence, Iran ultimately won the 1980’s war without having to fire a shot due to our foolhardy invasion of Iraq.

And without the balance of power represented by the Sunni-led Iraq under Saddam, Iran has extended its hegemony in the region as an ally of Assad in Syria and in support of the powerful Hezbollah party in Lebanon, so that its sphere of influence now extends from its own eastern border all the way to the Mediterranean.  That has been one unfortunate result of our Iraq War.  How did that serve the interest of the United States?

The other unfortunate result has been to launch sectarian civil war throughout the region.  Saddam had kept a lid on the violent sectarianism that stewed in Iraq under a seemingly tranquil surface.  That was in fact his mandate for governing — his raison d’etat — to maintain a strictly Sunni government that would hold in check the Shia and Kurdish segments of the country.  By removing Saddam, we removed that check on the violent sectarianism that seethed just below the surface between the Iraqi Sunnis and the Iraqi Shiites.

But the Sunnis that we displaced in Iraq were not going to be subjugated by Shiites without a fight, and so our displacement of the Sunni-led government of Saddam as well as the disenfranchisement of his Sunni-oriented military led inevitably to the spawning of Sunni extremist groups and civil war first in Iraq, but ultimately with ISIS in both Iraq and Syria — yet another unanticipated consequence of our ill-considered invasion of Iraq.  How did that serve the interest of the United States?

So our Iraq War produced results directly opposite of our interests — creating a much stronger Iran regionally and unleashing an ongoing sectarian civil war between Sunnis and Shiite throughout the entire Middle East that had once been held in check by the stalemate from the Iraq/Iran conflict in the 1980’s.   The conclusion is undeniable: We blunder into stupid wars and have no idea of the consequences, not unlike the buffoonish and clumsy behavior of the Three Stooges.

Iraq War

ISIS

The Three Stooges

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