John Kerry

America No Deus Ex Machina: John Kerry Can't Even Get a Truce Between Israel and Hamas

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not even for the cameras
State Dept

A year and a half ago when John Kerry took over as secretary of state at the start of President Obama's second term, he set his sight on the quixotic holy grail of U.S. shuttle diplomacy, a Palestinian-Israeli peace. Today, with Hamas and Israel locked in a violent struggle, John Kerry has found he can't even negotiate a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, with The New York Times reporting that Israel told U.S. officials they did not need, and were not interested in, another round of "shuttle diplomacy" by Kerry. The U.N.  Security Council has also called on both sides to cease fire.

Egypt has taken the lead on negotiating a ceasefire between Hamas and Israel, a role it's assumed on and off since signing a peace treaty with Israel in 1979. That treaty was negotiated at Camp David with the help of President Jimmy Carter and insured by the promise of billions of taxpayer' dollars in U.S. aid aid to Egypt and Israel, an arrangement that continues to this day. That treaty ended a state of war between Egypt and Israel that began during the 1948 war that followed Israeli independence, and was the first time an Arab state recognized Israel. It also involved the withdrawal of Jewish civilians and troops from the Sinai peninsula, which Israel occupied after the Six Days' War in 1967. The Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty also led to Egypt being suspended from the Arab League for a year and eventually the assassination of Egyptian President Anwar Sadat by Islamist extremist s.

Thanks in large part to the annual U.S. aid, the peace treaty has survived nearly 40 years despite widespread disapproval among the Egyptian population and even when the Egyptian government was headed briefly by a president from the Muslim Brotherhood. Mohammed Morsi vowed to respect the peace treaty with Israel and during the last flare-up between Israel and Hamas he tried to broker a ceasefire, as Egypt is doing again now.

John Kerry would desperately like to be able to claim some kind of victory in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process but his failure to make any progress so far, even as expectations are lowered, illustrates why the American government is a less-than-ideal, and hardly necessary, broker in whatever "peace process" may still exist. The U.S., for example, does not recognize Hamas so on the Palestinian side U.S. diplomats can only talk to Fatah, which has effectively no power in Gaza. Because of its aid to Israel, U.S. diplomats aren't seen as unbiased brokers. And as Israel's defense minister Moshe Yaalon showed when he said he wanted John Kerry to win a Nobel Peace Prize so he could leave Israel alone, there's a sense that U.S. involvement in Israeli-Palestinian peace process is more a matter of prestige than peacemaking per se. The U.S. government should give Yaalon what he wants: disengage from the peace process and stop subsidizing the Israeli military. Maybe it'll open the door for Israel and Palestine to settle their problems on their own the way they want.

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  1. “Maybe it’ll open the door for Israel and Palestine to settle their problems on their own the way they want.”

    For the Palestinians, that would be all the jews gone from Israel and an official Palestinian state to take its place.

    1. Reverse ethnic cleansing?

  2. Their is little financial reason for either side to stop fighting. The Israeli’s defense bill is partially subsidized by the US, well the Palestinians get loads of money from abroad.

    1. Give us some credit – we pay the Palestinians too.

  3. John Kerry is lighter than kleenex. The definition of a pseudo-intellectual. And an arrogant fuckwit.

    1. As a citizen of Massachusetts I sincerely apologize for unleashing him on the world.

      1. And yet you fuckwits followed up with Elizabeth Warren. You get one more strike.

        1. I still don’t get how she won.

          She wasn’t born/raised in MA: -1
          She lived in Cambridge: -1
          She proudly and repeatedly lied about her heritage for scholarly gain: -1

          Scott Brown was no saint, but at least when he fucked up I had the option of flagging him down on the street and confront him about it.

        2. Wait, what the fuck was Ted Kennedy?

          A foul tip?

          1. Might have murdered someone: +1

            Final Score

            Ted Kennedy:+1
            Elizabeth Warren:-3

            I can easily see how Teddy was repeatedly re-elected.

          2. Teddy was a different generation.

      2. Why apologize for shit you do not and cannot control?

        1. I feel cleaner if I apologize.

        2. For the same reason you say you’re sorry at a funeral.

  4. Every dumb fuck who gets tapped as Secretary of State takes a tilt at “peace” in the Middle East, because they would go down in history if they managed it somehow. Too bad for their egos that it’s never going to happen.

    1. A truly talented SOS could achieve it by staying the fuck away, but no one gets awards for staying the fuck away.

  5. When you work for Raytheon, you want to sell product. Peace is not an option.

    1. I know some Raytheon people. They have a thriving business in upgrading and maintaining their missiles, as well. On the whole, from a business perspective, I suspect they would prefer that none of their missiles ever get used, and all of their missiles come back every so many years for more paid maintenance work.

    2. Interestingly, one of the few people I know who is libertarian works as a Raytheon aerospace engineer.

  6. 1) The federal government of the United States is made profoundly impotent and voluntarily powerless by the administration currently in power.

    2) As a consequence, despite the United States being history’s hyperpower, nobody’s going to give a fuck about what John Jerry says, much less belligerent asshat barbarians and the Israeli authorities. All the power on God’s green Earth doesn’t mean shit if you’re not willing to use it.

    Unless the United States credibly threaten to enforce the peace with genuine military intervention (“sign the fucking truce or we’ll sanitize your land and drive you to extinction,” not that pussy bullshit we’ve always pulled everywhere else, from Iraq to Afhanistan). nobody’s going to pay American diplomats any attention on this.

    3) The dilemma, at least for people like me, is threats of the kind I mentioned above aren’t justifiable. You can’t just drop down some genocide and call it a day.

    4) Therefore, the solution is to say “fuck it” and let Israel and the Palestinians do whatever they please to each other.

    1. …and end aid (1/4 of Israels might?) to Israel.

      1. Yep. End all aid to everybody. Israel will recover, I’m sure, but fuck it. It’s not our bother.

      2. Aren’t we subsidizing both sides of this farce?

        1. Sorta, the Pali’s get a lot of aid money from the US, but they get far more, and not just for aid, from Europe and the rest of the Middle East.

    2. Fuck I totally agree with this.

      The problem is that the TOP MEN can’t stand the fact that they have a big giant hammer and it is only good for #3 (fuck tons of kiling) and that the other option #4 (doing nothing) is just too unsatisfying.

      They are a TOP MAN, ferchristsake, there has to be something that someone as smart as they are can do.

  7. John Kerry would desperately like to be able to claim some kind of victory in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process

    Less worry about the peace process, more attention to actual peace, is probably what we need.

  8. You know it’s bad and embarrassing when Israel would rather have Egypt leading the peace negotiations than our disgraceful American administration. Egypt!! It’s almost comical.

    1. Like I said, impotency. We’re the giant, and the rest of the world is tiny-ass Gulliver’s Travels villagers. But the giant’s blindfolded himself, handcuffed himself behind his back, and is currently high on morphine.

      We’re not credible anymore because our leadership is puny and powerless.

      1. The U.S. once had profound influence on the region as a more or less neutral broker. That ship has long since sailed.

        As an interventionist, we have two options: We occupy the entire region and enforce peace ruthlessly (the Roman model), or we keep haplessly trying to keep everyone happy without solving anything while mindlessly intervening here and there.

        Of course, there is another way that is something other than intervention.

        1. Ironically, were it not for the original “Roman model” there would never have been a Jewish diaspora in the first place.

  9. He should team up with Walter Mondale and Michael Dukakis so all three can get their Nobel Peace Prize for losing to a Republican.

    1. Still not over Bush Gore 2000?

  10. Can’t even? I’m no fan of Kerry, but right now that’s not exactly going to be an easy task for any US diplomat. I mean, let’s face it. If it’s something the State Department can’t solve by writing a check, they’re not going to solve it easily.

    1. It’s actually very easy to solve. We simply blockade the entire region, call it Thunderdome, and wait for the results.

  11. Kerry imitation of Chip Diller:

    “All is well!”

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