By Katie Kieffer
John Kerry burped. Excuse him. That’s how he does foreign policy. Don a burping pad before asking him questions; you never know whether he will spit out war or peace.
Last Monday, Secretary of State John Kerry held a press conference. CBS reporter Margaret Brennan asked Kerry how Syrian President Bashar al-Assad could avoid a U.S. air strike on Syria.
MARGARET BRENNAN: “…is there anything at this point that his government could do or offer that would stop an attack?”
SECRETARY KERRY: “Sure. He could turn over every single bit of his chemical weapons to the international community in the next week. Turn it over, all of it, without delay, and allow a full and total accounting for that. But he isn’t about to do it, and it can’t be done, obviously.”
It was a burp. An off-the-cuff comment. Even Kerry’s body language indicated that he was throwing out what he felt was a starry-eyed option. Barely a week earlier, on August 30, the New York Times had posted the headline: “Kerry Becomes Chief Advocate for U.S. Attack.” At the end of August, Kerry began bullying Congress to approve Obama’s desire for a military strike in Syria, which Kerry promised would not be “war in the classic sense.” Now, in early September, he was throwing out an offer for peace.
War is war. There’s no such thing as a non-classic war unless you’re talking about tug-of-war. The fact is, before Kerry’s little burp about peace, Kerry and Obama were gung-ho to go to war for no reason other than to help Obama save face on his off-the-cuff “red line” he drew on Syria’s use of chemical weapons last summer:
“We have been very clear to the Assad regime, but also to other players on the ground, that a red line for us is we start seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilized.”
We still do not have definitive evidence that President Assad authorized chemical attacks on his own people, reports the Washington Times. But when a few reports surfaced accusing Assad of doing so, Obama felt like he had to save face on his red line comment.
When Kerry burps, he burps loudly. Russia, Syria’s ally, heard Kerry burp all the way from Moscow.
Russian President Vladimir Putin hollered over to his foreign minister, Sergey Larov, probably said something like: “Hey, Sergey! Did you hear the American Secretary of State’s burp!? It gives us the perfect opportunity to protect our ally while also helping Obama get out of his silly ‘red line’ ultimatum without looking foolish. He needs to avoid a war that polls show no one in America wants. Grab a pen and paper, lets draft a deal!” And so they did.
Larov presented the White House with an offer that went, in part:
“If the establishment of international control over chemical weapons in that country would allow avoiding strikes, we will immediately start working with Damascus. We are calling on the Syrian leadership to not only agree on placing chemical weapons storage sites under international control, but also on its subsequent destruction and fully joining the treaty on prohibition of chemical weapons.”
In other words, if the United States would promise to avoid launching an air strike on Syria, then Russia promised to help Syria place its chemical weapons under international control and then destroy them.
Obama jumped on the deal. Now, he could avoid sending our overburdened troops into World War III while also looking like he was not caving on the “red line.”
Avoiding war with Syria is the right thing to do. It is only unfortunate that our President couldn’t have taken the adult-like position from the start and admitted that he may have spoken prematurely and that it would be foolish to send our troops into another war. Should we launch air strikes on China, where millions suffer under communism? How about North Korea? Russia, where Putin has imprisoned innocent businessmen? Or maybe India, where women are gang raped?
We cannot send our brave young men and women everywhere. Our troops are war-weary after repeat deployments to the Middle East and many are suffering from PTSD. Also, our defense budget has been cut, which is necessary because we are broke. That’s worth repeating: We. Are. Broke.
There are, unfortunately, women and children who are suffering all over the world. We can’t help everyone at once. We need to get our economy back on track, put Americans back to work and pay down our debts before we launch new nation-building missions or not-in-the-classic-sense wars.
Obama does not make foreign policy decisions based on reason. He’s too puerile for that. He would still be using Kerry to bully Congress into launching us into war with Syria, which could escalate into WWIII, if it weren’t for a reporter asking a good question that spurred Kerry to burp.