America’s Cycles of Change

Struggling Against the Stupidity of John Kerry

Sun, 24 January 2016

Perhaps it was the high altitudes and the crisp, clear, invigorating Swiss mountain air that went to US Secretary of State John Kerry’s head and loosened his tongue at the World Economic Forum in Davos on January 21.

In any case, Kerry delivered appallingly frank comments to cable CNBC television news and to his travelling press entourage about the boost that freeing up scores of billions of dollars of previously frozen Iranian financial assets would give Tehran’s terrorist potential and growing regional clout. His reasoning was so specious and inane it deserves to be studied carefully.

First, Kerry ridiculed the idea that the P5+1 nuclear agreement concluded with Iran in July 2015 would free up $150 billion. The real figure the Iranians would receive was likely to be no more than a mere $50 billion or so and they would need to use it to rescue their troubled domestic economy, he airily explained.

Well, as the late Senator Everett Dirksen famously said, “A billion here, a billion there – pretty soon you’re talking about real money.”

Let us assume that Kerry’s reasoning and facts are correct – highly dubious propositions indeed. But even if this figures are accurate, suppose the Iranians dutifully devoted $49 billion of the modest windfall they are about to achieve to debt relief, reflationary investment and other Good Things. Might they still not put aside a miniscule $1 billion for weapons, terrorism and other subversive activities around the region? After all, with even a mere $1 billion, you could buy an awful lot of weapons and dramatically increase anyone’s potential for revolutionary violence and subversion.

Kerry, with all the fearless realism we should expect from any US secretary of state, faced this possibility head on: “I think that some of it will end up in the hands of the IRGC (Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps) or other entities, some of which are labeled terrorists,” he freely acknowledged to CNBC television in an interview. “You know, to some degree, I’m not going to sit here and tell you that every component of that can be prevented.”

Kerry did not appear too bothered about letting huge, unlimited sums of money go directly to an organization pledged to topple established, stable nations across the Middle East. One assumes he would have been a lot less casual and relaxed had he thought that money would be channeled directly into funded violent terrorist and revolutionary activities within his own country to topple the government of the United States.

But not to worry, as the Associated Press reported, Kerry told his traveling press entourage in later comments, “If we catch them funding terrorism, they’re going to have a problem in the U. Congress and other people, obviously.”

But of course, having “a problem with the US Congress” has never constrained Iran’s support of terrorist groups around the region even during the long decades when sanctions were imposed. Its support for Hezbollah, Shia militias operating in Iraq and many other forces continued unabated. To imagine that fear of a verbal rebuke from Kerry, or huffing and puffing from Congress – sure to be blocked by US President Barack Obama anyway, will prove any kind of brake or deterrent to such activities is simply fatuous.

Kerry simply assumed that Iran’s leaders who are the product of very different historical experiences from him could possibly see the world any differently than the does. Yet the 37-year-history of the Islamic Republic repeatedly confirms that successive Iranian leaders to do not think like him at all.

Indeed, Kerry does not even understand the thinking of an ordinary American. When the Democratic Party unwisely nominated him as their presidential candidate in 2004, he went down to a landslide defeat at the hands of George W. Bush, now widely recognized as one of the most stupid and incompetent presidents ever to sit in the Oval Office.

Both Kerry and Bush were students at America’s elitist Yale University. Bush’s academic grades there were dire, but it is a matter of record that Kerry’s were even worse. (Kerry received four D-grades in his freshman year, including in history and political science, Bush only received a single one – in astronomy.)

As responsible Saudi and Gulf leaders struggle with the dire consequences of Kerry’s amazingly feckless policies, they would do well to recall the warning of the great 18th century German philosopher Friedrich Schiller: “Against stupidity the gods themselves contend in vain.”