I have often written about a particularly foolish, and dangerous, aspect of Progressive foreign policy. As you read these excerpts from an article by Paul Mirengoff at Powerline, see if you can recall what it might be. Don’t cheat by skipping to the bottom!
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT, JOHN KERRY IS BRINGING PEACE TO SYRIA
In a recap of ‘significant success[es]’ in 2015, State Department spokesman John Kirby lists ‘Bringing Peace, Security to Syria.’ Talk about a whopper. Even the obnoxious team of Jen Psaki and Marie Harf might have shied away from a claim this preposterous.
As you continue, consider that Kirby is an actively serving Navy Admiral. I always thought integrity was prized in our military, and officers, particularly flag officers, did not lie or tolerate those that do.
Here is how Kirby tries to depict our Syrian success story:
The conflict in Syria has continued to unfold in tragic ways over the course of 2015. From the humanitarian crisis endured by refugees fleeing violence, to the reprehensible human rights violations and violence carried out by the Asad regime, the Syrian people have borne a heavy load. The United States and many members of the international community have stepped up to aid the Syrian people during their time of need – the United States has led the world in humanitarian aid contributions since the crisis began in 2011.
Led by Secretary Kerry, the United States also continues to push for a political transition in Syria, and under his stewardship, in December, the UN Security Council passed a U.S.-sponsored resolution that puts forward a roadmap that will facilitate a transition within Syria to a credible, inclusive, nonsectarian government that is responsive to the needs of the Syrian people.
Oh, I see. Mr. Kerry’s leadership hasn’t produced peace and security, but he’s bringing it. It’s still in transit. Perhaps it fell off the UPS truck on one of those bumpy Middle Eastern roads. We’ll have to check the tracking number.
[I]t’s hard to argue that the United States brought any significant ‘peace’ or “security” to the Syrian people. According to the United Nations, as of October 2015 some 250,000 people have been killed in more than four years of civil war (casualty figures for 2015 alone are not yet available). More than 11 million refugees have left the region, many of whom swelled onto European shores in the fall of 2015; it’s not clear how many will ever get asylum in Europe, or elsewhere around the world, including in the United States. A March 2015 UN report also noted that four in five Syrians are now living in poverty.
The Barack Obama administration, meanwhile, has struggled to keep pace with the rapidly deteriorating situation there. After spending years prioritizing Assad’s departure, Washington has now hinted that he could stay in power longer to aid in the fight against the Islamic State. The White House has also reluctantly found itself battling the Islamic State alongside Russia and Iran, staunch Assad supporters whose ultimate goals in Syria are unlikely to match those of the United States.
Have you figured it out yet, gentle readers?
Actually, the United States, through proxies it assists, made a small amount of progress against ISIS in Syria this year. If Team Obama wanted to tout something Syrian, it could point to that (though not by claiming it’s bringing peace and stability).
Instead, Kirby talks about aid to the victims of mass instability and insecurity, and to a ‘roadmap.’ Not only does this administration consistently fail to succeed abroad, it doesn’t seem to understand the concept of success.
Mirengoff is correct, but not quite on target. Mr. Kerry’s, and Mr. Obama’s concept of success is the progressive concept of diplomatic success: rhetoric. If a progressive is talking about anything, even if it’s merely talking about possibly talking at some future date, that is an impressive diplomatic accomplishment. If one is talking to one’s most deadly enemy, that’s an unprecedented, amazing accomplishment, regardless of whether they give away the store to that enemy. The point is talking, passing a resolution, putting forward a roadmap, facilitating a transition, perhaps even taking the bold step of—gasp!—telling one’s most vicious enemy that they are on the wrong side of history.
Mr. Kerry and Mr. Obama and the rest of the Obamites doubtless think themselves a great diplomatic success. By progressive measures, they’re reached the pinnacle of diplomatic brilliance: they’ve talked to just about all of our enemies. The only thing they’ve accomplished is to turn the Middle East into an even worse disaster than was once thought possible, and they’ve empowered Iran to commit unlimited conventional, and soon, nuclear destruction. But they’ve done genuinely “smart diplomacy.” They’ve talked!
One would think Admiral Kirby would know better.
We can look forward to another year of this kind of diplomatic success. Mr. Obama has “unfinished business.”