Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is known for being blunt and didn’t mince words in responding to Secretary of State John Kerry's absurd statement that "climate change can now be considered another weapon of mass destruction, perhaps the world’s most fearsome weapon of mass destruction.”
Gingrich responded to Kerry on Twitter that “Every American who cares about national security must demand Kerry's resignation. A delusional secretary of state is dangerous to our safety.”
I don’t agree that Kerry’s idiotic comment equating climate change and the nuclear weapons programs of Iran and North Korea is grounds for his resignation. I chalk this up to a former senator who does not know when to stop talking. But combined with his other verbal gaffes and policy mistakes, I agree that Kerry should resign.
Three examples come to mind.
Last September, Kerry made an offhand comment at a press conference in London that Syrian President Assad could avoid a U.S. attack for crossing President Obama’s "red line" on the use of chemical weapons if Syria gave up all of its chemical weapons. This remark undercut the president’s policy on Syria and had not been vetted with the White House. Russia immediately jumped on this idea and it became the basis for a plan that legitimized Assad as a negotiating partner and emboldened him to step up his brutal assault on rebel-held areas.
Under an agreement worked out by the U.S. and Russia, all of Syria’s most dangerous chemical weapons were to be removed from the country by Dec. 3. As of this week, only 11 percent have been removed and the agreement appears to be breaking down. Syrian peace talks have also broken down and the monthly death toll in January 2014 was the highest since the civil war began.
Another example is the multilateral talks Kerry engineered with Iran on its nuclear program. Kerry and the White House portrayed an interim agreement reached with Tehran last October as a breakthrough that would roll back Iran’s nuclear program and reduce the threat of it being used to produce nuclear weapons. Iran cheated on the interim agreement before it was implemented last month by deploying additional uranium centrifuges using more advanced designs. The interim deal does little to roll back Iran’s nuclear program and is composed of minor, easily reversible concessions by Iran in exchange for billions in sanctions relief.
Moreover, despite vocal denials by Kerry, the deal essentially guarantees Iran’s “right” to enrich uranium, an unacceptable risk for Israel and Saudi Arabia.
Kerry concedes the interim deal with Iran is imperfect but claims it will lead to a comprehensive agreement with more substantial Iranian concessions. Iranian diplomats threw cold water on this idea on Tuesday when they said during a new round of nuclear talks that dismantling their nuclear facilities is off the table.
Kerry’s worse gaffe as secretary of state (and possibly his career) may have been when he told Israeli officials on Feb. 1 that Israel will face more boycotts if Israeli officials do not accept the peace framework he is promoting on a settlement between Israel and the Palestinians. Anti-Defamation League National Director Abraham Foxman was dumbfounded by this ill-considered remark and noted there was no similar tough talk by Kerry for Palestinian leaders. Foxman also pointed out that the main obstacle to an Arab-Israeli peace has been and remains the unwillingness of the Palestinians to accept Israel’s legitimacy and its permanence as a Jewish state.
It was deeply irresponsible for Secretary Kerry to make comments that lent legitimacy to the small, anti-Israel effort by leftist individuals and persons to boycott Israel and Israeli products and scholars. To her credit, actress Scarlett Johansson severed her relations with human rights group Oxfam after it objected to her doing advertising for SodaStream because it has a factory in an Israeli settlement in the West Bank. Johansson, a liberal Democrat and Obama supporter, did the right thing in rejecting an anti-Semitic boycott.
America needs a competent, thoughtful, and disciplined secretary of state. This is especially true today given the significant threats our nation is facing and the overall weakness of President Obama’s national security team. John Kerry has proven that he does not have these qualities. Given his gaffes and major policy mistakes, I agree with Newt Gingrich that Secretary Kerry should resign.
Fred Fleitz served for 25 years with the CIA, the State Department, and the House Intelligence Committee staff. He is currently Chief Analyst with LIGNET.com, Newsmax Media’s global intelligence and forecasting service. Read more reports from Fred Fleitz — Click Here Now.
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