When President Obama chose John Kerry as his secretary of state, a headline in Foreign Policy magazine declared that the longtime Massachusetts senator and son of a career Foreign Service officer was about to get the job “he was always meant to have.”
As that old saying goes, be careful what you wish for.
Fast forward two years, and a recent headline in the same publication now advises: “How John Kerry can find success in the ashes of Middle East peace.” Kerry deserves credit for pushing the dialogue forward between the Israelis and Palestinians, and given the politics and history of similar efforts, it’s hard to pin a failed Mideast deal solely on him. That hasn’t stopped related media coverage from being far less generous — thanks to another of the secretary’s serial gaffes.
Kerry generated serious backlash after he told a group of senior officials that Israel runs the risk of becoming “an apartheid state” if no peace deal with Palestine is reached in the near future. The meeting was supposed to be off the record, but no one, from Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling to the US secretary of state, should ever count on privacy anymore. A tape recording was made, and the news, first reported by the Daily Beast, spun out from there.
Was Kerry jet-lagged from trying too hard in too many places? Or was the diplomat simply going rogue, saying what he thinks should be said in a tough, Putin-colored world?
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