cur-mud-geon: anyone who hates hypocrisy and pretense and has the temerity to say so; anyone with the habit of pointing out unpleasant facts in an engaging and humorous manner
The Middle East is awaiting the new Secretary of State, John Kerry, and promises to be every bit as challenging for him as it was for the outgoing Secretary, Hillary Clinton.
Egypt is in turmoil as the Arab Spring vanishes. Israel is flexing its muscle. Iran is not going away. Syria seems to be losing its fight against its own citizens but has some ugly weapons yet at its disposal. Hezbollah continues to push the envelope. Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula is a very strong threat. China is standing by pretending not to notice, or to have any responsibility, as cyber-attacks against us originate from within its borders. Russia continues to posture. Pakistan and Afghanistan continue to be powder kegs. The United Nations remains, in my opinion, as ineffectual as it has been for some time.
John Kerry has served on the Senate Foreign Affairs committee for a good many years, and had no difficulty in gaining the Senate’s approval as the next Secretary of State. He’ll likely take that seat early next week. He is moving from the relatively slow moving world of the Senate into one of the hottest seats available today in government. His every move, his every word will be gone over with the fine tooth comb of the press, both domestic and foreign. Albeit, the domestic press has no teeth to it for a distinguished man such as Kerry given his political history. The world press may be a bit tougher on him depending upon the positions our President has Kerry espousing.
Our country is facing some of its toughest sledding in the world diplomatic arena ever. There will be tests of our resolve in this second term of President Obama. The Benghazi episode is still a gleaming light for our enemies (even as some don’t believe we have any real enemies), and they’ll not likely waste any time in pressing this new person to see what he is made of and to see if they can make further gains in their world’s opinion.
We will see if appeasement is going to continue to be among the tools we’ll be deploying. We’ll see how far we’ll permit ourselves to be pushed before the ‘tough talk’ is taken out of the closet. We’ll see if we actually decide we need to better protect our consulates and our embassies in light of the continuing and growing unrest.
One thing we do know is that soon-to-be Secretary of State Kerry loves to talk, and that he understands ‘diplomatic speak’. There’ll be lots of opportunity to listen to him and then to try to determine what it was he said since ‘diplomatic speak’ is designed to say nothing substantive while sounding eloquent even as there is plausible deniability available should it not meet with approval.
Will we walk carrying the ‘big stick’ or will we work diligently to be loved by all even as they demonstrate their hatred for our country and our way of life? This is, by the way, not a slam against the current party in power so much as it is an indication of what I think of diplomacy as it is practiced today. I know that either political party is susceptible to the same diplomatic traps.
Welcome Mr. Secretary.