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John Kerry Tag

Turkish authorities have demanded the U.S. extradite Fethullah Gülen, leader of the Gülen Movement, because they believe he orchestrated the coup. They even said keeping him in the states is a "hostile act" towards the regime:
“I do not see any country that would stand behind this man, this leader of the terrorist gang especially after last night. The country that would stand behind this man is no friend to Turkey. It would even be a hostile act against Turkey,” Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım told reporters at a press conference on July 16 as the coup attempt has been foiled earlier in the day.

Numerous news reports have covered the Navy's report on the capture of ten U.S. sailors in January by Iran, notably the Navy's decision to discipline nine officers and sailors over the incident. But the media buried a bigger part of the incident in the Navy's report. Here's Politico, quoting from Chief of Naval Operations Admiral John Richardson:
Richardson said a number of serious mistakes contributed to the sailors’ capture, but he reiterated they broke no international laws and “had every right to be where they were on that day” because the laws of the sea allow for what’s called innocent passage. “The investigation concluded that Iran violated international law by impeding the boats’ innocent passage transit. They violated sovereign immunity by boarding, searching and seizing the boats and by photographing and videotaping the crew,” Richardson said.

Secretary of State John Kerry spoke to Russian President Vladimir Putin about alleged harassment from Russian officers towards U.S. diplomats across Europe. From The Washington Post:
In Moscow, where the harassment is most pervasive, diplomats reported slashed tires and regular harassment by traffic police. Former ambassador Michael McFaul was hounded by government-paid protesters, and intelligence personnel followed his children to school. The harassment is not new; in the first term of the Obama administration, Russian intelligence personnel broke into the house of the U.S. defense attache in Moscow and killed his dog, according to multiple former officials who read the intelligence reports.

As U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry was in Beijing this week, preaching the virtues of “peaceful resolution” of disputes between the neighbours in the South China Sea, fighter jets belonging to Chinese 'People's Liberation Army' carried out aggressive manoeuvres against a US plane. According to the U.S. Pacific Command, the reconnaissance plane was on a routine mission over the East China Sea when two Chinese J-10 fighters attempted an “unsafe intercept”, making it the second incident of this kind to take place in less than three weeks. Earlier in May, two Chinese fighter jets flew within 15 meters of a US reconnaissance plane flying over the South China Sea. As President Obama set about to reduce the U.S. footprint in the world and divert country’s military preparedness to chase the spectre of Climate Change -- seven years ago, Communist China has been investing in a massive project to build and militarise artificial islands beyond its recognised maritime borders. China now contests 80 percent of the South China Sea, staking its control over one of the busiest maritime route in the world.

In a brutal report on the administration's dishonesty regarding the nuclear deal with Iran, CNN's Jake Tapper last week concluded that Americans "have a right to know who lied to us." Tapper walked us through the basics, but let's review. The story began in February 2013, when Fox News reporter James Rosen asked then State Department Spokesperson Victoria Nuland, "There have been reports that intermittently, and outside of the formal P-5+1 mechanisms the Obama Administration, or members of it, have conducted direct, secret, bilateral talks with Iran. Is that true or false?"

How's the Iran nuclear deal working out? I'm not asking the broader foreign policy question that Tom Nichols just addressed, but how is the nuclear aspect of the deal by itself working out? According to Jonathan Broder of Newsweek, the deal is unraveling. And it is the fault of the United States.
Probably the biggest source of friction is a U.S. law that bars Iran from using the U.S. financial system and the American dollar, even indirectly. The law, enacted in 2012, was aimed at punishing Iran for a variety of alleged sins: the country’s ballistic missile program, human rights abuses and state-sponsored terrorism. Because these issues haven’t been resolved, there is virtually no chance Congress would repeal the law in the foreseeable future, experts say. As long as that statute remains in place, foreign banks holding Iran’s funds in dollars will be wary of doing business with the country.

The Afghanistan government confirmed a U.S. drone killed Taliban leader Mullah Mansoor in Pakistan. The U.S. Department of Defense said the government targeted the leader "while travelling in convoy near the town of Ahmad Wal." From The Guardian:
The US secretary of state, John Kerry, speaking in Myanmar on Sunday, said Mansoor “posed a continuing imminent threat to US personnel in Afghanistan, Afghan civilians, Afghan security forces” and members of the US and Nato coalition. He said the air strike on Mansoor sent “a clear message to the world that we will continue to stand with our Afghan partners”. “Peace is what we want. Mansoor was a threat to that effort,” Kerry said. “He also was directly opposed to peace negotiations and to the reconciliation process. It is time for Afghans to stop fighting and to start building a real future together.”

On Friday, Secretary of State John Kerry delivered the commencement address at Northeastern University.  During this address, he told the graduating class they are "about to graduate into a complex and borderless world." The Washington Examiner reports:
Kerry also seemed to dismiss the importance of national borders, and said technology has reshaped the world into one that the U.S. must engage at the risk of being left behind. He said Trump and others who want to look inward are making a mistake, even in the face of rising tension and violence in the world. "For some people, that is all they need simply to climb under the sheets, close their eyes and push the world away," Kerry said. "And shockingly, we even see this attitude from some who think they ought to be entrusted with the job of managing international affairs." "The future demands from us something more than a nostalgia for some rose-tinted version of the past that did not really exist in any case," he said. "You're about to graduate into a complex and borderless world."
Kerry's dismissal of national borders was part of his attack on GOP presumptive presidential nominee Donald Trump.

Perhaps the most famous person on the internet right now is Ben Rhodes, Obama's Deputy National Security Adviser. Rhodes is profiled in a The New York Times Magazine cover stroy that rips to shreds both the story line sold to the American public and the notion that we have independent media in the age of Obama. Rhodes' job was to message and ensure that the White House's narrative of the nuclear deal with Iran was the media's. Rhodes, in the profile written by David Samuels, displays no shame about his job; in fact he seems quite pleased with himself.

Last July, we responded to President Barack Obama's challenge to read the nuclear deal he made with Iran and concluded that it was awful. One of the worst parts of the deal was language (appearing twice) that said, "Iran has stated that if sanctions are reinstated in whole or in part, Iran will treat that as grounds to cease performing its commitments under this JCPOA in whole or in part." Or in the words of Mark Dubowitz, executive director of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, this is Iran's "nuclear snapback."

Remember the famous ‘snapping back’ of sanctions that President Obama promised last year if Iran were to violate the Nuclear Agreement? The New York Times had hailed the ‘snap back’ as a diplomatic masterstroke, writing “snapback mechanism [to reimpose sanctions on Iran] is one of the most unusual parts of the deal. In the event that Iran is perceived as violating it, the agreement allows the full raft of penalties to resume automatically.” Well guess what, Iran continues to violate the Nuclear Deal and President Obama’s ‘full raft’ is nowhere to be seen. Obama Administration has instead responded reluctantly to Islamic Republic of Iran’s repeated testing of ballistic missiles capable to carrying nuclear warheads by blacklisting a handful of Iranian companies.

In another demonstration of President Obama's inability to formulate a coherent policy in the face of fresh Iranian violations of missile test bans, the United States both imposed new sanctions on and eased trade with Iran on the same day on Thursday. Iran's renewed aggression is unmistakable even to those whose willful blindness wrought the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action ("JCPOA").

New Sanctions In Response to Iranian Missile Tests

Earlier this month, Iran conducted two days of tests in violation of UN resolutions.  At least one of the missiles had "Israel must be wiped of the face of the earth" written on it.  These violations prompted many lawmakers to call for new sanctions on Iran, including Hillary Clinton and a number of Republican Congressmen.

The subtext in Secretary of State Kerry's agonizing over whether to label ISIS's systematic, premeditated rape and slaughter of Christians, Yazidis and Shi'ites in Syria is what it means for the million-and-a-half skeletons in Turkey's closet.  There is little objective doubt that during World War I, Turkey murdered around 1.5 million Armenians, but Turkey cannot abide the least suggestion that it engaged in genocide, and the US has thus far deferred to Turkish sensibilities. The US's failure to recognize the Armenian Genocide and Turkey's culpability, and to induce Turkey to learn from that dark period in its history undermines the US's ability to identify and condemn genocide elsewhere.  This is the undercurrent in Secretary of State Kerry's bizarre inability to call a spade a spade in Northern Syria. In brief, the 2015 omnibus spending bill included a requirement that the State Department make a determination of whether ISIS was engaged in genocide.  Anticipating and perhaps hoping to guide the results of that State Department review, on Monday the House of Representatives passed an unanimous resolution declaring that ISIS's actions are genocide.  That resolution has no legal effect.

At a 9:00am press conference this morning, Secretary of State John Kerry announced that the Islamic State’s actions perpetrated against ethnic and religious minorities, including Christians, are “genocidal” and constitute crimes against humanity. In the brief (10 minute) statement, Kerry refers throughout to the Islamic State (ISIS) as Daesh, its Arabic acronym.

This past Monday, in a rare example of bipartisanship, the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously (393 to 0) passed a non-binding resolution declaring the horrors committed by the Islamic State against Christians and other religious monitories to be genocide and crimes against humanity. The State Department has until tomorrow (March 17) to decide whether it wants to make a similar classification of ISIS’s atrocities, as required by Congress. Written into the omnibus spending bill passed in December, the deadline is congressionally mandated. But, as of this writing, it would appear that Secretary of State John Kerry is still having some difficulty seeing what everybody else sees.

Ahead of Vice President Joe Biden's trip to Israel, The Wall Street Journal reported earlier this week that the White House is considering new efforts to revive the Middle East peace process.
The internal discussions are aimed at offering a blueprint for future Israeli-Palestinian talks in a bid to advance a critical foreign-policy initiative that has made little progress during Mr. Obama's two terms in the White House, the officials said. The strongest element on the list of options under consideration would be U.S. support for a Security Council resolution calling on both sides to compromise on key issues, something Israel had opposed and Washington has repeatedly vetoed in the past. Other initiatives could include a presidential speech and a joint statement from the Middle East Quartet, an international group comprising the U.S., the United Nations, the European Union and Russia.
According to the Journal, the President Barack Obama hasn't made up his mind but "is considering a range of options." In any case no decision is expected until later this year.

While President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry have assured us that the nuclear deal with Iran has delayed war, Tony Badran in a devastating critique of the administration's foreign policy last week wrote, "Middle Easterners are not so lucky: They get to fight their wars with Iran right now." Back in 2014, Badran noted, President Obama said of the turmoil in the Middle East, "A lot of it has to do with changes that are taking place in the Middle East in which an old order that had been in place for 50 years, 60 years, 100 years was unsustainable, and was going to break up at some point. And now, what we are seeing is the old order not working, but the new order not being born yet -- and it is a rocky road through that process, and a dangerous time through that process." But a few months earlier, Obama, in an interview with Jeffrey Goldberg, made very clear that his intent was to make Iran an agent of changing the orders. When Goldberg asked him why the Sunni states seem to fear him so much Obama answered, "I think that there are shifts that are taking place in the region that have caught a lot of them off guard. I think change is always scary. I think there was a comfort with a United States that was comfortable with an existing order and the existing alignments, and was an implacable foe of Iran, even if most of that was rhetorical and didn't actually translate into stopping the nuclear program. But the rhetoric was good. What I've been saying to our partners in the region is, 'We've got to respond and adapt to change.'"

Three weeks ago, ten American sailors on two naval boats were seized by Iran. One of the first readouts of what happened came from the State Department with this tidbit:
Now, the Secretary then got on the phone with Foreign Minister Zarif for the first time – I think the first of at least five phone calls they had during the course of that afternoon and evening – at about 1 o’clock in the afternoon. The main message that he – there were a few messages he wanted to convey to the foreign minister. One, to provide him with some information about our understanding of what had happened, which was not perfect but was sort of developing in real time. And we had gathered some information including that the sailors were in transit at the time of the incident, that they were in transit between Kuwait and Bahrain, that they may have had some sort of mechanical problem – although at that point we weren’t sure – that we had lost communications with them, and that we had indications that they were now located on Farsi Island in the Gulf. The Secretary made clear that our most important priority – and that this was critical – was that they be released, obviously, safely and unharmed and as quickly as possible, and that if we were able to do this – and this is something that he said to Zarif on a few occasions – if we are able to do this in the right way, we can make this into what will be a good story for both of us.
Think about that last line, "a good story for both of us."