Kerry, Clinton and the President: A foreign policy ménage a trois or the Anglo-French Silly Walk folly

NEW YORK, December 21, 2012 – The Mayan apocalypse is behind us. The planets aligned, but the heavens didn’t wink out. The world spins on, and in this vale of tears and sin, we’re forced to endure all things political. Like John Kerry.

With people inside the beltway just thrilled that he is not Sandra Rice, Kerry is likely to walk into the role of Secretary of State without having to answer a single hard question. But maybe there should be at least one.

Kerry’s dramatic comments of September 7, 2012 were prelude to a profound tragedy that my colleagues in the mainstream media still choose chiefly to ignore:

“When a brutal dictator promised to kill his own people like rats, President Obama enlisted our allies, built the coalition, and shared the burden, so that today without a single American casualty Moammar Gaddafi is gone and the people of Libya are free.” 

With a record of prescient observations like that one, you would think Senator Kerry would resign with dignity and ask to work in Dick Morris’ firm so that they might offer shaky advice to a more bipartisan range of candidates. 

But no, John Kerry is perceived as a member of the “competent elite,” unlike George W. Bush. There is a theory that says that multiple errors from a “competent” man like Kerry actually enhance his credibility.

The theory is called “the pratfall effect.” According to Wikipedia, “The pratfall effect is a psychological phenomenon whereby the attractiveness of a person perceived as competent increases if the person commits a blunder.” 

And so consider our next Secretary of State, the competent yet oddly attractive Francophile from Massachusetts, the dour, preening bon vivant: Jean Forbes Kerry.

Kerry gives new meaning to “ménage a trois.” This Boston Brahmin version calls for using three personalities in one lanky body! But please do not spend too much time imagining the contortions. 

Mysteriously absent from the scene is the Secretary of State for the fleeting present, Madame Hillary Bouffant Clinton. The superwoman who could trade cattle futures while giving birth is down for the count—no reasonable person should suspect her silence under oath on Benghazi and wider implications of the same. 

After all, she has never managed seemingly intractable contradictions or indictments by gaming the clock or the rules that mere mortals must respect.  

Finally, in deep background, there far away from stage right? 

President Barack Tartuffe Obama dancing the limbo way down low, following official confirmation by his own State Department that guns, grenades, and smoke killed our brave Americans trapped in Benghazi on 11 September 2012. Confirming it was not an inept and dated cartoon. 

No reason now to really compare timelines and evidence up and down the national security chain and over to the political wing of the Obama Administration that had so little invested in the “Al Qaeda is dead” theme. 

None at all, silly rabbits!

If enough evidence survives the low probability Mayan Apocalypse and the near certainty that Americans in both parties have already squandered fruits of Victory in the Cold War, how will informed and sober thinkers eventually assess the conga line of America’s victory dance that should lie under inquisition now as we greet the winter solstice. 

Is it possible that politicians is Washington D.C. get the bi-partisan joke they have become as they struggle home to enjoy holidays after one more year of abdicating their solemn responsibilities?

For all our sakes, I hope they will not embrace whatever new threats do emerge they way some true believers did in the film Independence Day just before cities were smashed to bits. 

Think like Professor Zbigniew Brzezinski and you may start to understand roots of malaise we feel now regarding official American conduct abroad:

“Most Americans are close to total ignorance about the world. They are ignorant. That is an unhealthy condition in a country in which policy has to be endorsed by the people if it is to be pursued. And it makes it much more difficult for any President to pursue an intelligent policy that does justice to the complexity of the world”.

Americans (read “our subjects”) are too dumb to understand what lies in our best interests when it comes to foreign policy. What we do not know we may never understand anyway. So, feed the hoi polloi cake and then keep more baking.

No hubris inherent in the kind of commonplace thinking that is rampant in Washington, DC and more so in the apt named Foggy Bottom neighborhood.

The “Brzezinski Presumption” proves an important rule: Jean Baptiste Poqeulin is the global king of comedy. Molière observed well before the birth of America: “A learned fool is more ignorant than an ignorant fool”!

Who dares suggest that dead white males from the 17th century do not understand pompous modern academics?

Follow Zbiggy’s logic and you will earn a Nobel Peace Price: President Carter did in 2002, years following his multiple foreign policy missteps while President Obama apparently justly earned his honor even before taking the American ship of state far off shore.

If none of this were truly sad, we could, perhaps find the foundering of a noble period in America’s short history strangely amusing.

However, President Obama’s master course in New Millennium statecraft already lies in wreck on crushed expectations for progress in places like Tehran and Cairo and Benghazi to pick three scenes in haunting, real world tragedies whose implications will play to America’s detriment for generations. 

Get ready to hear these stirring words once Secretary of State John F. Kerry is confirmed: “It infuriates me to be wrong when I know I am right”.

Were he to have been active in France during World War II, the “Maginot Line” would have been known as the “Kerry Line”. John Kerry does know exactly what is best for we the people.

If you can remain awake during whatever passes for questioning in Senator Kerry’s confirmation hearing, try to keep these words from Moliere’s Tartuffe firmly in mind:

“How can you blame what I might do or be?

Is it on my good intentions that you base

Your favor? Do you trust my pious face?

Ah no, don’t be deceived by hollow shows;

I’m far, alas, from being what men suppose.” 

Tartuffe was for these words centuries ago, before John Kerry might say he is against them. 

If that does not amuse you enough to make up for all the pain, then watch five minutes of this, with special attention to the final mini-scene starting at minute four.

Whatever may happen late tomorrow night, neither America nor the world deserve politicians so self-absorbed that they cannot appreciate the folly of their silly walks!



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Charles Ortel

Charles Ortel became a lapsed member of the silent majority in August 2007 when he began alerting the public to dangers posed by structural changes in the global economy. Since then, Charles has appeared in the print, radio and television media with increasing frequency. Brass Tacks will attempt to offer non-partisan perspective on factors contributing to the unresolved, burgeoning crisis and discuss potential solutions. Graduated from Horace Mann School, Yale College and Harvard Business School, Charles tries to learn each day.  

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