by Melanie Phillips
Is the United States about to become a laughing-stock to the rest of the world? It seems to have accrued a Defence Secretary who is the toast of Iran, and a Secretary of State who is a blithering idiot.
It was hard to imagine that the new guy at State, John Kerry, could make himself look even more stupid than he has done by his science-denying belief that the planet is about to fry through man-made climate change. Well, he has indeed now exceeded such expectations.
First, he invented a new country. In trying to praise diplomats who were working on behalf of the United States in the Central Asian region, he thanked them for their work in ‘Kyrzakhstan,’ according to various media reports, and credited their efforts in ‘support [of] democratic institutions in Kyrzakhstan and Georgia’ – apparently muddling up America’s major ally in the war on terrorism, Kyrgyzstan with its neighbor to the north, Kazakhstan.
Oh dear. Well it could happen to anyone. But a US Secretary of State?
Then in Berlin, he bragged to students that in America, freedom of speech was such an absolute that
‘you have a right to be stupid if you want to be.’
‘People have sometimes wondered about why our Supreme Court allows one group or another to march in a parade even though it’s the most provocative thing in the world and they carry signs that are an insult to one group or another’,
Then there’s Chuck Hagel, now confirmed as Secretary for Defence thanks to brain-dead or spineless Republicans who failed to block his appointment. This despite Hagel’s opposition to sanctions against Iran; his refusal to call Iran’s Republican Guards or Hezbollah terrorist organisations; his animus towards Israel and his claim that the ‘Jewish lobby intimidates a lot of people up here’; his questionable comments about homosexuals ;and his stunningly inept and incompetent performance at his confirmation hearing, where he first said
‘I support the president’s strong position on containment’and then, after being handed a note, wittered:
‘If I said that, I meant to say that obviously, his position on containment, we don’t have a position on containment.’
Now it turns out that Hagel has also upset India by having suggested, in a previously unreleased 2011 speech, that India has ‘for many years’ sponsored terrorist activities against Pakistan in Afghanistan.
No wonder the Indians have responded in fury that his remarks were not grounded in reality, ‘paranoid’ and ‘over the top’.
Not so much a Defence Secretary, then, as an Offence Secretary – upsetting America’s allies and sucking up to its mortal enemies.
Kerry and Hagel – the Mutt and Jeff of the Obama administration.
And Iran, not surprisingly, is beating its chest in delight and racing towards building its genocide bomb.
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