The Washington Post’s editorial board just savaged Secretary Kerry over his performance on Syria:
Throughout the last nine months, Mr. Kerry claimed that his transparently futile initiative was worthy because, as he put it in Moscow, “the alternative is . . . even more violence . . . the alternative is that Syria heads closer to an abyss, if not over the abyss, and into chaos.” Yet that is exactly what happened in the following nine months. Chemical weapons and barrel bombs were dropped on civilians, al-Qaeda strengthened its hold on parts of eastern Syria, and many thousands died — all while the United States eschewed steps to stop the carnage on the grounds that the Geneva 2 talks offered, as Mr. Kerry put it, “the best opportunity for the opposition to achieve the goals of the Syrian people.”In that assessment, Mr. Kerry was profoundly wrong. Now he says that “the international community must use this recess in the Geneva talks to determine how best . . . to find a political solution.” But more appeals to the world will not end Syria’s nightmare or the growing threat it poses to vital U.S. interests. That can be addressed only by a new U.S. policy, one that aims at directly weakening the Assad regime’s ability to wage war and that strengthens the moderate forces opposing it and al-Qaeda. It won’t happen in Geneva.
WaPo’s criticisms are spot-on. Kerry has put too much trust in Putin and too much faith in the doomed Geneva talks. The Russian President, for his part, has not given Kerry and the United States any reason to believe that he is trustworthy. Kerry took a leap of faith and has suffered a crippling fall because of it.Future Presidents and Secretaries of State should take note: This is what happens when your foreign policy dies and goes to hell. Later, historians will rake your bones over the coals.For now, the administration needs to put the illusions and the narcissistic moralizing behind it, and come up with a policy that reflects what is actually happening in Syria.