The value of Secretary John Kerry's proposals are consistent with Kerry's track record.
Kerry's Syrian Track Record
Until the eruption of the civil war in Syria, Kerry was a member of a tiny group of US Senators -- along with Chuck Hagel and Hillary Clinton -- who believed that Bashar Assad was a generous, constructive leader, a reformer and a man of his word. Kerry was a frequent flyer to Damascus, dining with Assad and his wife at the Naranj restaurant in central Damascus. Following a motorcycle ride with Bashar al-Assad, he returned to Washington referring to Bashar as "my dear friend."
In September 2009, Kerry opined that "Syria is an essential player in bringing peace and stability to the region," while Assad was conducting hate-education, repressing his opposition, hosting and arming terrorist outfits like Hezbollah, cozying up to Iran, and facilitating the infiltration of Jihadists into Iraq to kill US soldiers. WikiLeaks disclosed that on February, 2010, Kerry told Qatari leaders that the Golan Heights should be returned to Syria and that a Palestinian capital should be established in East Jerusalem. "We know that for the Palestinians the control of Al-Aqsa mosque and the establishment of their capital in East Jerusalem are not negotiable."
According to the London Telegraph, Kerry was a fierce critic of the Bush Administration's hardline against Assad, advocating a policy of engagement -- rather than sanctions -- against terror-sponsoring Syria. In March 2011, Kerry subordinated reality-driven hope to wishful-thinking-driven hope: "my judgment is that Syria will move; Syria will change, as it embraces a legitimate relationship with the United States and the West." However, more than 200,000 deaths and 2 million refugees later, Assad's Syria has certainly changed for the worst. In January 2005, following another meeting with Assad, Kerry said: "This is the moment of opportunity for the Middle East, for the U.S. and for the world.... I think we found a great deal of areas of mutual interest...strengthening the relationship between the U.S. and Syria."
On September 3, 2013, Kerry assured his colleagues that "the Syrian opposition has increasingly become more defined by its moderation." However, Assad's opposition consists, mainly, of anti-US, Islamic supremacists, Shariah-driven, anti-democracy, the violently-intolerant Muslim Brotherhood and Al Qaeda, whose subversive vision transcends Syria, encompassing the Abode of Islam as a prelude to the grand assault on the Abode of the Infidel.
Kerry and the Palestinian Issue
While vital US interests and homeland security are threatened by smothering Middle Eastern firestorms - from the Persian Gulf through Northwest Africa - Secretary Kerry is preoccupied with the Palestinian tumbleweed side-show. The latter has been the centerpiece of the Arab talk, but never the Arab walk. Contrary to Kerry's Palestine Firster approach, the Palestinian issue is not directly or indirectly linked to the Arab Tsunami, is not a core cause of regional turbulence and has not been the crux of the Arab-Israeli conflict nor the crown jewel of Arab policy-making.
Kerry's Arab Spring
According to the New York Times, December 21, 2012, Kerry contended that the Arab Street is transitioning toward democracy: "What is happening in the Middle East could be the most important geo-strategic shift since the fall of the Berlin Wall."
On December 7, 2013, the well-intentioned Kerry followed in the footsteps of Israel's President Peres' The New Middle East and President Obama's "in 2013, the world is more stable than it was five years ago." Secretary Kerry pressures Israel to accept an agreement with the Palestinians, which is based on the pre-1967 lines, defined by former Israeli Dovish Foreign Minister, Abba Eban, as the "Auschwitz Lines."
Kerry is preoccupied with pressuring Israel, notwithstanding the transformation of the Arab Spring delusion into a reality of an Arab Tsunami, highlighting the 1,400 year old intra-Muslim and intra-Arab uncertainty, unpredictability, unreliability, instability, fragmentation, violent intolerance and absence of Arab democracy and civil liberties, which require a higher Israeli threshold of security; in spite of the clear and present danger of a nuclearized apocalyptic Iran, and Islamic terrorism, to Jordan and the pro-US oil- producing Gulf states, as well as the US mainland; despite the transformation of Iraq into an Iranian- dominated global center of Islamic terrorism; regardless of Turkey's support of the trans-national, terrorist Moslem Brotherhood; and in defiance of the inherently provisional and fragile nature of Arab regimes, policies and agreements, which are frequently signed on ice and not carved in stone.
Replacing the 14 century old chaotic Middle East reality with his hopeful worldview, Kerry said: "Just think of how much more secure Israel would be if it were integrated into regional security architecture and surrounded by newfound partners.... I ask you to imagine what a two-state solution will mean for Israel, Palestine, Jordan, and the region. Imagine what it would mean for trade and for tourism, for developing technology and talent, and for future generations of Israeli and Palestinian children. Imagine Israel and its neighbors as an economic powerhouse in the region.... Think of the new markets that would open up and the bridges between people that peace would build. Think of the flood of foreign investment and business opportunities that would come to Israel, and how that will change the lives of everyday people throughout the region.... We need to believe that peace is possible.... Israel would also enjoy a normal, peaceful relationship the minute this agreement is signed with 22 Arab nations and 35 Muslim nations -- 57 countries in all.... It is not beyond our imagination to envision that a new order could be established in the Middle East, in which countries like Jordan, Morocco, Egypt, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and the GCC states, a newly independent Palestine, and an internationally recognized Jewish State of Israel join together to promote stability and peace...."
However, in order to survive in the conflict-ridden Middle East, Israel must embrace reality -- as costly as it may be -- and reject imagination, wishful-thinking and make- believe, as tempting as they may be.
Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger
The Ettinger Report
"Second Thought: A US-Israel Initiative"
First published in "Israel Hayom" newsletter, January 4, 2014