Archive for the ‘John Kerry’ Tag

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During a tense exchange with (Secretary of State John) Kerry at a Senate Foreign Relations committee on Wednesday, (Florida Republican Senator Marco) Rubio confronted the former Massachusetts senator. “I believe that much of our strategy with regards to ISIS is being driven by a desire not to upset Iran so they don’t walk away from the negotiating table on the deal that you’re working on,” the potential GOP presidential candidate declared. “Tell me why I’m wrong.”

“They would welcome our bombing of ISIS, actually, they want us to destroy ISIS, ISIS is a threat to them, it’s a threat to the region and I think you’re misreading it if you think there is a mutual interest with respect to Daesh [the Arabic name for ISIS] from every country in the region,” Kerry responded.

Watch the exchange here.

http://thinkprogress.org/world/2015/03/11/3632393/john-kerry-obliterates-marco-rubios-conspiracy-theory-iran/

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FAREED ZAKARIA, CNN ANCHOR:

But, first, here’s my take: It’s difficult to know what to make of the failure to arrive at an agreement between the West and Iran. The high level talks have ended. Negotiations will resume at a lower level in 10 days.

Secretary of State John Kerry’s comments seemed the most sensible. “It was always going to be hard to arrive at a deal with Iran when the mistrust was so deep and had gone on for so long.”

But what was remarkable was the tone of the negotiators as they broke up. Both the Iranians and the main Western negotiator, Catherine Ashton of the European Union, were positive and constructive believing that much progress has been made.

There were voices that were much less positive. Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu criticized what he described as, “The deal of the century.” His aides explained that Iran was going to get everything it wanted in return for nothing. “A mess of pottage,” said one of them, making a biblical allusion.

The other critic of the deal appears to have been French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius. France’s hard-line position actually allowed Washington to look reasonable though, for some, it proved that no matter what position the United States takes, you can count on France to try to sabotage it.

But the criticisms of the deal sound like alarmist hype to me. The basic agreement that might have been inked was that Iran would temporarily freeze its nuclear program including its uranium enrichments in return for some relief from Western sanctions.

During that period, about six months, serious negotiations would take place to arrive at a final agreement. The key here is what kind of sanctions relief were the Iranians going to get?

The answer is clear, not much. The Obama administration was not proposing that any of the major sanctions against Iran be lifted or even suspended. Those are all passed by Congress and couldn’t be lifted easily anyway.

It was proposing to take pretty minor steps. Europe has more flexibility on sanctions, but, from what we’ve heard, those countries were also proposing relief of very small kinds.

Now, the argument is that Iran should make significant concessions, but that the West should make none at all, that’s not negotiations, that’s a requirement that the other side surrender.

Which makes one wonder, do the critics of this negotiating process want a better deal or do they really want no deal at all so that it opens up another path to deal with the problem, which is war.

In that case, the danger for those critics was not that the Geneva negotiations were failing, but rather that they were succeeding.

http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/1311/10/fzgps.01.html

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Fareed Zakaria ” Secretary of State John Kerry is making news on his first foreign trip swinging through nine countries in Europe and the Middle East.

He’s talking about European trade deals, about providing greater assistance to the Syrian opposition and he’s talking about Iran, of course. These are all important issues.

But I wonder if Kerry should instead have just visited two countries on his first trip, China and Japan. That’s where the most significant and dangerous new developments in international relations are unfolding and where American diplomacy could make a bit difference.

The world’s second- and third-largest economies have been jostling for months over territory, reviving ugly historical memories and making clear that, in the event of a crisis, neither side would back down.

Trade between the two countries, which usually hovers around $350 billion a year, is down substantially. An accident, miscalculation or unforeseen event in the East China Seas could easily spiral out of control.

And that would mean conflict between great powers in the fastest growing region of the world. The kind of problems that always has global consequences. The Obama administration came into office determined to make Asia a priority, topped by its ties to China. Hillary Clinton’s first trip as Secretary of State was to Asia. The administration wanted to engage China as a partner.

China’s reaction to these overtures was confused and muddled. Beijing worried that it was being asked to involve itself in superpower diplomacy, which would distract it from its single-minded focus on economic development.

Some in the Beijing foreign-policy elite wondered if this was a trap, forcing their government to rubber-stamp decisions that would be shaped out of Washington. As a result, Beijing’s response to the administration’s initial diplomacy was cool, sometimes even combative.

Meanwhile in Asia, many of the continent’s other powers had begun worrying about a newly assertive China. From Japan to Vietnam to Singapore, governments in Asia signaled that they would welcome a greater American presence in the region, one that would assure them that Asia was not going to become China’s back yard.

The Obama administration shrewdly responded with its pivot in 2011, combining economic, political and military measures, all designed to signal that the U.S. would strengthen its role in Asia, balancing any potential Chinese hegemony.

The result of the pivot, however, was to further strain relations with Beijing. Today China and the United States maintain mechanisms, like the strategic and economic dialogue between senior officials, but they are formal and ritualistic.

No American and Chinese officials have developed genuinely deep mutual trust. Beijing views the pivot as a containment strategy and believes that rising Japanese nationalism, tolerated by Washington, is responsible for the crisis in the East China Sea.

The lack of progress in U.S.-China relations stands as the single greatest vacuum in President Obama’s otherwise reasonably successful foreign policy.

Whoever is to blame, the fact remains that the only durable path to peace and stability in Asia is a strong relationship between the United States and China. The two countries are not always going to agree, but they need to have much better and deeper ties.

So when he gets back from his trip, Secretary Kerry should start planning his next one, to Asia.”

http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/1303/03/fzgps.01.html