- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 8, 2014

While they were once known for crossing party lines to work together on foreign policy, whatever friendship John McCain and John Kerry had in the past seems now to be finally and completely dead.

That was, at least, the appearance Tuesday during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing when Mr. McCain suddenly hammered into Mr. Kerry and accused him of being out of touch with “reality.”

The Obama administration is “failing very badly” at foreign policy, Mr. McCain, Arizona Republican told Mr. Kerry, a former Democratic senator from Massachusetts, who has served as President Obama’s secretary of state since early last year.

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“I think you’re about to hit the trifecta,” said Mr. McCain, who asserted that peace talks Mr. Kerry has pursued for Syria are in “total collapse,” and that nuclear negotiations with Iran, as well as talks between Israel and Palestine are “finished.”

Mr. McCain, one of the Republican party’s leading advocates of U.S. intervention abroad, also criticized the administration’s response to Russia’s recent invasion of the Crimean Peninsula — dismissing White House threats to use tougher sanctions to deter Russian President Vladimir Putin from pushing deeper into Eastern Ukraine.

 Senate Foreign Relations Committee member Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., heaps criticism on the Obama administration's policies with Russia, Iran and other international hot spots as he questions Secretary of State Kerry during the committee's hearing, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, April 8, 2014.  (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Senate Foreign Relations Committee member Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., heaps criticism on ... more >

“My hero, Teddy Roosevelt, used to say, talk softly but carry a big stick. What you’re doing is talking strongly and carrying a very small stick — in fact, a twig,” Mr. McCain said to Mr. Kerry.

Initially, the secretary of state appeared willing to listen patiently. But he then suddenly shot back at Mr. McCain, describing the senator’s assessment as a “premature judgment about the failure of everything.”

“I guess it’s pretty easy to lob those judgments around, but particularly well before the verdict is in on any of them,” said Mr. Kerry, who then defended his own efforts to stay the course of diplomacy on Syria and on the Israel-Palestine peace process.

“You declare it dead but the Israelis and the Palestinians don’t declare it dead,” Mr. Kerry said. “They want to continue to negotiate.”

But Mr. McCain interrupted, saying: “We’ll see, won’t we Mr. Secretary?”

“I beg your pardon,” shot Mr. Kerry in return.

Pushing for the last word, Mr. McCain then asserted that the talks were “stopped.”

“It’s stopped,” he said. “Recognize reality.”

But Mr. Kerry shot back again.

“Your friend Teddy Roosevelt also said that the credit belongs to the people who are in the arena who are trying to get things done. And we’re trying to get something done,” he said to Mr. McCain.

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