- - Thursday, November 3, 2016


There’s an old theory that extensive air travel inflicts physical injury and distorts cognitive thinking. Airline stewardesses of a previous time said the introduction of the jetliner for the old propellers-and-internal engines disrupted their menstrual cycles. Life is dangerous in the clouds.

Perhaps all his flying about is what disrupted Secretary of State John Kerry’s ability to think coherently. He told a group of University of Chicago political science students the other day that President Obama’s foreign policies have been a smashing success.

The president’s famous red line, drawn across Syria, he said, had actually proved that Mr. Obama had prevented Syrian and Russian export of chemical weapons to Hezbollah. That must depend on the definition of “chemical,” because Hezbollah continues to use tear gas in abundance, and the targeting of civilians and hospitals is barbarism not seen since the 1930s.

Mr. Obama’s infamous deal with Iran to postpone — but not stop — development of the Islamic bomb is another victory in Mr. Kerry’s view. He cheerfully ignores Iran’s boast of success in developing the intercontinental missiles that would carry nuclear warheads to various targets in the Middle East, first to Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.

Mr. Obama’s famous “reset” of relations with Russia led to Vladimir Putin’s seizure of Crimea, his sponsorship of the destruction of Ukraine, and hints of similar operations in the Baltic states. This followed Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s approval of the transfer of 20 percent of America’s uranium holdings to a Russian company whose nine investors promptly funneled $145 million to the Clinton Foundation.

Mr. Kerry applauds American preservation of freedom of the seas in the South China Sea, ignoring China’s building artificial islands in that sea and constructing bases on them, enabling China to threaten one of the most important sea lanes of the world.

Perhaps most egregious of Mr. Kerry’s maneuvers has been his courtship of the unrepentant Communists in Hanoi. Ignoring the Hanoi regime’s persecution of religious and political prisoners, he argues that a stronger Vietnam in tacit alliance with the United States would be a bulwark against aggressive Chinese ambitions in the Pacific. But his elaborate courtship of the chairman of Hanoi’s Communist Party, rather than the Chinese government, recalls Mr. Kerry’s past defense of deadly Vietnamese behavior. He was a flamboyant supporter of the cutoff of military aid to the South Vietnam army, which had performed well after the American withdrawal, and was struggling to save the Saigon government.

Mr. Kerry and his friends assured everyone there would be no human catastrophe in South Vietnam. This would have been good news to the families of a million South Vietnamese who were thrown into dank and fetid prisons, tens of thousands of whom were never to leave alive; the thousands who lost their lives fleeing by sea from the conquering Communist regime, and the murder of prominent anti-Communist leaders without trial.

The Mad Hatter assured Alice that the truth of what he said was whatever was convenient to say at the moment. Mr. Kerry has obviously been reading Lewis Carroll’s “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” on his many flights to hither and back from yon, when he ought to be spending more time on reality. Fiction is obviously to his taste, particularly fiction of his own making.

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