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Kerry Undertakes One Last Anti-War MissionDr. James M. Wall Salem-News.com
Now is Kerry’s moment to convince Netanyahu and Abbas that he is determined to end the permanent conflict between them.
(CHICAGO) - John Kerry is back in Washington after his fifth official trip to the Middle East. He is already planning his return to the region.
Despite the lack of any visible signs of success, the U.S. Secretary of State remains determined to resolve what is generally seen in official Washington as an intractable conflict between Israel and Palestine.
In a June 30 editorial, The New York Times saw little prospect for success, despite the fact that “Mr. Kerry keeps doggedly plowing forward.”
Indeed, as the Times reports, the Secretary is giving every impression that he sees progress ahead. He sure acts that way. Note his travel schedule:
This is not Kerry’s first political rodeo. There is nothing quite like rising from his role as an anti-war Vietnam veteran to become a U.S. senator, a U.S. presidential candidate and chairman of the senate foreign relations committee, to teach someone the art of politics.
John Kerry’s first appearance on the American political scene was as a young Navy lieutenant appearing before the same Senate Foreign Relations Committee which he would one day chair. (1971 picture of Kerry testifying above).
It was in that senate committee testimony that a young navy veteran told the senators that he and his fellow veterans against the Vietnam war were “undertaking one last mission” to end a war. The website, Libertyinexile, recalls that testimony:
After serving his country as a young naval officer in Vietnam, Kerry has been in politics most of his adult life, starting as lieutenant governor of Massachusetts in 1983, and then as a U.S. senator from the same state from 1985 until he was asked by President Obama to succeed Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State.
Kerry comes to this moment in history out of a rich history of service to his country.
The dogged pursuit of an agreement by a man who has seen war suggests that it is a real possibility that John Kerry knows something about the Netanyahu-Abbas talks that the rest of us do not know. In his dogged pursuit for an agreement, he is undertaking another “last mission” to prevent a permanent Middle East war.
How could we? This is a Secretary of State who is operating under the veil of secrecy. The Times editorial offers this explanation for the secrecy:
It could be that Kerry is not just negotiating. It is quite possible that he is pressing Israel to take more than just token steps toward showing the Palestinian leaders that Israel is ready to ease its prison-like grip on a people whose land they illegally occupy.
Nelson Mandela, near death in a South African hospital, leaves behind a text which could serve as a guide for Kerry, a text related, perhaps, to Mandela’s painful experience as a political prisoner in South Africa.
The Mandela text is well known in Palestine, enough so that it appears on posters and in one instance, is scrawled in paint on Israel’s illegal wall of separation.
What lies ahead as John Kerry continues his shuttle diplomacy against impossible odds? With very little to go on except a recognition that Kerry is dogged in his determination to keep pushing to bring the two sides together, here is one possible scenario:
As a young man in 1971, John Kerry testified against an absurd war in Vietnam.
Now is Kerry’s moment to convince Netanyahu and Abbas that he is determined to end the permanent conflict between them. He is prepared to end that conflict and then walk with them over the rocky road that would follow a successful end to negotiations.
It would then be up to President Obama to stand with his Secretary of State in what would be a difficult period ahead.
Obama and Kerry will not have the backing of the U.S. Congress in this struggle, but what care Obama and Kerry about a Zionist-Tea Party controlled Congress when the executive branch of government offers Netanyahu and Abbas a way out of their permanent state of conflict.
Is something like this in Kerry’s thinking as he flies back and forth between Washington and Tel Aviv?
Or is it wistful thinking about the impossible?
This much we do know about John Kerry. We have the record. When he closed his formal testimony before the foreign affairs committee in 1971, this is what John Kerry said, recalling his service in the Vietnam war:
Please visit James Wall's Website, Wall Writings
Journalism was Jim Wall’s undergraduate college major at Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia. He has earned two MA degrees, one from Emory, and one from the University of Chicago, both in religion. An ordained United Methodist clergy person; he and his wife, Mary Eleanor, are the parents of three sons, and the grandparents of four grandchildren. They live in Elmhurst, Illinois.
Jim served for two years on active duty in the US Air Force, and three additional years in the USAF (inactive) reserve. While serving with the Alaskan Command, he reached the rank of first lieutenant. He has worked as a sports writer for both the Atlanta Journal and Constitution, was editor of the United Methodist magazine, Christian Advocate for ten years, and editor and publisher of the Christian Century magazine for 27 years, starting in 1972. Time magazine wrote about the new editor, who arrived at the Christian Century determined to turn the magazine into a hard-hitting news publication. The inspiration for Wall Writings comes from that mindset and from many other sources that have influenced Jim’s writings over the years, including politics, cinema, media, American culture, and the political struggles in the Middle East. Jim has made more than 20 trips to that region as a journalist, during which he covered such events as Anwar Sadat’s 1977 trip to Jerusalem, and the 2006 Palestinian legislative election. He has interviewed, and written about, journalists, religious leaders, political leaders and private citizens in the region. You can write to Jim Wall at firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit Jim's Website: Wall Writings
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