12:32 PM, Feb 27, 2014 • By JERYL BIER
In a Wednesday interview with Andrea Mitchell, Secretary of State John Kerry resisted Mitchell's assertion that "genocide" was taking place in Syria:
QUESTION: I want to ask you about Syria. For three years, we have watched horrific pictures. You spoke of this when you were a senator. Obviously, now you’ve got the lead role on it. Horrible pictures. I looked at video of a child weeping over his mother’s body after a barrel bomb was dropped on her and other civilians by the regime. Just today, this picture on the wires from Yarmouk, from the refugee camp in southern Damascus. Why isn’t this genocide?
SECRETARY KERRY: Well, Andrea, that gets into all kinds of definitions. What it is is wholesale killing of your own people. And --
QUESTION: But it’s killing of one or another ethnic group by a minority leadership.
SECRETARY KERRY: Again, I don’t want to get into the definitions. What he is doing is outrageous, unconscionable, unacceptable, disgraceful, craven. It’s horrendous. And we all know that; everybody knows that. And President Obama has been deeply committed to trying to make a difference in ways that we have chosen within the law that we believe are appropriate and permissible...
In 2004, then-presidential candidate Kerry was not as reticent about defining the situation in Darfur as genocide during an address to the NAACP convention (via Bloomberg):
Senator Kerry of Massachusetts, the presumptive Democratic Party nominee for president, said the Bush administration should stop ``equivocating'' and formally label as genocide the attacks in Darfur, which have killed up to 80,000 people and displaced more than 1 million.
``These government sponsored atrocities should be called by their rightful name -- genocide,'' Kerry said in an address to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People convention in Philadelphia. ``The government of Sudan and the people of Darfur must understand that America stands prepared to act, in concert with our allies and the UN, to prevent the further loss of innocent lives.''
Recent estimates of the conflict in Syria place the death toll around 140,000, with another half-million injured, and millions displaced.
8:09 AM, Feb 26, 2014 • By JERYL BIER
Tuesday, Secretary of State John Kerry was joined in the Benjamin Franklin Room at the State Department in Washington, D.C. by Catherine M.
12:42 PM, Feb 24, 2014 • By JERYL BIER
The Art in Embassies program of the U.S. State Department just turned 50 last year, but its growth in the last decade has been particularly dramatic if the insured value of the artwork is any indication. Although Art in Embassies purchases original works, such as the $1 million sculpture for the new U.S. Embassy in London, much of the artwork on display at various State Department installations throughout the world is in fact borrowed. In 2002, the State Department maintained a $20 million policy for artwork. By 2010, it had grown to $65 million. This year, the agency is looking to renew its current level of coverage, informing interested providers that "[i]nsurance must cover all items in any location in a Department of State facility abroad up to a value of $200,000,000." Last year, the $200 million policy cost the government $86,932.
11:41 AM, Feb 16, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
Secretary of State John Kerry said today in Indonesia that climate change is "the world’s largest weapon of mass destruction."
11:08 AM, Feb 12, 2014 • By LEE SMITH
Gossip in Jerusalem suggests that many Israelis misunderstand John Kerry’s obsession with the peace process: They believe that the 2004 Democratic presidential candidate is using Israeli-Palestinian negotiations as a platform to challenge Hillary Clinton for the 2016 nomination. That’s not likely. Instead, it’s in comparing Kerry’s dogged efforts to that of his predecessor that Kerry’s real motives become clear. Clinton left a light footprint as secretary of state because she didn’t want anything sticking to her when campaign season rolls around.
12:03 PM, Feb 7, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
Secretary of State John Kerry was asked about security at the Olympics. He said he wasn't too concerned, but then brought up the Boston Marathon.
"Well, obviously, people have heard about the events that took place in Russia previously. And there’s been a lot of chatter about security and it’s a concern, but it’s not something – I mean, if somebody said to me, 'I’m thinking of going to the Olympics,' I’d say, 'Go and have a terrific time,'" Kerry told Al Koken of Comcast SportsNet in an interview.
6:44 AM, Feb 6, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
David Horovitz, writing for the Times of Israel:
US Secretary of State John Kerry may feel heartfelt concern about the growing campaign to delegitimize Israel and to boycott it. One of the least smart and least constructive ways to tackle the danger, however, is by issuing an anguished public prediction that this is what awaits Israel if his peace effort fails.
The White House’s Syria policy is so bad that even the secretary of state is against it—or is he?3:10 PM, Feb 4, 2014 • By LEE SMITH
It was hardly a surprise when last week’s much-anticipated Geneva II conference bringing representatives of Bashar al-Assad’s Syrian regime together with opposition members came up empty. Nor was it surprising that, as recent press reports show, the administration’s plan to rid Assad of his chemical weapons has come up way short—to date, Syria has shipped out only 5 percent of its unconventional arsenal. White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough defended the Russian-led chemicals weapons initiative, saying “it’s not falling apart, but we would like to see it proceed much more quickly than it is.”
11:11 AM, Feb 3, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
Al Qaeda is not on the run. And John Kerry, according to a report in Bloomberg, is finally admitting it.
"[T]he al-Qaeda threat is real, it is getting out of hand,” Kerry told a delegation.
It's in stark contrast to President Obama's repeated claims. “A day after 9/11, we are reminded that a new tower rises above the New York skyline, but al Qaeda is on the path to defeat and bin Laden is dead,” Obama said in the run up to his reelection in 2012.
10:01 AM, Jan 26, 2014 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
In his time on stage at Davos, Secretary of State John Kerry felt obliged to assert that the United State is not withdrawing from the international stage. That it is, in fact, more involved and more of a player than ever. As Terry Atlas of Bloomberg reports, Kerry was:
8:13 AM, Jan 23, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
The Obama administration is worried that Israel is riling up American Jews, according to a report in the Israeli press. The allegations are detailed in a story headlined, "'US perceives Israel as encouraging anti-Obama backlash among Jews,'" which appears in the Jerusalem Post.
'In many cases...'7:12 AM, Jan 15, 2014 • By JERYL BIER
Secretary of State John Kerry covered a broad range of topics with his counterpart Pietro Parolin at the Vatican in Rome on Monday. Besides Syria, the Middle East peace process, Sudan, and Cuba, the subject of poverty came up during their discussions.
3:21 PM, Jan 11, 2014 • By WILLIAM KRISTOL
Ariel Sharon—a man whose deeds as soldier, general, cabinet minister, and prime minister were decisive in the history of modern Israel, a soldier-statesman of true historical significance, a larger-than-life figure whose like we're unlikely to see again—dies, and Barack Obama issues a statement that would be appropriate if one were recognizing the death of a pedestrian functionary who had routinely served as the insignificant leader of a random country.
12:00 PM, Dec 16, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
Israel prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu paid Secretary of State John Kerry a backhanded compliment in a recent speech to the Union for Reform Judaism.