The Republican House Needs to Cancel John Kerry

For 50 years, he has been a malign force in American politics and foreign policy.

by Bruce Thornton, FPM

Last week 24 House Republicans introduced the No Taxpayer Funding for Climate Zealots Advancing Radical Schemes Act which if passed will defund our “climate czar” John Kerry’s office. This federal feed-bag is beyond political accountability to the voters or Congress, but at least the taxpayers will not be footing the bill for his emissions-spewing, global gallivanting to promote suicidal climate policies.

A Congressional rebuke would be a fitting end to Kerry’s public career––one marked by thoughtless adherence to leftish Democrat shibboleths, new-world-order received wisdom, and bad policies dangerous to our national security and interests.

Kerry’s latest junket was to China last week to coax the communist regime to remain on board with the West’s suicidal “green” energy demonization of cheap, abundant fossil fuels as codified in the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement.  That’s a big reason for the House’s bill to defund the energy czar’s $14 million budget and his staff of 45.

As Rep. Chip Roy (R. Texas) put it, Kerry is the “poster child for the Biden administration’s anti-energy policies that are destroying both our economy and national security.” The trip to China, Roy adds, which is “the top threat to our national security and the world’s number one polluter,” will do nothing but “further hamstring our energy policy.”

Moreover, approaching China as a suppliant and de facto junior partner––Xi didn’t deign to meet with Kerry personally–– in our relationship only emboldens our global rival to continue with its duplicitous diplomacy. As the Wall Street Journal pointed out the obvious, China’s agreement to stick with the Paris deal is “another way of saying Beijing intends to keep increasing its carbon emissions for another seven years. From 2015 to 2022 China’s greenhouse gas emissions grew nearly 12%, while the U.S. cut them by some 5%, according to the Climate Action Tracker.”

And it’s not just China’s duplicity about mitigating “global warming.” China understands that the West is in thrall to the climate-change cult and its “green energy” psalter, and takes such meetings as a way to leverage influence over our foreign policy by dangling the promise of cooperation on greenhouse gas emissions, of which China is by far the biggest emitter––almost as big as the next four emitters combined.

The Journal continues,  “The Chinese summary [of the meeting] said Mr. Wang [foreign affairs chief]  mentioned how Beijing wants the U.S. to ‘pursue a rational, pragmatic, and positive policy toward China’ and ‘properly handle the Taiwan issue,’ among other things.” The explicit acknowledgement of the quid pro quo, which China will not honor, is just another bold assertion of China’s superior position vis-à-vis its geopolitical rival.

It’s obvious that such negotiating in bad faith has long characterized China’s behavior once one looks at the Chi-Com’s deeds rather than listening to its dishonest tactical rhetoric. While the West has been dismantling its supply of cheap fossil fuels, according to Climate Action Tracker, the Journal reports,  “China’s emissions under current policies remain sky high with no sign of substantial emission reductions before the 2030 peaking timeline.”

And no wonder, given that China has been building dirty-coal plants hand over fist. The Journal continues, Climate Action Tracker tells us that China’s “coal production reached record levels in 2022 for the second year running.” According to S&P, “China has added some 112 gigawatts of new coal-fired power plants.” Global Energy Monitor writes, “As of January China had some 306 coal-fired power stations proposed, permitted or under construction. . . . When finished those plants would generate some 366 gigawatts, or about 68% of the world’s total coal capacity under development.” And don’t forget the 180 new coal mines that will “produce some 657 million metric tonnes per year upon completion and could release as much as eight million tonnes of methane emissions a year.”

Meanwhile, we in the West are shutting down “renewable clean-energy” nuclear power plants, outlawing natural gas heaters and stoves, nudging investment funds away from fossil fuel producers, paying the “green” tithe on our gasoline purchases, and mandating EVs and banishing internal combustion engines even though the electricity transmission infrastructure and battery storage are decades away from being adequate for a shift of such magnitude.

But Kerry’s ineptitude and fealty to received wisdom have characterized his public career from the start. For 50 years, he has been a malign force in American politics and foreign policy. From his 1971 testimony before Congress viciously slandering his fellow troops in Viet Nam, to his recent bout of climate-change kowtowing to China’s communist regime, he has served himself and his party rather than his fellow citizens and the nation’s security and interests.

Kerry’s campaign for president in 2004 provides a good example. Kerry’s strategy was to turn George W. Bush into a dangerous, venal bumbler who started the second “unnecessary war” against Saddam Hussein based on fabricated evidence. But this position was a political one in response to Howard Dean’s surprising traction he gained in the primary by running as the antiwar candidate who drew energy from a ubiquitous and vocal antiwar movement; and later by the discovery––which happened only because of the war––that Hussein had no stockpiles of WMDs, though Iraq still retained the knowledge of how to manufacture them.

Before then Kerry, like Hillary Clinton and John Edwards, the other senators in the primary race, in October of 2002 had voted for the Authorization for the Use of Military Force based primarily on the same intelligence consensus in the West that Hussein likely had WMD’s. Twelve days after 9/11, for example, Kerry had told Face the Nation, “It is something we know––for instance, Saddam Hussein has used weapons of mass destruction against his own people, and there is some evidence of their efforts to try to secure these kinds of weapons and even test them.”

Almost a year later, on the same show he acknowledged the danger that Hussein would use WMD’s against the U.S. or Israel, or that Hussein “may even miscalculate and slide these weapons off to terrorist groups to invite them to be a surrogate to use them against the United States.”

This dangerous contingencies that followed from Hussein’s possession of WMD’s, moreover, had long been the consensus in American foreign policy. Indeed, in 1998 Congress passed the Iraq Liberation Law, which decreed that “it should be the policy of the United States to seek to remove the Saddam Hussein regime from power in Iraq.” By then the first Gulf War clearly had not settled the issue of Hussein’s WMD’s, nor had several years of IAEA inspectors, whom Hussein had impeded and gulled, and finally just kicked out of the country in 1998. Diplomacy, inspections, and sanctions clearly were not working, and in the aftermath of 9/11, Americans were not in the mood to keep rolling the dice.

In 1998 Kerry himself thought the same. He warned, “[Saddam] can rebuild both chemical and biological [WMDs]. And every indication is, because of his deception and duplicity in the past, he will seek to do that. So we will not eliminate the problem for ourselves or for the rest of the world with a bombing attack.” This meant, as Kerry put it, “we have to be prepared to go the full distance, which is to do everything possible to disrupt [Hussein’s] regime and to encourage the forces of democracy,” which the Senator specified included sending in ground troops––exactly what Bush would be doing five years later.

Kerry’s rank opportunism and that of the Democrats during the primaries included vicious and duplicitous ad hominem attacks on a president conducting a difficult war––one voted for by the three major Dem primary candidates, and based on policy prescriptions that were endorsed by the foreign policy and security agencies, while many of our European allies and the opposition party exploited those difficulties for political gain.

Finally, we should not forget Kerry’s tenure as Secretary of State during Barack Obama’s second term. A plutocratic globalist and champion of the “rules-based international order,” Kerry’s preference for diplomacy, “soft power,” supranational institutions, and multinational covenants and agreements reinforced Obama’s, and led inter alia to the pusillanimous response to Putin’s annexation of Crimea in 2014, just one of the many failures on Obama’s and Kerry’s watch.

Indeed, it was Kerry who provided what could be the epitaph for our idealistic, naïve foreign policy that has led to Russia’s adventurism in Ukraine and Syria, Iran’s support for terrorism and imminent possession of nuclear weapons, and China’s naked ambition to supplant the “new world” order with its communist tyranny.

In March of 2014, Kerry scolded Putin,

You just don’t in the 21st century behave in 19th century fashion by invading another country on completely trumped up pretext. It is serious in terms of [a ] sort of modern manner with which nations are going to resolve problems. There are all kinds of other options still available to Russia. There still are. President Obama wants to emphasize to the Russians that there are a right set of choices that can still be made to address any concerns they have about Crimea, about their citizens, but you don’t choose to invade a country in order to do that.

The astonishing parochialism and condescending arrogance of these words pretty much sum up the West’s feckless foreign policy idealism. As we are witnessing in Ukraine today, most of the world invades other countries on flimsy pretexts, as it has for all of human history. But our “modern manner” is woefully lacking in the tragic realism that has defined human existence since the Cro-Magnons invaded prehistorical Europe and disappeared the Neanderthals.

Kerry’s career and policy prescriptions are evidence of the mischief such political opportunism and naive ideals can cause. It may not be enough accountability for his catalogue of failure, but defunding his sinecure at least offers some poetic justice.

July 30, 2023 | Comments »

Leave a Reply