NO ADVERTISING, GOVERNMENT OR CORPORATE FUNDING

  • Latest News
  • Pitch a Story
  • Work with a Journalist
  • Join the Blog Squad
  • Afghanistan
  • Africa
  • Asia
  • Baltimore
  • Canada
  • Egypt
  • Europe
  • Latin America
  • Middle East
  • Russia
  • Economy
  • Environment
  • Health Care
  • Military
  • Occupy
  • Organize This
  • Reality Asserts Itself
  • US Politics
  • The Case Against Kerry


    Stephen Zunes tracks the history of John Kerry from Vietnam War critic to Iraq war hawk -   January 24, 2013
    Members don't see ads. If you are a member, and you're seeing this appeal, click here

    Audio

    Share to Facebook Share to Twitter




    An awesome daily supply of genuine, un-spun world news - Chris Attwell
    Log in and tell us why you support TRNN

    Transcript

    The Case Against KerryPAUL JAY, SENIOR EDITOR, TRNN: Welcome to The Real News Network. I'm Paul Jay in Baltimore.

    With all the attention on the nomination by President Obama of Chuck Hagel as secretary of defense, there hasn't been quite as much discussion about his nomination of John Kerry for secretary of state. I guess that's partly because he seems rather beloved by the Republicans and is likely to get passed without much issue. But there are issues, according to our next guest, Stephen Zunes.

    He now joins us where he's a professor of politics. And he is also chair of the Middle Eastern studies at the University of San Francisco. He's also a columnist and senior analyst of Foreign Policy in Focus. I should say he's actually joining us now from North Carolina, where he's traveling.

    Thanks for joining us, Stephen.

    STEPHEN ZUNES, CHAIR, MIDDLE EASTERN STUDIES, UNIVERSITY OF SAN FRANCISCO: My pleasure.

    JAY: So everyone's—generally in the mainstream media seems to like this appointment of John Kerry. But you don't. Why?

    ZUNES: John Kerry, though he—his earlier Senate career included some bold challenges to U.S. foreign policy, particularly regarding Central America, the nuclear arms race, and his support for various dictators around the world, moved sharply to the right in the past decade or so, including support for the invasion of Iraq, support for the more hardline elements in Israel, and a number of policy statements and initiatives which seem to indicate a pretty serious disdain to basic principles of human rights, international law. In addition, a series of statements ranging from his false claims about Iraq's military potential during the waning days of Saddam Hussein's reign to his attacks on Amnesty International and other reputable human rights organizations for reporting violations of human rights by U.S. allies have also raised questions about his credibility.

    JAY: So just to track his history a little bit, I mean, he made a name for himself 'cause he came back as this decorated war vet and opposed to the war in Vietnam. And if you listen to the rhetoric at that time, he sounds rather progressive in his foreign policy position.

    ~~~

    JOHN KERRY, VIETNAM WAR VETERAN: We could come back to this country and we could be quiet, we could hold our silence, we could not tell what went on in Vietnam. But we feel because of what threatens this country, the fact that the crimes threaten it, not red, not redcoats, but the crimes which we're committing are what threaten it. And we have to speak out.

    ~~~

    JAY: So give us a bit of the arc of what happened to that John Kerry.

    ZUNES: Well, it's hard to say. I mean, some people say he did it for political expediency because he had long desired to run for president. Of course, he did in 2004, receiving the Democratic nomination and losing narrowly to President Bush. But in the post-9/11 era, he tended to take a pretty hardline position. He went around claiming that the United States has a right to invade other countries without international support. He attacked the UN secretary-general, he attacked fellow Democrats, he attacked the Spanish prime minister and others who raised questions about this kind of U.S. unilateralism, his claims, for example, that Iraq—that everybody agreed that Iraq had advanced nuclear weapons program. And, in fact, there were very well publicized, even at that time, divisions among national security analysts, even within the government, about those facts. So he claimed that they had biological and chemical weapons even more advanced than they did prior to the Gulf War of 1991 and the subsequent disarmament that was imposed by the international community.

    These things kind of raised serious, you know, questions [unintel.] the extent he would go to supporting a U.S. intervention in various parts of the world.

    JAY: And didn't he go so far as to say that if he—knowing what he knows now, he'd still vote for it?

    ZUNES: Yeah. This is the scary part, actually. When he was running for president in 2004, unlike, say, Chuck Hagel and some other people who immediately regretted their vote for the war and backtracked, Kerry doubled down. He said that even if he knew that Iraq did not have these chemical and biological weapons and nuclear weapons programs, he would have supported the invasion anyway, because they might have the potential [inaud.] some day and Iraq was a repressive dictatorship.

    But by that criteria, repressive regimes with the potential to make nonconventional weapons, there are at least 30, 40 countries around the world that meet that criteria. And he was essentially saying, we have the right to invade any one of them.

    JAY: Now, a lot of people breathed a sigh of relief when Susan Rice didn't get nominated, because she is known as a, quote, humanitarian imperialist—in other words, she's known to be very pro-interventionist, using humanitarian framing for the intervention. But is Kerry any different than that?

    ZUNES: No, not really. And indeed he's been quite supportive of intervention that doesn't even remotely resemble humanitarian initiatives. He's been a big supporter, for example, when—in backing the Bush administration's defense of Israel's wars on Lebanon and Gaza. He basically has taken this position that [unintel.] his attacks against Howard Dean for saying that the United States should work more multilaterally with other countries, saying, oh, that's just an excuse for doing nothing, he would surrender our right of self-defense, and the like. He attacked Spanish Prime Minister, you know, Zapatero as giving in to terrorism when Zapatero said, we are going to withdraw Spanish troops from Iraq because the Bush administration refuses to allow the UN to play a stronger role.

    I mean, again, this guy is pretty hardcore. In many ways, he has embraced some of the very basic assumptions we normally associate with the right-wing Republican neoconservatives.

    JAY: So this tells us a lot about President Obama's foreign policy outlook, I think, because on the one hand, the reason he always said he opposed the Iraq War is 'cause it was a stupid war, not because he's against those kinds of interventions. He just saw that that particular war would actually weaken America's ability to project power. And those are virtually his words. So you see the appointment of Chuck Hagel—he thinks a war with Iran would be stupid, and he wants someone that could help keep the lid on that. On the other hand, he's not against the use of armed force to project power, and there he has Kerry. So it isn't actually contradictory, these two appointments.

    ZUNES: No. But in certain ways, though, it does—I do see it as something of a betrayal by Obama, in that when he was running for president, he said he promised not just to end the Iraq War, but to end the mindset which led to the Iraq War in the first place. And he was smart enough—or whether it be for, you know, pragmatic reasons or anything else, recognized that the invasion of Iraq and occupation would be a disaster. And, you know, he should be given at least some credit for that understanding. But at the same time, almost every major appointment he has made dealing with foreign policy and national security—Gates in defense; Hillary Clinton, secretary of state; Dennis Blair at DNI; Napolitano at Homeland Security; Biden as vice president; Emanuel as chief of staff—and all these people were among the right-wing minority of Democrats that supported the Iraq War.

    Remember, the majority of Democrats on Capitol Hill voted against the authorization. [unintel.] again, virtually every single one of Obama's appointments to these top positions have been among that right-wing minority.

    JAY: I interviewed Susan Rice during the New Hampshire primary in 2008, and I asked her this question directly, and she was essentially his spokesperson on foreign policy during the election campaign, and I asked her if—what is this new mindset? I said, if you're going to have a new mindset the way he's promised, doesn't that mean you have to question the whole underlying assumption that there has to be—the United States has to be a global military power? I said, you know, what do you think about closing down most or all of the foreign military bases? What is the difference in your strategy in Afghanistan? Is it going to be just troop-based or not? And I asked her essentially that question, and she essentially—not essentially—she took off her microphone and walked out of the interview. She said, I don't have to do this.

    ZUNES: Really? It's interesting. I think in many ways that these appointments, including Kerry, are exemplary of this idea that somehow the United States is above the law and its allies are above the law. In fact, I remember when the International Court of Justice in a unanimous (save for the U.S. judge) opinion that said that Israel, like all other countries, had to abide by the Fourth Geneva Convention and other principles of international humanitarian law in the occupied territories. In 2004, John Kerry sharply criticized the International Court of Justice for its unanimous ruling (save for the U.S. judge) that said that Israel, like all countries, is bound by provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention, specifically that while they can build a separation barrier on their internationally recognized borders, they cannot build this separation wall deep inside occupied territory in this serpentine fashion as part of a land grab to incorporate all these settlements. Well, John Kerry denounced the World Court as being anti-Israel, as not supporting Israel's right to self-defense, and even said that the World Court should have no jurisdiction whatsoever, that it should simply be a matter of the Israeli courts to decide, and the U.S. should support whatever the Israeli courts say.

    But when you think about the implications of this, he's basically saying that if a country invades and occupies another country, any legal question regarding international humanitarian law or anything else should be determined by the courts of the occupying power. In other words, that combined with his rationalization for the invasion of Iraq, seems to indicate that a wholesale rejection of the United Nations system, 20th-century international law, and embrace a 19th-century notion of right of conquest.

    JAY: Alright. Well, I guess this is just the beginning of discussions about John Kerry, 'cause it seems rather sure he's going to be nominated. Thanks for joining us, Stephen.

    ZUNES: My pleasure.

    JAY: And thank you for joining us on The Real News Network.

    End

    DISCLAIMER: Please note that transcripts for The Real News Network are typed from a recording of the program. TRNN cannot guarantee their complete accuracy.


    Comments

    Our automatic spam filter blocks comments with multiple links and multiple users using the same IP address. Please make thoughtful comments with minimal links using only one user name. If you think your comment has been mistakenly removed please email us at contact@therealnews.com

    Comments


    Latest Stories


    The Bundy Ranch Standoff Demonstrates Values Shared by Corporations and the Far Right
    The Resegregation of American Schools
    The Modern History of Venezuela, Why Still So Much Crime? - Edgardo Lander on Reality Asserts Itself (7/9)
    What Role Has Russia Played in Eastern Ukraine?
    Can Johns Hopkins Afford to Pay A Living Wage? (2/2)
    University Sit-In Targets World's Largest Private Coal Company
    The Modern History of Venezuela and the Need for a Post-Oil Economy - Edgardo Lander on RAI (6/9)
    Can Johns Hopkins Afford to Pay A Living Wage? (1/2)
    One Percent of Environmentalists Killings Lead to Convictions
    Investigation Finds Former Ukraine President Not Responsible For Sniper Attack on Protestors
    The Modern History of Venezuela from 1973 to the Caracazo Massacre - Edgardo Lander on Reality Asserts Itself (3/9)
    Ukraine Transitional Gov't Moves Militarily To Reclaim Seized Buildings
    IPCC Report Flawed By Narrow Focus on Carbon Emissions
    The Modern History of Venezuela: The Bolivarian Revolution - Edgardo Lander on Reality Asserts Itself (5/9)
    Obama Signs Directives to Reduce the Gender Wage Gap
    Eastern Ukraine Lacks Political Representation in Kiev
    Demystifying the Role of Mitigation in the Most Recent IPCC Report
    Hypersurveillance State Won't Prevent Another Boston Marathon Bombing
    The Modern History of Venezuela from 1973 to the Caracazo Massacre - Edgardo Lander on Reality Asserts Itself (3/9)
    Univ. of Maine Faculty Reinstated After Students Protest Against Cuts
    The Modern History of Venezuela from 1908 to 1973 - Edgardo Lander on Reality Asserts Itself (2/9)
    IMF Will Address Global Inequality, Says Managing Director Christine Lagarde
    Raising Big Banks' Leverage Ratio Good, But Not Nearly Enough
    TRNN Replay: Austerity Road to 19th Century
    Has Palestinian Maneuvering Revived Peace Talks?
    Late Jackson Mayor Lumumba's Son Wins Primary to Replace His Father, Runoff Election Ahead
    Quebecers Reject PQ and Elect a Liberal Government Representing Big Business
    TRNN Debate: Decriminalization vs. Legalization
    The Beginning of the Chavez Era - Edgardo Lander on Reality Asserts Itself (4/9)
    "Off With His Head": Court Upholds Obama's Power to Kill
    Workers at Nation's Top Hospital Strike For Fair Wages
    From Exile to Radicalization in Venezuela - Edgardo Lander on Reality Asserts Itself (1/9)
    Rwanda 20 Years Later: Genocide, Western Plunder of Congo, and President Kagame
    Ukrainian Protesters in the East Demand More Autonomy From Kiev Government
    Hunger Strikers Demand President Obama Halt His Record 2 Million Deportations
    Indian Parliamentary Elections - A Primer With Vijay Prashad
    West Looks to Carve Up Ukraine & Privatize Industries Held by Kleptocrats
    Where Are Israeli-Palestinian Peace Negotiations Headed?
    The Multiple Kingdoms of Saudi Arabia (5/5)
    Do the Afghan Presidential Elections Signify Progress?
    Republican Presidential Hopefuls Pay Homage to Billionaire Casino Tycoon Sheldon Adelson
    Will Extremist Lieberman Become Israel's Next Prime Minister?
    Why do the Saudis Want the US to Attack Iran? (4/5)
    Immigrant Advocates and Families Tell President Obama 'Not One More'
    Elections, Pipelines, and Protests - The Canada Panel
    Chris Hedges on "Israel's War on American Universities"
    Baltimore Residents Decry Lack of Affordable Housing
    Yellen Talks the Talk But Will She Walk the Walk?
    Hopkins Hospital Workers Speak Out against "Poverty Wages"
    Will Venezuela's New Floating Exchange Rate Curb Inflation?
    The European Central Bank's War on Wages is Pushing Europe's Economy to the Brink
    Supreme Court Decision Opens Floodgates for More Campaign Cash
    Charles Keating, the Financier Behind the Savings and Loan Scandal, Dies at 90
    Saudi Arabia and the al-Qaeda Monster (3/5)
    Maryland Residents Voice Opposition to Natural Gas Fracking Export Facility
    Supreme Court Ruling Gives Wealthy Individuals More Influence Over Elections
    What are the Saudis Afraid Of? - Madawi Al-Rasheed (2/5)
    Baltimore's MICA Adjunct Professors Set to Vote on Unionization
    Boycott of Israel Moving to Next Level?
    Hypocrisy Dressed Up as "Realism" Justifies American Alliance with Saudi Dictatorship
    Immigration Reform in the Shadows of Cesar Chavez's Legacy
    Leaked Senate Report Shows Use of Torture As "Ineffective"
    UN Report Says Climate Change Will Threaten Food Production Worldwide
    The Hypocrisy of US Calling for Enforcement of International Law
    How the Ecuadorian Economy Grew in a Global Recession
    'Shadows of Liberty' Trailer
    Kristina Borjesson on Why CBS Shut Down Her investigation into Flight 800 (2/8)
    Glen Ford on Racism in the American Media (3/8)
    Paul Jay on What Drives Corporate Media and What Drive The Real News (4/8)
    Creating a New Media Paradigm After Citizens United (5/8)
    Should The Left Engage with the Mainstream Media? (6/8)
    What Is the Financial Backing For The Real News? (7/8)
    Standing up to Character Assassination (8/8)
    Oligarchs, Fascists and the People's Protest in Ukraine
    TRNN Debate: Is Obamacare In the Interest of Workers?
    Too-Big-To-Fail Advantage Remains Intact For Big Banks
    Obama and the Saudi Agenda
    TRNN Replay: Investigating the Saudi Government's 9/11 Connection and the Path to Disilliusionment - Sen. Graham on Reality Asserts Itself pt 1
    The Iraq War's Real Legacy
    Petitions with 100,000+ Signatures Call for Snowden's Passport to be Reinstated
    We Need to Harness People Power - Andy Shallal on Reality Asserts Itself (4/4)
    BC Pipeline Fight and Quebec Elections - The Canada Panel
    Jonathan Schell - 1943-2014: Board Member of TRNN on Why We Need The Real News
    Teachers on Strike from the UK to Argentina
    Connecticut Poised to Become First State with $10.10 Minimum Wage
    Oil Spill Threatens Wildlife and Local Economy
    DC School Test Scores Up, But Poor Black Kids Are Doing Worse - Andy Shallal on RAI (3/4)
    Obama's Proposal To End NSA Bulk Data Collection Won't Protect Privacy
    How Google, Apple & The Biggest Tech Companies Colluded to Fix Workers' Wages
    An American Should be One that Questions Their Government - Andy Shallal on RAI (2/4)
    What's Driving Putin & Obama's Posturing on Ukraine?
    Hundreds of Students & Faculty Occupy College Campus to Fight Cuts to Public Higher Ed
    Due Process 'Impossible' In Harsh Death Sentencing Of Over 500 Muslim Brotherhood Members
    Has Anglo-American Capitalism Run Out of Steam?
    Being the "Other" in America - Andy Shallal on Reality Asserts Itself (1/4)
    TRNN Debate: Should Baltimore 'Ban The Box'?
    How Fallujah Became the Iraqi Government's New Battleground
    Why I Decided to Blow the Whistle on the NSA
    NASA Climate Predictions Show Serious Threat To Humanity
    Professor Who Teaches Israel-Palestine Conflict Accuses College of Violating His Academic Freedom
    CIA and NSA Wrongdoing Requires Independent Investigation, Says Former Church Committee Staff
    Are Tuition Breaks Enough To Combat High Student Debt And Low Graduation Rates?
    Industries Across the U.S. Are Stealing Wages From Their Lowest Paid Workers
    Who In Ukraine Will Benefit From An IMF Bailout?
    NSA Recording All International Calls From U.S.
    Israel "Making Lives Miserable" for Africans, Hoping They 'Self-Deport' (2/2)
    BP Gets Green Light to Drill in Gulf, But Has Safety Improved?
    Residents Still Not Drinking Tap Water Two Months After West Virginia Spill (1/2)
    Libya's Descent Into Turmoil Three Years After NATO Intervention
    From Pipelines to Peladeau - Canadian Report
    Israel "Making Lives Miserable" for Africans, Hoping They 'Self-Deport' (1/2)
    Congressional Progressive Caucus Budget Strikes Back Against Austerity
    Libya Three Years Later - Chaos and Partition
    Why Was Gaddafi Overthrown?
    Should Ukraine and West Accept De Facto Crimea Joining Russia? (2/2)
    Tony Benn Saw Socialism as the Culmination of Democratization
    Why Didn't Bush/Cheney Attack Iran and Can Obama Make and Sell a Deal? - Gareth Porter on Reality Asserts Itself (3/3)
    After Late Mayor Lumumba is Laid to Rest, What's Next for Jackson, Mississippi? (2/2)
    Crimea Referendum: Self Determination or Big Power Manipulation? (1/2)
    Sen. Graham: President Must Side with Openness About CIA and 9/11
    Manufacturing a Narrative for War - Gareth Porter on Reality Asserts Itself (2/3)
    Protesters Hit the Streets of Brooklyn to Demand $15 Minimum Wage
    Hammer: 'Moral Bankruptcy' Behind Massive GM Recall
    White House Withholds Thousands of Documents from Senate CIA Probe
    I Grew Up Believing in Time Magazine's Version of America - Gareth Porter on RAI (1/3)
    Western European Banks Vulnerable to Ukrainian Sovereign Debt Crisis
    TRNN Debate: What's Driving Inflation in Venezuela? (2/2)
    CIA vs. Senate: Who Is Obama Protecting?
    Will Tipped Workers Get Excluded Again From Minimum Wage Hike?
    TRNN Debate: What's Driving Inflation in Venezuela? (1/2)
    After Late Mayor Lumumba is Laid to Rest, What's Next for Jackson, Mississippi?(1/2)
    TRNN Replay: A Look at Who's Poised to Become No.2 at the Fed
    How Right-Wing Nationalism Rose to Influence in Ukraine (2/2)
    Netanyahu Attacks Boycott As Campaign Enters New Phase
    Moving Towards a Police State - Michael Ratner on Reality Asserts Itself (7/7)
    Fighting Reagan's Secret, Illegal Wars - Michael Ratner on Reality Asserts Itself (6/7)
    Puerto Rican Independence Movement and Cuba Further Radicalized Me - Michael Ratner on RAI (5/7)
    The Butcher of Attica - Michael Ratner on Reality Asserts Itself (4/7)
    MLK and a Radicalizing Moment in American History - Michael Ratner on Reality Asserts Itself (3/7)

    RealNewsNetwork.com, Real News Network, Real News, Real News For Real People, IWT are trademarks and service marks of IWT.TV inc. "The Real News" is the flagship show of IWT and Real News Network.

    All original content on this site is copyright of The Real News Network.  Click here for more

    Problems with this site? Please let us know

    Linux VPS Hosting by Star Dot Hosting