Here’s the punchline of James Taranto’s most recent column in the Wall Street Journal:

John Kerry would be a great diplomat if only the Israelis and Palestinians could be replaced by holograms.

I seem to be in a minority in this view but I don’t think that diplomacy is an individual performance activity. Viewing it as such reduces the Department of State to people standing around waiting to hold the president’s or Secretary of State’s coats while they work.

My dissatisfaction with John Kerry’s approach to diplomacy is that he appears to view himself as the President of Foreign Policy, not a constitutional role. And I long ago complained that Mr. Kerry has the appearance of a diplomat without the temperament of one. I think that’s a typical Baby Boomer error. As Tom and Dick Smothers put it, “If you get an outfit, you can be a cowboy, too.”

3 comments… add one
  • Modulo Myself

    In the long run, Kerry’s ‘apartheid’ gaffe was a good act of diplomacy. America’s position with Israel has to be part bullshit, part truth. The West Bank does resemble an apartheid state. But, on the other hand, Israel is totally awesome, and not really administering an apartheid state, not if you squint.

    Overall, America would be happy to have the Israel/Palestine situation continue in its current status quo for eternity. But there’s got to be some awareness of the truth. The old total bullshit that Taranto no longer works.

  • What is the truth? IMO the truth about the conflict between the Israelis and Palestinians is that as long as the most radical factions on either side have veto power no solution is possible. I’ve also expressed my uneasiness with the U. S. cozying up to any state that defines itself in ethnic or religious terms. He who sups with the devil must use a long spoon.

    Kerry’s ‘apartheid’ gaffe was a good act of diplomacy

    You’ve asserted that without explaining it. Why is it a good act of diplomacy? What foreign policy interests did it advance?

    I think it was more like a phenomenon in Japanese society that I wish I remembered the Japanese word for. Hara o waru? That may not be it. The implication is blurting out your true feelings in a sort of spasm. Not the act of a diplomat which requires hiding your true feelings.

  • steve

    He, actually we, we should give up on trying to resolve the Israeli/Palestinian problem. I am not sure why we should put effort into it when they won’t. They are headed towards a one state solution with apartheid. No way around that and we cant really stop it. If and when the two parties get serious again, maybe we should participate.


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