Secretary of State John Kerry sets off for what he calls “a long overdue” trip to Russia on Monday, and Syria is likely to top the agenda.
But U.S.-Russian relations are frosty these days. The U.S. is imposing targeted sanctions on Russian human rights violators, while Moscow is preventing American families from adopting Russian children.
Kerry would be wise, though, not to dwell on these and other disputes, says Angela Stent, director of the center for Eurasian, Russian and East European Studies at Georgetown University. She says the Obama administration needs to find a way to work with President Vladimir Putin on pressing global issues.
“We do know that Putin does have a pragmatic side to him and that he is willing to engage and make deals,” Stent says. “So I think the trick is to sort of find a way of doing that, of engaging Russia’s self interest, and not at least in the beginning being sidetracked by the Russian narrative of what’s wrong with the relationship.”
I was very happy with Secretary of State John Kerry today as he talked of U.S. freedoms, but of course some will take umbrage simply because he’s John Kerry.
Yori Yanover files his story under “Anti Semitism” and then pretends that Kerry said things he did not. Yanover goes full Godwin right out of the gate:
Forgetting, perhaps, that he was in Berlin, former home to the most terrifying regime under Heaven,
Then he leaps right to this:
Then Kerry really turned it on, telling his audience how in the land of the free neo Nazis are permitted to strut in their jackboots and swastika wherever they feel like, even in the Jewish suburbs of Chicago.
Yes, this is true - we do let Neo Nazi’s demonstrate all they like, because we like to know who they are.
However Kerry’s analogy was not that specific - he never said “Skokie” - indeed the most recent Supreme Court rulings on Free Speech and hated demonstrators have involved the Phelps Clan. The German Youths that Kerry addressed are probably far more familiar with the “God Hates Fags” hate church than they are with the 36 year old attempted Neo Nazi March in Skokie that got moved back to Chicago in the end.
What Kerry really Said:
“People have sometimes wondered about why our Supreme Court allows one group or another to march in a parade even though it’s the most provocative thing in the world and they carry signs that are an insult to one group or another.”
So Yori, it’s just tough if you don’t like US freedoms, we like to know who the evil ones are which is exactly why we don’t ban their speech, demonstrations, or gatherings. It’s sad that you think we should say one thing at home and another abroad, and it’s sad that you need to drag the holocaust to a speech where it wasn’t referenced.
“As a country, as a society, we live and breathe the idea of religious freedom and religious tolerance, whatever the religion, and political freedom and political tolerance, whatever the point of view,” Kerry told the students in Berlin, the second stop on his inaugural trip as secretary of state.
“People have sometimes wondered about why our Supreme Court allows one group or another to march in a parade even though it’s the most provocative thing in the world and they carry signs that are an insult to one group or another,” he added.
“The reason is, that’s freedom, freedom of speech. In American you have a right to be stupid - if you want to be,” he said, prompting laughter. “And you have a right to be disconnected to somebody else if you want to be.
“And we tolerate it. We somehow make it through that. Now, I think that’s a virtue. I think that’s something worth fighting for,” he added. “The important thing is to have the tolerance to say, you know, you can have a different point of view.”
Kerry made the comments on his first foreign trip since becoming secretary of state on February 1. After one-night stops in London and Berlin, he visits Paris, Rome, Ankara, Cairo, Riyadh, Abu Dhabi and Doha before returning to Washington on March 6.
President Obama nominated Massachusetts Senator John Forbes Kerry as the next secretary of state Friday, turning to the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and one of his earliest political allies to guide American diplomacy in an “uncertain world” during the next four years.
The selection of the 69-year-old Kerry, which came after UN Ambassador Susan Rice withdrew her name from consideration last week, was heralded across the political divide as a wise choice of a fully tested player on the international stage who can dive into some of the world’s most challenging problems — from the civil war in Syria and fears of an Iranian nuclear bomb to winding down the war in Afghanistan and navigating America’s complex economic and security relations with a rising China.
If Kerry is confirmed, as expected, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick would name a temporary replacement to fill his seat and a special election would be held later next year to complete his term, which is up in 2014.
The nomination to replace Hillary Clinton is the capstone of a three-decade political career that began when Kerry, the son of a Foreign Service officer, returned from the Vietnam War a decorated veteran to become a leading voice of the antiwar movement.
President Obama has decided to nominate Sen. John Kerry to be the next secretary of state and could make a formal announcement as early as next week, a Democrat who spoke to Kerry told CNN Saturday.
The expected nomination follows U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice’s decision to withdraw her name from consideration for the post. She dropped out of the running Thursday after weeks of criticism from Republicans about statements she made about the September 11, 2012, attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya, which left four Americans dead, including Ambassador Chris Stevens.
If confirmed by the Senate, Kerry would replace current Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who plans to leave her post within the administration.
Senior US Senator John Kerry on Thursday warned President Bashar al-Assad to refrain from using force against protests planned for Friday and urged him to embrace a dialogue with the opposition.
Assad “should insist that his police and military refrain from using violence against peaceful demonstrators and instead he should seize the opportunity to open a process of real discussion to address the aspirations of the Syrian people,” Kerry said in a statement.
The lawmaker, a former presidential candidate who chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said “the world will be watching very closely” to see how Assad manages the next round of protests.