Secretary of State John Kerry is sounding unexpectedly warlike as he begins his term, warning Iran that the time for peaceful resolution of the nuclear issue is limited while suggesting his views on war had changed since he returned from Vietnam four decades ago as a peace activist.
Kerry, who is on his first foreign trip since assuming office, told a group of German students Tuesday that he had come to the realization since Vietnam that war has its uses.
When I came back to America as a young veteran, I led Veterans Against the War.
Now, anybody who has been in war should hate war. Occasionally, there are a few people who may not. But most people who have been to war will come out and tell you they hate war.
And yet I’ve learned, because of the way the world works, that sometimes you have to stand up to fight for and defend something where there’s no other alternative.
Kerry’s insight into the way the world works may have informed his warning to Iran Monday that it will face “terrible consequences” if it doesn’t use the current diplomatic window to rein in its nuclear program:
The window for a diplomatic solution simply cannot by definition remain open forever . . . there is still time, but there is only time if Iran makes the decision to come to the table and negotiate in good faith.
Kerry Tuesday also expressed support for France’s armed intervention in Mali:
One of the lessons we learned in Afghanistan is you cannot leave jihadist group to just make its plots and then go attack people, as they did us, totally out of the blue, destroying the World Trade Center and killing over 3,000 people, the most significant loss of life that we’ve had since Pearl Harbor, 1941.
And during his trip, he’s been dangling suggestions that the United States is going to strengthen its support for Syrian rebels:
The Syrian opposition is not going to be dangling in the wind wondering where the support is or if it’s coming, and we are determined to change the calculation on the ground for President Assad.
Is ex-peacenik John Kerry the new voice within the administration for ending the Obama Doctrine of Leading From Behind? His martial talk is probably already prompting dispepsia throughout the many pacifist corners of the administration.