By: The Editorial Board of The New York Sun
At this point the best thing that could happen in the Syria crisis would be for Secretary of State Kerry to resign. He’s one of the logical persons to take the fall for this fiasco, given that we don’t live under a parliamentary system and the constitutional concept in respect of the president, any president, is for the decision to be made by voters once in four years. It was Mr. Kerry who made the blunder that has put the administration on track for a classic appeasement.
What possessed the secretary to suggest Syria be let off the hook after gassing its own people is beyond us. Only a day or so before Mr. Kerry was himself warning against appeasement, though he never sounded like he meant it. His whole public life has been a long arc of retreat. The idea that he could suddenly emerge as a hawk, even in the face of such a crisis as Syria, always seemed chimerical. The proposal to let Syria off the hook in a deal with Russia is just too cynical by half.
No doubt Mr. Kerry’s defenders will suggest that he never meant his idea of disarming Syria to be taken seriously. If that is his defense, the reason for him to resign would be incompetence. For the first time since he was on a Swiftboat, he has an executive, wartime responsibility. It’s not like a senator, where one can — indeed, one is expected to — burble on interminably and with but indirect consequence. He now holds a job in which there isn’t room for blundering.
Another possibility is that Mr. Kerry’s offer to let Syria off the hook wasn’t an unintended, off-hand remark, but a calculated collapse in the face of resistance in Congress to his mini-war-plan. In that case, it would be all too typical of Mr. Kerry. We take no joy in having predicted it in “A Moral Obscenity.” Or, for that matter, in having opposed the elevation of Mr. Kerry to secretary of state in the first place. In any event, if it was a premeditated demarche, resignation would also be in order.
Yet a third possibility is that this is all part of President Obama’s plan. This is the suggestion in an important op-ed piece by Norman Podhoretz, issued over the weekend in the Wall Street Journal under the headline “Obama’s Successful Foreign Policy Failure.” Mr. Podhoretz argues that as a “left-wing radical,” Mr. Obama “believed that the United States had almost always been a retrograde and destructive force in world affairs” and has sought to transform it accordingly.
If that’s not true, then Mr. Kerry ought to resign. If it is true, Mr. Kerry ought to resign. For millions of Americans Mr. Kerry’s political career was poisoned at birth by his meeting with America’s wartime enemies while our GIs were appearing in arms in Vietnam. It was poisoned by his libels against his fellow GIs in testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that he went on to chair. A political reckoning was only a matter of time.
We had hoped that such a reckoning was accomplished in the presidential election of 2004, when the Swiftboat Veterans for Truth rose up and exposed Candidate Kerry as a wartime fraud. But he passed that off as politics and returned to the Senate. It is going to be impossible for him to pass off the current catastrophe so easily. The administration, the country, our allies, our GIs would be better off were Mr. Kerry now to step down and the Senate be given the chance to consent to someone more prepared for the job once held by Jefferson, Madison, and John Quincy Adams.