Kerry Was Right the First Time: America Is Not ‘Retreating’ Into ‘Isolationism’

John Glaser, February 27, 2014


Report from Thursday, February 26, 2014 (today):

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry decried what he called a “new isolationism” in the United States on Wednesday and suggested that the country was beginning to behave like a poor nation.

Speaking to reporters, Kerry inveighed against what he sees as a tendency within the United States to retreat from the world even as he defended the Obama administration’s diplomatic efforts from Syria to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Report from Saturday, February 1, 2014:

[Secretary of State John Kerry]…presented an emotional defense of the Obama administration’s engagement in international crises in the face of widespread European and Middle Eastern criticism that the United States was retreating from a leadership role.

Speaking here at the Munich Security Conference, the most important trans-Atlantic security gathering, Secretary of State John Kerry expressed some exasperation with the criticism, rejecting “this narrative which frankly has been pushed by some people who have an interest in trying to suggest that the U.S. is somehow on a different track.” He went through a litany of American involvement in places like Afghanistan, Libya and the Middle East, saying, “I can’t think of a place in the world where we’re retreating.”

At the beginning of this month, John Kerry vehemently dismissed the criticism that America is “retreating” from the world. Not even four weeks later, he is making that very criticism. He was right the first time. Like the John Kerry of February 1st, I can’t think of one single place in the world where the United States is withdrawing.

  • Our State Department has helped usher in a change of government in Ukraine, as Washington continues to compete with Moscow for influence in a post-Soviet state that is of no vital interest to the U.S. Across Europe, in countries like Germany, Italy, Greece, Belgium, et al., Washington maintains military bases and continues to push for the expansion of NATO.
  • The Obama administration continues to meddle in the Syrian civil war, futilely supporting rebel militias that are making the country and the region more dangerous; all the while demanding Assad step down, as if America has the God-given right to dictate heads of state.
  • In Latin America, Washington is sending millions of dollars to opposition groups in Venezuela in the midst of instability and disorder because the U.S. has long opposed the leftist leadership. In places like Honduras, Washington is supporting corruption, military repression, and fraudulent elections even as human rights groups publicly urge the U.S. to stay out of their internal affairs.
  • In Israel and Palestine, the U.S. continues to pretend to be an impartial arbiter, even as it supports the Israeli government with $3 billion every year and all the advanced weapons systems it could want. The decades-long military occupation and creeping annexation of the West Bank is an issue which reverberates across the Middle East and the world and generates extreme hatred towards the U.S. thanks to our interventionism.
  • The Obama administration has taken it upon itself to wage a secret, unaccountable drone war in which any target may be designated for extra-judicial assassination without any independent review or due process, in a legal view which understands the entire world as a legitimate battlefield. Drones have been deployed in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, Algeria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Libya, and others.
  • The U.S. is increasingly supporting dictatorial governments in Africa – Ethiopia, Uganda, Kenya, and beyond – to serve its own geopolitical ambitions. Joint Special Operations forces are conducting operations in Somalia, Nigeria, Libya, and training militaries in more than a dozen African countries.
  • The Asia-Pivot is a plan to militarily encircle China with forward operating bases and a significant boost to our naval presence in across East Asia, all in an attempt to head off a Beijing with more economic and military influence, which we reserve for ourselves only.
  • Not only does the U.S. maintain an empire of 1,000 military bases in over 130 countries around the world, but small units of elite special forces were secretly deployed into – at last count – 134 nations last year.

I could go on. I didn’t even mention the ongoing war in Afghanistan, the support of the Iraqi dictatorship putting the country on a path to civil war, Iran, etc. etc. No, unicorns don’t exist, the Earth isn’t flat, and the U.S. is not “in retreat.”

29 Responses to “Kerry Was Right the First Time: America Is Not ‘Retreating’ Into ‘Isolationism’”

  1. I remember well being excoriated by Democrats for not voting for this vile hypocrite.

    I think Kerry's entire career exemplifies the poverty of our political choices, and the prevalence of psychopaths in our leadership. He was against the Vietnam War. He was for the Vietnam War. He volunteered to go to Vietnam and seems to have participated in the slaughter. He participated in the antiwar movement and threw his medals – well someone's medals, anyway, because he wore them when running for president – over the White House fence. Even his ethnic identity is a lie. He is a Skull and Bonesman, after all – and probably above all. He is a dangerous and bloodthirsty deceiver without a shred of integrity or decency. His statement re a 'new isolationism' is a threadbare argument for endless war; his charge that reluctance to engage in threats and mass murder indicate that we are behaving like a 'poor nation' is about as tone deaf to the concerns of US citizens as anything Mitt Romney ever said.

    And you know? We are a poor nation. We can't afford to feed children anymore – or so our politicians tell us. We can't afford a true universal healthcare system, when we have one of the highest infant mortality rates in the developed world. In fact, effing Costa Rica has a better healthcare system! Our cities teem with homeless, ragged men and women, and we have no money for mental hospitals, or to help the veterans damaged by these eternal wars. Children are growing up in shelters – and often only get to be indoors at night. Others are growing up in cars. Is that not a poor nation? Worse, we are becoming a draconian Police State. Demonstrations are brutally suppressed with help from our 'community organizer' president. The police now respond to 911 calls by shooting the people they were sent to help (and their dog, of course, or a child if it's mistaken for a dog out of the corner of a cop's eye). We have the largest prison population in the world, and those who have done time are often placed under a burdensome regime or parole – for which they might be charged – and often lose their voting rights.

    Under Obama – who once taught Constitutional Law, more has been accomplished to undermine freedom of the press than under any regime in my lifetime. I can't think how I came to live in a nation where the Commander-In-Chief openly claims the unprecedented right to have anyone executed anywhere – including US citizens – without due process – ha! Without ANY public process at all. That is Tyranny. Under this president, we are all spied upon. That is a Police State. In mad pursuit of Edward Snowden, Obama detained the plane bearing the head of another sovereign nation. That is Imperialism. The government's willingness to use 'Signature Strikes' to murder people based on 'suspicious' behavior has left us with the blood of many wedding and funeral-goers, even children collecting firewood, on our hands. ……. And all I can do is protest, because my vote in presidential and congressional elections doesn't matter in the 2-party system. And of course, I can illustrate the problem and educate my fellow citizens where that is possible. This militarism, this chase after fossil fuels, this arrogance, is what stops us from changing the world.

    And changing the world is what we MUST do to save the planet for our species.

  2. Very well illustrated.

    The only other thing is that Kerry is employing Orwellian double-speak: The USA is an isolationist country NOW.

    Almost everything it does is in total isolation from the rest of the world. Going on examples from the things mentioned above: The USA is opposed by the whole world in its support for Israel. USA is alone in not recognizing Venezuela's governments and in supporting coups against them. USA is alone in waging a drone war, joined only by Israel. The USA's illegal Iraq invasion had support from zero countries. Afghanistan had support from two countries. Literally, just about every major thing the USA is doing is either in total isolation or a major minority. The USA's dictatorial limiting of Iran's nuclear rights is illegal, and is opposed by 80% of the world.

    If people want the USA to stop doing these things (and these are only a minor sample) then people are striving to make the USA a NON-isolationist country. They want to JOIN the international community, and stop bombing it and sh@tting on it on virtually every major policy, all for the gain of some sociopathic opportunists in the US.

  3. […] to support ever-larger, ever more calamitous wars the world over. He vowed that the US wouldn’t retreat anywhere in the […]

  4. Yea if the Obama era Kerry is proving anything it's that Kerry is an idiot. Oh wait, what I meant to say is that it's that Kerry likely wouldn't have been any better (that W no less). Wait Obama isn't better, Kerry wouldn't have been any better, I'm beginning to think this duopoly thing is a scam …

  5. I think that's a good summary. In my opinion it is a good choice to invest more money into the US instead of spending it all the time on military. I'm sure our kids will thank us for this…

  6. One must also remember that Kerry is a principal architect of the federal police state and its newly created crimes regarding money and its so called laundering. He wants to track every aspect of one's life by tracking every dollar's every move. I remember him appearing in front of Sensenbrenner accompanied by Chertoff, head of the newly created DHS, demanding that Congress pass a law criminalizing the possession of cash beyond what these two tyrants deemed acceptable. I could not believe my eyes and ears.

  7. "the country was beginning to behave like a poor nation". USA is already a poor nation and people's daily life getting worse by the day if not by the hours. Millions of people are homeless, from California to New York and if it was not for charities millions more would be on the streets, rest of the people are up to their neck in debt paying billions of dollars in interests to bankers financing their debt.

    This is how capitalism work, without people being in debt capitalism social economical oppress will vanish, Kerry, Obama or before these people are hired by the system and working for the system.

    USG been at war with rest of the world for last 60 years or so, although non of the democratic or otherwise regimes have achieved anything, but they continue with wars and planing for new ones. In last 30 years US upper class democrats and otherwise, hand in hand EU right wing, Neo fascism, Saudis tyrant, Israel apartheid and other form of dictatorial regimes have come together with concept in cooperation for new wars, Balkan, Libya, Syria, Africa are on going, war with Iran, China and Russia is their next move. For these regimes, from Sweden to Turkey, to rest of Europe democracy has no meaning, people's life have no meanings, children are killed or used as foot solders by barbarians have no meaning, education at home have no meaning and etc, what is important to them is their militarism regime as NATO and where they can create a deception to start a new strategical and militaries it. Ukraine, in cooperation with Neo-old and ok'd fascism is for IMF to deal with, USG including Kerry have done their part creating the cause for fascism to rise.

  8. "America is retreating from the world"..

    Americans are not going to other countries to visit or study? America does not trade with other countries? America is not sending a team to the Olympics? No to all questions. BY "retreating" he means Americans are tired of their soldiers lives being squandered on fools' errands around the globe. America's political "elites" don't just want to run the U.S., they want to micro-manage the whole world. Its fun for them! Especially when neither they or their children have to do the actual fighting. I have now reached the conclusion that the fall of the USSR was actually bad for Americans. It kept Washington in check.

  9. […] Kerry Was Right the First Time: America Is Not ‘Retreating’ Into ‘Isolationism’ John Glaser, February 27, 2014 […]

  10. Good rant! Bravo.

  11. Excellent heartfelt comment, adrienrain. To sum it up – the American people have been royally screwed and it's getting worse.

  12. Kerry was against saying the US is isolationist before he was for it.

  13. What are the new money laundering laws? Money laundering laws as I'm aware of date back to the 70s. It's the reporting of any transactions over 10k that has NEVER been adjusted for inflation since 1970 and never will be. So the politicians don't actually have to do anything, pretty soon the 10k will be worth 1k and every rent payment will get reported. Of course the "Patriot" Act contained lots of tracks on spending. It put an end to anonymous online shopping before bitcoin. And yea I imagine money laundering laws can be used against bitcoin. Are there new laws in addition to this?

    All of which might be more excusable if I thought for one second they even actually cared about money laundering. But HSBC, massive money laundering, slap on the wrist. Laws are for the little people.

  14. […] John Glaser writes for Antiwar: […]

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  16. […] of State John Kerry has both asserted and rejected the retreat claim, foreign policy writer John Glaser commented, “I can’t think of one single place in the world where the United States is […]

  17. […] of State John Kerry has both asserted and rejected the retreat claim, foreign policy writer John Glaser commented, “I can’t think of one single place in the world where the United States is […]

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  19. Speaking to reporters, Kerry inveighed against what he sees as a tendency within the United States to retreat from the world even as he defended the Obama administration’s diplomatic efforts from Syria to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

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