Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Open Thread - Secretaries of State Edition

Two Secretaries of State and two topics for today:

Number One: Below is a transcript of current Secretary of State John Kerry form his Sunday appearance on "Meet the Press" with Chuck Todd defending his current negotiations and recent non-agreement agreement pending with Iran:

QUESTION: Let me move to Iran because Iran is on the state sponsor of terror list. Why – how is it that you can do a nuclear agreement and trust a country to abide by that agreement that you also believe, that our government believes, is a state sponsor of terror?

SECRETARY KERRY: Well, the bottom line is the word you used, “trust.” We don’t trust. There is no element of trust in what we’re doing. You have to build trust, and that takes place over a long period of time.

This is an agreement that is based on transparency, accountability, verification. You have to be able to know what is happening. And we believe the President’s responsibility and my responsibility in support of him is to guarantee and protect the security of our country and of our friends and allies. And we believe that this agreement does that. We know that the American people overwhelmingly would like to see if we could resolve this question of Iran’s nuclear program peacefully. And that’s what we’re trying to do, but it requires a protocol of visibility, of accountability, of insight, of transparency --


SECRETARY KERRY: -- so that we know what Iran is doing. And over a long period of time we believe that we can indeed do what’s necessary to make the guarantees that are important to everyone. Now --


SECRETARY KERRY: -- what’s key here is that what we have done shuts off the four principal pathways to a bomb for Iran in the Natanz facility, in the Arak plutonium facility, in the Fordow underground facility, and also the covert program. We think that – we don’t think – the science tells us that we have an ability to know what Iran is doing and to be able to shut off those pathways to a bomb. That makes the world safer.

QUESTION: And there are plenty of people that say if your – what you say the agreement is is the agreement, there are plenty of people, even some Republicans, who say it’s a good agreement. However, the leader of Iran, the ayatollah – and everybody knows this is the guy that calls the shots – he tweets this out in English: “I trust our negotiators but I’m really worried as the other side is into lying and breaching promises. An example was the White House fact sheet.”

And when you look at the differences, whether it’s President Rouhani and what he has said or what the ayatollah has said: The United States has said there’s going to be a gradual relief of sanctions based on progress, the Iranians say there’s immediate sanction relief; the U.S. says there’s limits on uranium enrichment, the Iranians say there’s no mention of enrichment limits; the U.S. says there’s restrictions on Iranian research, the Iranians say there is no restrictions on research and development.

Why are they publicly lying, if that’s what they’re doing?

SECRETARY KERRY: Well, I’m not going to get into accusations back and forth. That doesn’t help our process. It’s not going to solve any problems --

QUESTION: Are they being truthful? Are the Iranians truthful here?

SECRETARY KERRY: Let me just say this to you, Chuck. They’re going to say the things that they feel they need to say with respect to their deal at home. And all I can tell you is this: When we did the interim agreement, there were these same kinds of discrepancies, or spin if you want to call it that, with respect to what the deal was or wasn’t. But in the end, the deal was signed and the deal has been agreed to and lived up to. No one contests that Iran has lived up to every component of that agreement, and the deal is what we said it was.

Now, with respect to the fact sheet that we put out, just yesterday the Russians released a statement saying that the statement released by the United States is both reliable and factual. So I will stand by every word that I have uttered publicly, and I will be briefing the United States Congress in full – the House tomorrow, the Senate the next day – and we will lay out all of the details to them, some of which are obviously classified, but we will have a long discussion about what the facts are.

QUESTION: All right. But if the Iranians insist that immediate sanction relief has to take place, immediate, that all sanctions have to be gone, will you walk away from that deal?

SECRETARY KERRY: Again, I’m not going to get into one side’s or another side’s characterization of what the deal is or isn’t. We’ve made clear what our needs are, what our expectations are. We’ve made it very clear that if we can’t achieve our goals we will not sign a deal, and we’ve said that again and again to Congress, to the world. We want a good deal. We believe that the outlines, the parameters that we have laid out thus far, are the outlines of that good deal. Now, is it perfect yet? No. Are there things that need to be done? Yes. That’s why we have another two and a half months of negotiation.

And what we’re looking for --


SECRETARY KERRY: -- is not to have Congress interfere with our ability inappropriately by stepping on the prerogatives of the executive department of the president and putting in place conditions and terms that are going to get in the way of the implementation of a plan.

QUESTION: I understand.

There are two quotes in this interview that bother me. The first is Kerry's public declaration that "[t]here is no element of trust in what we’re doing." I find that odd for the Secretary to pronounce that he has no trust of the people with whom he is negotiating. Not odd that he does not trust them, but odd that he would make such a public declaration. I cannot put my finger on why I think this is odd, but just that it is odd.

The other statement that bothered me is that he is looking for Congress not to "interfere...by stepping on the prerogatives of the executive department of the president and putting in place conditions and terms that are going to get in the way of the implementation of a plan." Hummm, isn't that why we have Congress. Isn't it the function of Congress to check and balance the "prerogatives of the executive department"?

Number Two: The second Secretary of State issue is actually of the recent declaration of Hillary Clinton that she is officially running for President (Yay!). You may or may not know that her main office has opened in hip and cool (and very expensive) Brooklyn, New York. Well, at least there are few New Yorkers who are not necessarily pleased that Hillary is running -

Over one hundred posters have been popping up all over NYC since her announcement on Sunday. No one knows who is putting them up, but it is clearly a pointed response to Clinton's "Super Volunteers'" warning to the press that there are certain words that they dare not use when describing Candidate Clinton as they would be considered code words for micro-aggressive misogyny. Yeah, that's a thing now and you have been warned...



Kit said...


The more you tell people not to describe Hillary as "calculating," "ambitious," or "polarizing" the more people will associate those words with her.

Also, no politician would ever describe a man as polarizing, like Bush.

Kit said...

Micro-aggressions might be the stupidest concept in history; basically, anything you say or do, including the most subtle body language, can be a way of strutting your "privilege" and thus causing deep offense to people who are not so "privileged," so you should be very careful.

It is, again, mind-numbingly stupid and mocked, but progressives push the concept like it is as true and verifiable as the Law of Gravity.

BevfromNYC said...

Kit - Just the fact that you deem it to be "the stupidest concept in history" just proves exactly how micronically aggressive you are. And so young too...pity. ;-P

Actually, this just prove the dramatic rise in the actual Orwellian "thought police". It's really chilling that Clinton's cohorts have actually gone so far as to give a list of banned descriptive words. If only Republican women candidates had known they could do that.

Kit said...


This is the list of words, by the way. From what I gather it was done by a group not directly connected to Clinton, who are somewhat unknown. Plausible deniability?

Anyway, this list:
Out of Touch
Over Confident
Represent the Past
Will Do Anything to Win

Kit said...

Hillary Clinton is a deeply polarizing figure who, to many Americans, is seen as an ambitious and calculating woman who will do anything to win because she feels she is entitled to the White House. She is also seen as over-confident in her abilities and out of touch with most Americans, and comes across as disingenuous and insincere in her attempts to win of there public. To many other Americans, she represents the past.

BevfromNYC said...

Kit - Of course! Everything the Clintons do comes with "plausible deniability". Funny thing is that I haven't heard anyone directly connected with the Clintons who actually denounce that list of words either...

BevfromNYC said...

BRAVO!!!! I knew someone could do it!

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, Kerry's statement wouldn't bother me if it wasn't total horseship. It's inartful, that's for sure, but he could just as easily have said, "this agreement doesn't rely on blind faith or trust, every provision is subject to verification so we can ensure there will be no cheating... because Iranians, like Klingons, can't be trusted."

The problem is that every key detail relies on trust. Essentially, Kerry is lying to us. And when he says: "They’re going to say the things that they feel they need to say with respect to their deal at home." he's really talking about himself and Obama.

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, A "code words for micro-agressive misogyny"? Is this about hating little women? Or is this about hating women who are only nasty in short bursts?

BevfromNYC said...

Andrew - That is the exact word I was going to use - "inartful". These words are certainly not in the diplomatic handbook under "proper public phrases to when negotiating non- nuclear proliferation pacts and other deals". But I also question who he was referring to...I personally think he was referring to Congress than to Iranian clerics, but that's just me.

BevfromNYC said...

Andrew - My definition of "micro-aggressive misogyny" is any phrase spoken or written with the word "woman" or "lady" that does not include "thin", "skinny", or "Your Royal Highness".

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, I still think it's about hating short women! ;-)

I agree about Kerry. When you are a diplomat, you should not be spewing "inartful" comments like thi.

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