Deafening is the word for the silence that has greeted the report that Secretary of State Kerry has sent a message urging the Palestinian Arab leader Mahmoud Abbas to stay strong and resist American policy in the Middle East. This supposedly took place at a meeting between Mr. Kerry and an longtime ally of Mr. Abbas, Hussein Agha, who has long been involved on the Palestinian side of the so-called peace process.
At that meeting, according to reports in the Israeli newspaper Maariv and the Jerusalem Post, Mr. Kerry asked Mr. Agha to encourage Mr. Abbas to “hold on and be strong” in the face of “Trump’s demands.” And to “play for time.” Mr. Kerry sought to reassure his interlocutor with the news that he was considering making another run for the presidency in 2020, the implication being that if so, things would go better for the Palestinian Arabs.
Even in an age as cynical as ours, this is an appalling thing from a former state secretary. “It is hard to imagine anything more contemptible. Or delusional,” writes John Hinderaker of Powerline in one of his understatements. Yet there has been reaction from neither President Obama, who employed Mr. Kerry as state secretary, nor Hillary Clinton, Mr. Kerry’s predecessor at Foggy Bottom and theoretical head of what’s left of his political party.
It may be, of course, that Mr. Kerry is going to turn around and deny the report. Good luck with that. The problem he’s got there is that what he is just reported to have done in respect of the Palestinian Arabs is so similar to what he did in respect of the Vietnamese communists. That was back in 1970, when, just off active duty from the Navy after his brief tour in Vietnam, he went to Paris and met there with representatives of the Viet Cong.
There’s no record — and we are not suggesting — that Mr. Kerry used with the Viet Cong the same words (“be strong” and the like) he reportedly relayed to Mr. Abbas. Then again, he didn’t have to. When Mr. Kerry returned from that long-ago trip to Paris, he started plumping in public for the Viet Cong’s talking points. Then he clambered up Capitol Hill and accused American GIs, still in the field in Vietnam, of acting like Genghis Khan and committing war crimes.
Mr. Kerry eventually tried to parlay his Vietnam war story into his first presidential campaign, and for a while it looked like he might get away with it. Then, in one of the most memorable moments in American political history, his ex-comrades among the veterans of the riverine war in the Mekong Delta organized themselves as the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, and exposed Mr. Kerry’s duplicitous nature. In our opinion, he should have hung up his hat then.
Now it seems he wants to try for the presidency again in 2020. Maybe by then we’ll see what Mr. Kerry has been saying to the Iranian ayatollahs as President Trump seeks to fulfill his electoral mandate to unravel the unratified articles of appeasement that Mr. Kerry inked with Iran. Has Mr. Kerry been quietly urging the Iranians, too, to stay strong against America until the former state secretary can ride to the rescue in the next presidential election?