A remarkable four minutes of video has emerged from Secretary of State Kerry’s testimony before the Senate. It shows the Secretary squirming under the questioning of Senator Cotton on what the agile Arkansan calls the “two secret side deals” between the International Atomic Energy Agency and Iran. They are related to inspections of the Iranian regime. The video shows the two leaders of the American negotiating team — Mr. Kerry and Secretary Moniz of the energy department — stating that they don’t know who, if anyone, has read these two secret agreements.
This is a choice moment for those who remember the first of President Wilson’s “Fourteen Points.” Those were the Fourteen Points for ending World War One. The Fourteenth was the infamous League of Nations, the idea of a world government. But the First Point, the number one point of principle on which all foreign policy in the age of democracy was going to rest, the opening article in the drive that was eventually to spawn the United Nations, this number one article was “open covenants.”
Here is the exact text: “Open covenants of peace, openly arrived at, after which there shall be no private international understandings of any kind but diplomacy shall proceed always frankly and in the public view.” Yet here was Mr. Kerry, the aging leftist anti-war agitator who once threw away the decorations our country had bestowed on him, squirming under the questioning of the tribune of the new generation, Senator Cotton, who asks him about the secret side agreements of the IAEA:
“Why can’t we confirm or deny the content of these agreements in public?” Mr. Cotton inquires. “Why is it classified. It’s not a sensitive U.S. government document. The ayatollahs know what they’ve agreed to.”
“Because,” Mr. Kerry replies, “we respect the process of the IAEA, and we don’t have their authorization to reveal what is a confidential agreement between them and another country.”
Senator Cotton then asks him: “So the ayatollahs will know what they’ve agreed to but not the American people.”
“Well, the, no, not exactly,” Mr. Kerry harrumphs, “because we will share with you in the classified briefing what we understand things to be. But they negotiated the agreement with the IAEA. The IAEA is an independent entity under the united nations, Senator, as I know you know, and I don’t know even at this point what the law says about the United States requiring something that another entity’s laws prohibit.”
This will be remembered as a classic of State Department arrogance in the face of a legislature whose approval the State Secretary and President are seeking for an agreement with a country that refers to us as the Great Satan and swears to wipe Israel off the map. If we were going before the Senate on this head, we’d make a point of knowing what the law says about the United States requiring information that another “entity’s” laws prohibit us from having. We’d make it a point of standing for open covenants. The world knows all about closed ones and how they lead to war.