January 1, 2016

"'I absolutely love this job,' [John Kerry] told me more than once. “It is so much fun.”

Me = David Remnick, in The New Yorker, who drops that quote right after this description of a few weeks in the life of John Kerry:
One day, his plane settled in Samarkand, where he patiently endured a forty-five-minute lecture from the dictator of Uzbekistan. The next day, he was in Ashgabat, the surreal, peopleless capital of Turkmenistan, a hermetic state where the post-Soviet dictator renamed the days of the week and devoted a national day to the muskmelon. Kerry had flown to Santiago to take part in a conference to save the world’s oceans. Then he was in Paris, in the wake of the terrorist attack at the Bataclan concert hall, to join talks designed to rescue the earth from overheating to the point of global catastrophe.
Can you detect Remnick's opinion of Kerry in those 4 sentences? I think he doesn't want to speak ill of him — not outright — but he sees him as a sad failure. Here's one more paragraph from the article. Test my theory:
But while Kerry made his name in a radical voice, he was always a man of the establishment. More than any diplomat or politician this side of Bill Clinton, he has an abiding faith in the value of personal relationships and of his capacity to persuade. All he has to do is get the parties in a room and he can’t lose. Obama, by contrast, has no more cultivated relationships with foreign leaders than he has with Republican leaders. Where Obama is skeptical, Kerry is almost sentimental in his optimism. He has even made his peace with Henry Kissinger: “I seek his advice—he’s a brilliant guy.” He recounted a lunch that they had recently, at which Kissinger told him, “The difference between you and me is that I think that personal relations don’t matter much. I think interests matter.” Kerry replied, “I think interests matter, of course, but I think personal relations can help matters—they can be influential.”
And, a bit later:
There is no concealing his eagerness to make a deal; to a critic, his style is reminiscent of the customer who sternly tells the salesman, “I’m not leaving here until you sell me a car.” No one seems to inspire Kerry’s outrage, including the worst of his negotiating partners. “I think they want to be valued for who they are and understood for where they come from and what their life is about,” he told me. “I think if people have a sense that you know what they’re about, they can build some trust with you....”
But don't you have a sense that they know what you're about? What if they see you as an over-optimistic sentimentalist who really wants to make a deal and to feel that he has a relationship with you?

59 comments:

Moneyrunner said...

A least Hillary was a crook, a liar wrong about everyting and a conniving bitch, but she was not hopelessly naive.

traditionalguy said...

A Baby Boomer Romance with its marxist self means never having to say you're sorry.

Rob said...

Apart from his impressive skill at finding rich women to marry, John Kerry is a dope, a patsy. You'd think a man with that much botox would be a better poker player and negotiator.

Bay Area Guy said...

Remnick and Kerry - two peas in a pod. In theory, since they both are from the same liberal stock, serve the same liberal, east coast constituency, and agree 100% on the same liberal issues, you would think there'd be a little more simpatico between them.

And, yet, when they talk to each other, there's no there there.

Why is that?

madAsHell said...

The sailors under his command in Vietnam made sure he wasn't elected President. That speaks volumes.

Charlie said...

Let's all just be thankful he was never President.

Hammond X. Gritzkofe said...

I absolutely love this job,' [John Kerry] told me more than once. “It is so much fun.

What a jerk!

Danno said...

So there is someone other than James Taranto that isn't fond of John Kerry.

Bruce Hayden said...

Always interesting comparing Kerry with his predecessor, Hillary. Someone above suggested that she might have been better because she wasn't hopelessly naïve. But, I think just the reverse, that corruption will trump naivety most days. She was selling American foreign policy for cash for her family and their foundation. And, it still seems a bit odd that her closest adviser's parents were leaders in the Muslim Brotherhood, to whom Hillary threw control of Egypt, and maybe Libya. Was it merely because Huma was so close to her, or was there something more going on between the two. We do know that Hillary allowed Huma to double dip, getting a full govt salary at the same time that she was collecting a salary from a firm with numerous dealings with the State Department. (And, we should feel a bit sorry for Huma, given that her husband was unemployed at the time - having lost his job after exposing himself on social media). A conflict of interest for anyone but Hillary, but for her, essentially just how business is done there.

Think of how calm the State Department has been since Kerry replaced Hillary there. And, he may, maybe inadvertently, be cleaning it up.

Bruce Hayden said...

The sailors under his command in Vietnam made sure he wasn't elected President. That speaks volumes

True - but then getting kicked off the Watergate investigation for ethical violations also speaks volumes. Esp. since she is probably more corrupt now, if that is possible.

Hagar said...

madAsHell,
"The sailors under his command" accepted his invitation to come to D.C. and participate in campaign photo ops.
It was his fellow Swift boat skippers who raised the alarm about his character and mental faculties.

Sebastian said...

"All he has to do is get the parties in a room and he can’t lose." True. If you're ready to sell out, you can't lose.

"But don't you have a sense that they know what you're about? What if they see you as an over-optimistic sentimentalist who really wants to make a deal and to feel that he has a relationship with you?" Faux queries, right? I mean, after all these years, you didn't expect anything else from this character, right?

By the way, if AGW is such a big deal, why is it kosher for JFK to emit so much CO2 on his pointless travels?

Hagar said...

And for AA's question; Remnick plainly says he considers Kerry to be a fool.

Another observation in the article reminds me about something I have meant to comment on: Have you noticed that Obama seems to have no friends he can talk to other than, perhaps, Valerie Jarrett?
Even to play golf, he has to have staff call around to see of they can find some pro athletes who are available and do not mind being seen and photographed with him. But they are strangers, not friends.

EDH said...

James Taranto wrote a WSJ article about the Redneck piece:

Kerry Agonistes

The Remnick profile has some other interesting details, which reinforce our sense that Kerry is one of the strangest figures in contemporary American politics.

Michael K said...

Kerry is the optimist you'd expect after being kept by rich wives most of his life.

John P Marquand described this sort of man in his novels.

Michael K said...

""The sailors under his command" accepted his invitation to come to D.C. and participate in campaign photo ops."

The one sailor you describe was not in the unit when Kerry was there, He was off in a hospital, as I recall, and was exposed as a faker later.

Of course, the Kerry campaign rounded up plenty of former sailors who, for reasons of their own, defended Kerry

Hagar said...

That is John Forbes Kerry, and yes, it is that Forbes family.
His wives may be richer than him, but that is money marrying money; not that he was lacking an inherited fortune of his own.

coupe said...

Anytime you can get the government to give you a 6-figure income, plane travel, and vacations around the world, it's going to be fun.

Obviously he will never accomplish anything. No Secretary of State has.

sydney said...

He doesn’t sleep much, but sometimes he brings along a nylon-string guitar and relaxes by playing Beatles songs, Spanish laments, and show tunes. (Argentina will be delighted to hear that “Evita” is a favorite.)

He's everything you thought he was!

Greg Hlatky said...

Kerry, like Hillary!, falls under the Hammerstein-Equord class "stupid and industrious."

sydney said...

Interesting thing highlighted in that Kerry Agonistes piece by Taranto that EDH linked to- he and his wife think Ohio cheated him out of the Presidency. I was not aware there was a conspiracy theory that held the Republicans rigged the voting machines in Ohio that year. I can assure you, the Republicans in Ohio are not smart enough to pull something like that off.

Curious George said...

John Kerry would do the civilized world the most good by leaving it.

Ann Althouse said...

I checked out the Taranto piece. I see he quoted something I found very funny: "The Secretary of State looked up from his halibut. An ill wind of panic swept the oblong plain of his face. From the thick thatch of gray hair to the improbably long and thrusting chin, Kerry’s visage is immense and, in its implacable resting expression, resembles one of the monolithic heads that rise from the loam of Easter Island."

"An ill wind of panic swept the oblong plain of his face" — that's when you know the author wants to be thought of as writing literature. I mean, how do you decide not to just write: "He panicked." I wouldn't write that, because you can only truthfully say what you know, so I'd probably say: "He looked panicked." But maybe you want more action verbiage, so you make "panic" the actor and the face the object of the action. Panic did what to his face? It swept it? I think you'd have to write: Panic swept over his face. But then something makes you need to jack it up, and you don't like panic as the subject of the sentence. Maybe it's too abstract, and maybe we need something that reminds us of the expansiveness of Kerry's face (even before the next sentence where we're going to tell you that his face — nay, visage! — is immense). So the panic becomes wind that sweeps the plain of his face....

OOOOk-lahoma, where the wind comes sweepin' down the plain...

Sorry, my mind wandered.

JOOOOhn F. Kerry, where the wind comes sweepin' down the plain/Of your face, it's immense, with expression intense/ When the wind comes right behind the pain/JOOOOhn F. Kerry, Ev'ry night my ketchup lamb and I/ Sit alone and moan and watch a drone makin' lazy circles in the sky....

Sorry, I just lost my mind. Where was I... The panic becomes wind that sweeps the plain of his face... It's a real weather condition now. But that's not good enough. Because as long as we've got wind, let's shoehorn in an allusion to the old saying "It's an ill wind that blows no good." Gotta make the wind an ill wind. And if we're doing adjectives we need one for the face, I mean the plain. "Long" is too obvious. "Why the long face?" People always use that joke about Kerry. So, if long is obvious... take the "ob" off of "obvious" and smack it on "long" and you've got "oblong" and that sounds fancy.

Jeez, I'm having flashbacks to the old Gatsby project. I wonder if Remick is an admirer of F. Scott Fitzgerald.

Man, you should see the emotion sweeping the plain of my face right now.

Sebastian said...

"An ill wind of panic swept the oblong plain of his face. From the thick thatch of gray hair to the improbably long and thrusting chin, Kerry’s visage is immense and, in its implacable resting expression, resembles one of the monolithic heads that rise from the loam of Easter Island." Appreciate you going all lit-crit on us, and we're only one day into the new year, but I think these sentences work well together. The plain in the first sentence prepares us for the immensity in the second. In combination, they subtly convey contempt, as much as one Prog can allow himself in writing about another Prog for a Prog audience, using slightly overheated "literary" verbiage to provide plausible deniability.

David Begley said...

Other than the Clintons, is there any person in public life more dispicable and pathetic than John Kerry? At least Kerrey isn't corrupt.

Vain (he's had facial plastic surgery), rich, arrogant, entitled and not smart at all.

And that speaking voice!

He will go down in history as the guy who did the Iran deal. I only hope he lives long enough to see what a disaster he created.

I know that if I was playing poker or negotiating any kind of deal I'd want JFK on the other side of the table. The exact wrong person to have at State.

Mike Sylwester said...

Bruce Hayden:
getting kicked off the Watergate investigation for ethical violations also speaks volumes

Hillary Clinton was not kicked off the Watergate investigation. Furthermore, she was not accused of any ethical violations -- except by Jerry Zeifman in the year 1995.

I carefully read Zeifman's book, Without Honor: Crimes of Camelot and the Impeachment of Richard Nixon, intending to write an article criticizing Hillary Clinton.

Reading the book, I learned that Zeifman is a far-left, hysterical crank who was upset that Bill Clinton, a relatively moderate Democrat, had been elected President. Zeifman is a character assassin who decided to defame the Clintons with false accusations because he despised their moderate politics.

During the Watergate investigation, Zeifman had absolutely no supervisory authority over Hillary Clinton in the Watergate investigation. She worked in a different group and was perhaps the very most junior staff member, having just graduated from law school.

If you ever come across Zeifman's book, I encourage you to read it, to see for yourself that he is a far-left, hysterical crank with no credibility.

If you don't want to waste the time to read the book, then at least read the Snopes article about this issue. The Snopes article includes this pithy statement about Zeifman's unreliability:

John Labovitz, another member of the Democratic staff, no fan of Jerry Zeifman said: "If it's according to Zeifman, it's inaccurate from my perspective."

http://www.snopes.com/politics/clintons/zeifman.asp

robother said...

Kerry is very much a man of his era, an Ivy Leaguer who came of age in the New Frontier. Their naivety is peculiar to that "tweener" generation. Neither the Kennedy generation nor the Boomers have their faith in abstract principles or in the goodwill of the other side.

While they never were trusted with the Presidency, much of the ruination of the last 50 years was a product of their
State and local misrule (e.g., Brown and Lindsay) and federal judicial insanity (e.g., court-ordered busing and affirmative action).
Like Kerry, they are utterly oblivious to the real world failure of their actions.

mccullough said...

Thick thatch is alliterative, childishly so, but redundant. I thought he was mocking Kerry too hard here with the faux exalted prose matching the exalted opinion Kerry has of himself.

Paco Wové said...

"Obama, by contrast, has no more cultivated relationships with foreign leaders than he has with Republican leaders."

That bit seemed worthy of highlighting also. What a strange, isolated man.

JAORE said...

"More than any diplomat or politician this side of Bill Clinton, he has an abiding faith in the value of personal relationships and of his capacity to persuade. All he has to do is get the parties in a room and he can’t lose. Obama, by contrast, has no more cultivated relationships with foreign leaders than he has with Republican leaders."

Because Obama seems to believe his words alone have a magical power to change the minds of all he addresses. Perhaps he thinks he's a Jedi.....

AllenS said...

How about climate change sweeping across John Kerry's face.

Michael K said...

"An ill wind of panic swept the oblong plain of his face"

They call that ironic humor in some places.

The "oblong plain of his face" is why so many of us call him "Lurch."

Jim said...

This man represents the United States of America.Think about that. The Senate did and said it is just fine. Is he a step up or a step down after Hillary? Is it possible to appoint anyone less competent?
The gene pool seems very shallow here. For both democrats and republicans.

walter said...

You just call out my name
And you know wherever I am
I'll come running, oh yeah baby
To see you again
Winter, spring, summer, or fall
All you have to do is call
And I'll be there, yeah, yeah, yeah
You've got a friend
--
Did he have James Taylor with him in Iran?

Quaestor said...

A voyage into John Kerry's brain would be like excavating Al Capone's secret vaults.

buster said...

Take a bow, Althouse. That was impressive.

bgates said...

I absolutely love this job,' [John Kerry] told me more than once. “It is so much fun.

What's not to like? "Negotiating" with this sap seems to amount to accepting the gifts and prizes he's eager to give away. Naturally the recipients act delighted with him.

In a better world, John Kerry would get the same joy by working on The Price is Right, and Drew Cary would be Secretary of State.

Skeptical Voter said...

Well as long as we are talking about Oklahoma and the wind sweeping down wherever--the wind surely passes between Jean The Gigolo's ears. He's dumb enough that he really thought Teresa Heinz Kerry was an African American woman. Hey John--look at Michelle--now there's an African American woman--then look at Teresa. Can you spot the difference? I dunno.

Chuck said...

Althouse, I'm a bit surprised that as a long time reader of the New Yorker (as I am), you don't automatically read it through a filter of hyper partisan Democrat politics. The New Yorker in the age of Remnick isn't so much "liberal" as with so much of the media as it is actively working the levers of partisan activism. If David Remnick is wistful/disappointed/angry that Kerry wasn't our president, he could just as well be positioning Kerry's predecessor at Foggy Bottom.

LYNNDH said...

What an Absolute Failure!!! He has No idea about how the world of politics operates. He would be much more of a disaster than what we now have. I just shake my head at his empty headiness.

Gahrie said...

@Mike Sylwester:

Great job!

Now explain the Rose Law Firm records, the cattle futures, the travel office firings, the private e-mail server and lying to the families of the fallen from Benghazi as she literally stood over their bodies.

Then we can move onto her attack on the "bimbos" that her husband assaulted...

jacksonjay said...

Mr. Remnick left the punch line out of the car salesman analogy. “I’m not leaving here until you sell me a car. I insist on paying sticker price, plus a premium." Now that describes John Forbes Kerry. It is only a good dealer if we get screwed!

rehajm said...

Having been in the room with John Kerry a couple or three times I've concluded Kerry's 'abiding faith in the value of personal relationships' is equivalent to a Golden Retriever's 'abiding faith in the value of personal relationships'.

Birches said...

Did he have James Taylor with him in Iran?

That's exactly what I was thinking when I was reading that bit about the importance of personal relationships. It explains the James Taylor fiasco so perfectly. And, I'll add, that I am still angry about that whole thing. Now every time I hear a James Taylor song, I can't enjoy it; I just see John Kerry awkwardly holding a microphone.

@ Gahrie

I don't think Sylwester was defending Hillary! as much as setting the record straight for accuracy. There's too much real HIllary! corruption to publicize; there's no need to bring up the inaccurate stuff.

Quaestor said...

JOOOOhn F. Kerry, where the wind comes sweepin' down the plain/Of your face, it's immense, with expression intense/ When the wind comes right behind the pain/JOOOOhn F. Kerry, Ev'ry night my ketchup lamb and I/ Sit alone and moan and watch a drone makin' lazy circles in the sky...

Brilliant! Laughed my ass off! Where the hell is it? Oh, there it is on the floor...

Now we know you're not just a girl who can't say no...

Bruce Hayden said...

@Mike Sylwester: Not quite the rumor that I had repeatedly heard, which was that she was not offered a further job with the Judiciary committee after Watergate because of the memo claiming that the President shouldn't be allowed an attorney. But, that is interesting, that it came from Chairman Rodino, which suggests that Watergate was never about ethics and doing the right thing, but rather, always about partisan advantage. Of course, we always knew that, and esp. about Hillary, who could write such a memo, but then defend her husband from impeachment for worse (he got impeached for lying under oath).

Essentially, the assertion was that Hillary was not offered another job by the (Dem)majority in the Judiciary Committee. The Snopes article doesn't address that, and almost confirms it, with her not being the only one in this situation, and then immediately moving to Arkansas to shack up with Bill Clinton. Kinda like all of the rest of their scandals - she apparently wasn't exactly "fired", which should make her defenders happy. But, then until recently, she probably could say with a straight face that she had never received anything marked "classified" on her home email network (because "classified" is apparently not an official designation - rather, she did receive information that had previously been (or was shortly thereafter) classified as "Secret", "Top Secret", etc.) And, her husband could claim that he had never had sex with that woman (Monica Lewinsky) because he had just received blow jobs from her.

Quaestor said...

Michael K. wrote: The "oblong plain of his face" is why so many of us call him "Lurch."

Please don't. It's an insult to the memory of a fine fellow and skilled character actor called Theodore Crawford "Ted" Cassidy.

I was perusing a vintage TV trivia site when I learned that Cassidy largely invented the menacing but lovable Lurch. Charles Addams never named his cartoon butler, but when the producers of the Addams Family series were mapping out the format they envisioned "Lurch" as a mute automaton. However, when Cassidy tested for the part he decided to inject the hulking cypher with a hefty dose of character. Thus when script consultant standing in for Gomez pulled the hangman's noose bell cord Cassidy stepped up to his mark and ad libbed "You rang?" in his rumbling basso vibrato. The producers were floored with laughter and gave Cassidy the role on the spot. They also gave him license to develop the Lurch character into a family member rather than just a servant, thus we have Lurch the harpsichord virtuoso (Cassidy played quite well) and Lurch the bashful wallflower.

If John Kerry had a tenth of the personality of Lurch he would have a hundred times more character than he has.

Mike Sylwester said...

Bruce Hayden
the rumor that I had repeatedly heard, which was that she was not offered a further job with the Judiciary committee after Watergate

Hillary Clinton did not get into any trouble during her Watergate job. The basis for any of this accusation against Hillary Clinton is ZERO.

This is all about Zeifman being a left-wing, trouble-making zealot who was angry that moderate-Democrat Bill Clinton became President in 1993. Zeifman probably began writing his book in about 1993, because it was published in 1995. The book is as much an attack on the brand-new Clinton Administration as it is a memoir about his own Watergate experiences.

Some of the book is about the Watergate investigation being a cover-up of the JFK assassination. Zeifman is a crackpot.

I read Zeifman's book carefully. I always have voted Republican, and I intended to write something critical of Hillary Clinton. Zeifman's insinuations against her collapse because of what Zeifman himself writes in his own book. Hillary Clinton had just graduated from law school, and she did only what she was told by her superiors in her own investigatory group -- which was a different group from Zeifman's.

The Snopes article describes the issue quite well.

http://www.snopes.com/politics/clintons/zeifman.asp

cubanbob said...

Moneyrunner said...
A least Hillary was a crook, a liar wrong about everyting and a conniving bitch, but she was not hopelessly naive.

1/1/16, 9:27 AM"

Best summation. Between a fool and a crook at least the crook can be bought to do the right thing.

The Godfather said...

There have been times when secretaries of state have been important. Between the end of WW II amd the end of the Cold War we've had giants like Marshall, Acheson, Dulles, Kissinger, and Schultz in that position. Like them or hate them, they were important. But a secretary of state in the Obama administration? What could he or she do? Sure, Hillary! played a major role in turning over Libya to the Islamist radicals, and in trying unsuccessfully to turn Egypt over to the Muslim Brotherhood, and foregoing the opportunity to turn Syria in a new direction. Sure, Kerry played his role in negotiating the non-agreement that legitimizes Iran's development of nuclear weapons. But weren't they both just following the policies dictated by the President?

Michael K said...

"It's an insult to the memory of a fine fellow and skilled character actor called Theodore Crawford "Ted" Cassidy."

I agree. I enjoyed him in "Car 54 where are you ?"

Kerry is an insult to almost everyone. My daughter-in-law was visiting a college freind in Boston during the 2004 election. One night when she was there, they heard Kerry's motorcade arrive at his Lewisburg Square mansion. The two girls, both about 30 and cute, ran down the hill in their bathrobes and slippers as it was midnight. They spent a half hour talking to the cops and Secret Service people who were hanging around and were happy to chat up a couple of cute girls. They got an earful about Kerry and Teresa and their alcoholic battles. Apparently the cops were called an average of once a week to referee.

Teresa, I guess, has subsided into an alcoholic daze since then.

JCC said...

Among his fellow senators, John Kerry, the man who brought peace and stability to Syria, was well known as an empty suit. From his early days, Yale and the Navy, he was seen as a grasping social climber whose ambitions far exceeded his abilities, but apparently not his scheming and his willingness to play the system and say or do anything to further his own career. (See also three Purple Heart, etc)

This incapability to be embarrassed thus explains such as one of his significant successes as "bringing peace and security to Syria", which indeed, as one site put it, sounds like a headline from the Onion.

Cue James Taylor...

Seriously, that was genuine? Humiliating...

Quaestor said...

I agree. I enjoyed him in "Car 54 where are you ?"

Confusion.
Fred Gwynne
Fred Gwynn as "Herman Munster"
Fred Gwynn in "On the Waterfront"

Ted Cassidy as "Ruk, the Android" (Star Trek)
Ted Cassidy as "Lurch"
Lurch at his harpsichord
Lurch savoir faire.

William said...

I read the article. You can't exactly call it hagiographic but the author certainly seems respectful and admiring. Despite that you don't leave the article with increased fondness for Kerry and his sagacity. Kerry still admires Wilson but has reservations about his idealism. Kerry has softened his dislike of Kissinger and now considers him brilliant. Kerry is muted and tactful in his disapproval of Assad, but is somewhat harsher in his critique of Netanyahu. We all occasionally need to gas our people but what kind of madman would build settlements in occupied territories.......The Middle East is populated by madmen. I can't imagine anyone making things better. The bet here is that Kerry makes things worse. There are certainly more corpses and refugees nowadays than in the Bush era.

BN said...

Why I love Democrats reason 27: they make a demonstrated traitor a senator, a presidential nominee, and a Secretary of State. What a great country!

BN said...

Traitoring is his best recommendation to them.

Michael K said...

Sorry. I don't watch TV. I didn't even know who that MASH guy was.

I did like Fred Gwynn and I guess I don;t know who the other guy was.

ironrailsironweights said...

The late dictator of Turkmenistan, who always went by the moniker Turkmenbashi, had become concerned that the government was spending too much money on health care. So he shut down all of the country's hospitals except for a couple in the capital.
Turkmenbashi went to his reward a few years ago. His replacement is a dentist whose name is completely impossible to spell or pronounce. Dunno if any hospitals have reopened.

Peter

Moneyrunner said...

@ Bruce Hayden; I’m not trying to suggest that Hillary was either a better or worse Secretary of State than Kerry. Both are disasters for America. I suspect that these people believe in their innermost hearts that no matter what they do, America will survive.

I think they see the country as invincible, a trait that’s common among the Left. This makes it possible for Hillary to sell out American interests for personal gain. She’s not the first to do so. Over 2000 years ago Quintus Servilius Caepio is believed to have made off with 825,000 pounds of the Gold of Tolosa. The story goes that the treasure was being taken to Rome but Caepio hired bandits to kill the soldiers escorting the gold. The gold of Tolosa itself was never found, and was said to have been passed all the way down to the last heir of the Caepiones, Marcus Junius Brutus.

It’s a fascinating tale and Hillary would make a great modern Caepio, being perfectly willing to see people die for her personal gain. Kerry is an empty suit who’s obviously not playing with a full deck, but he’s perfect for Team Obama. Given that the Secretary of State does the will of the President, it goes a long way toward explaining the wreck they have made of American foreign policy.