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?