Monday, September 17, 2018


Defiance and dirty dealing from an enemy is expected, collusion with an enemy to reinforce its effrontery is not. Thanks to John Kerry, President Trump will face an extra formidable Iran when patience meets effrontery next week at the United Nations. The former U.S. secretary of State is conducting shadow diplomacy designed to foil the president’s aims in dialing back Iran’s nuclear ambitions. Mr. Kerry had his chance to quell the Islamic republic’s threats, and blew it. He only delayed dealing effectively with them. His continued attempts in overtime only weaken America.

There’s nothing like a struggle to sell a political-insider book in a supersaturated tell-all market. The blabbermouth has to go into overdrive. Promoting his book, “Every Day is Extra,” Mr. Kerry tells TV and radio interviewers that he has met with Javad Zarif, the Iranian foreign minister, in Europe and elsewhere to offer advice on how to combat the Trump administration’s new, hard-line Iran policy.

Barack Obama’s top diplomat claims to have urged Tehran to temper its terror interventions in Iraq, Syria and Yemen so as to dampen international support for the sanctions biting into the Iranian economy. He further boasts of trashing Mr. Trump overseas for his pulling the United States out of the 2015 nuclear deal, a diplomatic abortion visible to all.

It’s not hard to imagine Mr. Kerry’s disappointment in seeing his crowning achievement undone, but in high-stakes diplomacy there are no participation trophies for second place. The inescapable fact is that the deal he crafted enriched the mullahs with hundreds of billions of dollars and would have granted them the opportunity to threaten the world with nuclear weapons within a decade. It was a deadly deal now killed graveyard dead.

Furthermore, Mr. Kerry’s scheming to help Iran defeat renewed sanctions smells of the Logan Act prohibition against unauthorized persons negotiating with foreign governments. That would be suspicion of the very same kind of collusion allegation that brought the full weight of the Obama Justice Department down on Trump associate Michael Flynn.

When representatives of nearly 200 nations arrive in New York this week for the annual opening of the U.N. General Assembly, the marquee issue is likely to be the customary face-off between the United States and Iran. Mr. Trump is slated to serve as chairman of a Sept. 26 meeting of the U.N. Security Council, where he wants to rally international support for the American withdrawal in May from the Iran nuclear deal, and the subsequent campaign to persuade the Islamic regime to forswear its nuclear and ballistic missile programs.

He has made an offer to trade partners hard to refuse. They can do business with Iran, or do business with the United States. Mr. Trump has reimposed some of the economic sanctions on Iran that President Obama removed. Germany, France, Britain and the European Union have vowed to stay the course with their business investments in Iran, but some companies, such as Germany’s Daimler automobile manufacturer, have signaled their choice to stand with the United States. Sanctions on the purchase of Iranian oil are scheduled to begin Nov. 5 which, if obeyed, would tank the regime’s economy.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani is expected to appear in New York for the annual U.N. fall session. Mr. Trump has expressed a willingness to meet him to attempt to settle their differences. Tehran has declined, which is not surprising in light of the Kerry campaign against the United States. “The United States historically has not had a great record in regime change strategies,” he told radio interviewer Hugh Hewitt. “Number one, and number two, that makes it very difficult, if not impossible, for any Iranian leader to sit down and negotiate anything because they’re not going to do it in a capitulatory situation.”

Those words could have come from the mouth of an Iranian diplomat. So could these, spoken by Mr. Kerry in an interview with Fox News: “I think everybody in the world is sitting around talking about waiting out President Trump.”

It’s not clear which nation’s interests Mr. Kerry is serving — America’s or Iran’s. He should retire to his bicycle and try not to crash again. The former secretary of State had his moment in the limelight, with results similar to those when he ran, with great lack of success, for president. He should remember Abraham Lincoln’s observation: “A nation divided against itself cannot stand.”

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