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Friday, February 5, 2021

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

John Kerry has finally become the czar of his dreams. Mr. Kerry is the man who signed the Paris climate agreement and was selected last year by Joe Biden to serve as the first special presidential envoy for climate. 

This was no ordinary appointment, however, but a Cabinet-level post. Presidential envoys carry enormous authority to negotiate and articulate the policy of the United States. Mr. Kerry’s unique position allows him to do it on a global scale, impacting both economic policy and national security. It’s a disaster in the making for President Biden and U.S. policy.  


John Kerry is a limousine liberal par excellence, a globalist who takes the same prom-king approach to diplomacy as Barack Obama, and a champion of policies that would see high-regulation, heavy-taxation Eurosclerosis befall America. He’s willing to trade American jobs and energy independence for gushing headlines in the mainstream media. 

Mr. Kerry’s position means he reports directly to the president, a man he has known for decades. His remit gives him unprecedented influence over the economy and our national sovereignty. As a man firmly on the far left of the climate issue, he has the potential to cause deep and lasting problems for his president and his country. 

President Biden clearly undercut his own Secretary of State Anthony Blinken by elevating a former secretary of State to climate envoy. As the nation’s top diplomat, Mr. Blinken now has to look over his shoulder, worried that his work holding China accountable for the genocide of its Uighur minority, for instance, could be sidetracked by Mr. Kerry in exchange for fewer smokestacks or coal-fired factories in Xinjiang.  

Storm clouds are already brewing over the tenuous power-sharing arrangement between the new envoy and the rest of the national-security team. Before he made news recently advising oil and gas drillers to build solar panels and windmills, as well as lying about what those green jobs pay, Mr. Kerry was asked about his role in the new administration’s China policy. 

In particular, he was forced to address a point that Thomas Wright had raised in a provocative essay for the Atlantic back in December: that a freelancing Mr. Kerry could seek an alliance with Beijing on climate in exchange for key concessions on everything ranging from human rights in Hong Kong to U.S. defense of Taiwan. “Those issues will never be traded for anything that has to do with climate,” Mr. Kerry said, hoping to allay concerns. Americans should be skeptical.

Similar trouble could surface between Mr. Kerry and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin. China’s aggressive expansionism in the Indo-Pacific region is less likely to be checked with Mr. Kerry sitting at the climate negotiating table. 

The U.S. Trade representative, Commerce secretary, and Domestic Policy Council all are likely to have run-ins with the nation’s windsurfing, jet-setting climate czar.

Mr. Biden’s appointment of Mr. Kerry is similar to the mistake Dwight Eisenhower made in 1955 when he appointed Harold Stassen to a Cabinet position overseeing disarmament talks with the Soviets, angering Secretary of State John Foster Dulles who believed (rightly) that disarmament fell under his authority. A grand bargain with the Soviets never materialized and Stassen was forced to resign three years later. 

It’s too early to say whether Mr. Kerry’s clashes with the national security and economic teams will be as damaging as those between Dulles and Stassen, but they are an inevitability given the personalities involved. 

When you believe as Mr. Biden and the left do, that climate change is the greatest threat to America, not the troika of Communist China, a resurgent Russia and the terrorists in Iran, you are willing to sacrifice jobs, security and America’s standing in the world. John Kerry is the perfect man for the job. A one-man wrecking ball. 

• Tom Basile, host of Newsmax Television’s “America Right Now,” is an author and adjunct professor at Fordham University’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences where he teaches earned media strategy.


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