Following reports over the weekend that Obama’s Secretary of State, John Kerry and a group of his former State Department officials, had been busy being unofficial diplomats in recent weeks, sneaking around the world trying to salvage the Iran nuclear deal he presided over, ahead of its May 12 renewal deadline, it appears President Trump has a few things to say about these actions.
John Kerry’s bid to save one of his most significant accomplishments as secretary of state took him to New York on a Sunday afternoon two weeks ago, where, more than a year after he left office, he engaged in some unusual shadow diplomacy with a top-ranking Iranian official.
He sat down at the United Nations with Foreign Minister Javad Zarif to discuss ways of preserving the pact limiting Iran’s nuclear weapons program. It was the second time in about two months that the two had met to strategize over salvaging a deal they spent years negotiating during the Obama administration, according to a person briefed on the meetings. –Boston Globe
Kerry has also met with leaders from Europe, including German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, EU official Federica Mogherini and French President Emmanuel Macron in both Paris and New York, where they discussed sanctions and regional nuclear threats in both French and English.
This type of “rogue” diplomacy is very rare for a former Secretary of State.
As The Globe notes, the effort to salvage the Iran deal “highlight the stakes for Kerry personally, as well as for other Obama-era diplomats who are dismayed by what they see as Trump’s disruptive approach to diplomacy, and who view the Iran nuclear deal as a factor for stability in the Middle East and for global nuclear nonproliferation.”
“It is unusual for a former secretary of state to engage in foreign policy like this, as an actual diplomat and quasi-negotiator,” said foreign policy expert Michael O’Hanlon of the Brookings Institution.
“Of course, former secretaries of state often remain quite engaged with foreign leaders, as they should, but it’s rarely so issue-specific, especially when they have just left office.”
Which leads us to President Trump’s twitter exclamation that
“The United States does not need John Kerry’s possibly illegal Shadow Diplomacy on the very badly negotiated Iran Deal.”
And Trump explains why – very simply…
“He was the one that created this MESS in the first place!”
The United States does not need John Kerry’s possibly illegal Shadow Diplomacy on the very badly negotiated Iran Deal. He was the one that created this MESS in the first place!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 7, 2018