Shadow Government

A front-row seat to the Republicans' debate over foreign policy, including their critique of the Biden administration.

Kerry’s Travels Might Pay Off After All

Credit has to be given where credit is due, especially when coming from the loyal opposition. My dismissal of Secretary of State John Kerry’s efforts in Kabul over the weekend was clearly premature. Weighing in with both of Afghanistan’s presidential contenders produced a positive result; a full audit of the votes will provide the legitimacy ...

JIM BOURG/AFP/Getty Images
JIM BOURG/AFP/Getty Images
JIM BOURG/AFP/Getty Images

Credit has to be given where credit is due, especially when coming from the loyal opposition. My dismissal of Secretary of State John Kerry's efforts in Kabul over the weekend was clearly premature. Weighing in with both of Afghanistan's presidential contenders produced a positive result; a full audit of the votes will provide the legitimacy that Afghans and the next president seek.

Of course, it is way too soon to declare mission accomplished, but it is not too soon for me to admit that I was too pessimistic about what Kerry could accomplish in Kabul.

So far, it looks like my pessimism may be warranted regarding his subsequent trip to Vienna. On the other hand, if reports of an extension in the talks prove true, then there will be plenty more time for plenty more Kerry drop-ins.

Credit has to be given where credit is due, especially when coming from the loyal opposition. My dismissal of Secretary of State John Kerry’s efforts in Kabul over the weekend was clearly premature. Weighing in with both of Afghanistan’s presidential contenders produced a positive result; a full audit of the votes will provide the legitimacy that Afghans and the next president seek.

Of course, it is way too soon to declare mission accomplished, but it is not too soon for me to admit that I was too pessimistic about what Kerry could accomplish in Kabul.

So far, it looks like my pessimism may be warranted regarding his subsequent trip to Vienna. On the other hand, if reports of an extension in the talks prove true, then there will be plenty more time for plenty more Kerry drop-ins.

So I stand by the larger worries I expressed, including my concerns about the depreciation of American prestige and a growing sense that President Obama is disengaging from the messy business of foreign policy.

But things look better for Kerry than they did when I wrote my original post and so I am happy to engage in a bit of self-criticism.

Neil Joeck is a Visiting Scholar at the Institute for International Studies at the University of California, Berkeley.

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