You’ll have to forgive us for not being big John Kerry fans here at the Mendeleyev Journal. Stupidity usually doesn’t qualify one for public office, even in a dumbed-down America.
We recall the 2004 presidential debate when Kerry claimed that he had been to Moscow’s most famous prison to check KGB files. Really, John? Even if we’d have believed you had a reason to ask the Russians for permission to sift through KGB files, and we don’t, not only in the debate did you mislabel the name of the prison but you got the address wrong too.
For your information, Mr. Secretary of State, your Treblinka was a World War II era Nazi death camp in Poland, not a KGB prison in Moscow. You might also be interested to know that there was a Lubyanka Prison located inside the KGB headquarters at Dzerzhinsky Square in Moscow.
Back then we were a little surprised that the debate moderator, Jim Lehrer being a seasoned journalist and all, didn’t seem to know the difference either. Moderator Lehrer should have caught that and called you on it, but perhaps he isn’t as bright as we’re told either. If you are reading this, Mr. Lehrer, when supporting a candidate you really have no business moderating a debate featuring your own guy and the opposition.
But that was a debate back in 2004, so who’s counting, right? We are, especially now that the new US Secretary of State has apparently invented a new country amongst the former Soviet Republics.
Mr. Secretary, there is no such country as “Kyrzakhstan.” Some in the media have quickly risen to say that it was a slip of the tongue, that you were confused between Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. Yes, we agree. You were confused, undoubtedly remain confused, and will continue to proceed in a state of confusion, not just on countries that don’t exist but on a whole range of important issues. So you’ll have no mercy from this corner, no free pass just because some seem to think that you can manage cool and stupid at the same time as long as you are aligned with the correct political party.
By the way, when we speak of you being in a “state of confusion” yes, it is where you are at any moment, but not really a place on the map. Oh goodness, so many new concepts–ask someone on your staff to explain as we just don’t have the time.
We do have an interest in the region however so since we’ll have to put up with you for a while, perhaps we can offer some assistance to aid your understanding of this part of the world, as limited as that may be. So, let’s get started:
– There is a county named Kazakhstan and another one named Kyrgyzstan. The Republic of Kazakhstan is the ninth largest country in the world, located in Central Asia, and borders Russia. It is a an important member of the CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States) and a member of the “Customs Union” with Russia and Belarus. Kazakhstan’s military, as part of that union, is coordinated in some degree by Russia.
We’d suggest you learn a little about Kazakhstan as earlier today (Tuesday) in the historic city of Almaty, the so-called “P5+1” countries consisting of the United States, Russia, China, Britain, and France plus Germany met with Iranian leaders to demand that Iran stop their programme of uranium enrichment.
– In spite of your gushing over supporting “democratic institutions” neither country is democratic. Kazakhstan continues to be ruled by the same man who controlled the country during the Soviet years, Supreme Chancellor Nursultan Nazarbayev, who holds various titles such as president for life, chancellor, etc. He maintains strict control over the country and while declaring himself as president-for-life allows elections to “reaffirm” his title but with his party (there is only one party) getting 90+% of the vote, nobody is really counting.
Chancellor Nazarbayev has the right to veto Parliament at any time and he’s a good pal of US President Obama who praised the Chancellor in 2011 for contributing to nuclear peace and safety around the world. Kazakhstan is a nuclear power, something you might wish to know.
Kazakhstan is an important member of the Organization for Islamic Cooperation and where launches and coordination of the International Space Station take place.
– Meanwhile neighboring Kyrgyzstan, yeah that other country, has a new president elected in 2011 after the bloody revolution which began in 2010. At best it is an interim government in power as long as it can stave off the revolutionary opposition. Kyrgyzstan is closely aligned with Russia via the CIS and a member of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.
Other than frequent revolutions, ethnic strife, transitional governments, and occasional skirmishes with bordering Uzbekistan, the US State Department considers this to be a pretty stable place. The country was ruled by China until 1876 when it was handed over to Russia by treaty and they’ve pretty much maintained some semblance of revolution whether against their Chinese lords, then Russian Tsars and later the Soviets. Today they just don’t like each other very much. The 40-ray sun on their flag refers to the forty ethnic tribes which make up the tribal regions of Kyrgyzstan but did we forget to mention the little matter of ethnic conflicts?
The USA maintains the Manas Transit Center, an air base in Kyrgyzstan. Located just outside the capital city of Bishkek, US Air Force jets can be in Afghanistan in about an hour and round-the-clock refueling missions for NATO warplanes are conducted from Kyrgyzstan. As you can imagine, Russia has never been happy about this arrangement but the local economy is so (f) mucked up that the country simply needs the $200 million in annual rent.
Some might say that the most intelligent thing you’ve done in life was to marry into money. We agree and your secret is safe with us, Mr. Secretary. Although you clearly have no idea where you’re going on this first diplomatic trip, the US State Department has already scrubbed clean your error in the official transcript of last Wednesday’s speech. Unfortunately the State Department doesn’t control outside sources, such as YouTube. Well, at least not yet.
In the 2004 presidential campaign at one point you proclaimed your roots as being solidly “Irish-Amercian.” In another part of the country during the same campaign you claimed to be “part Jewish.” At some point in the future you’re sure to visit Asia and when there we’d advise against using that “part Jewish” claim and for the love of all that is good and holy, please don’t claim to be “part Asian.” Trust us, they’ll know better so don’t even try it.
While making your first foreign trip as secretary of state we have a small but important suggestion for you, Mr. Secretary. Once you’ve settled into the flight with a cup of coffee and a copy of the comics from the New York Times, we suggest you quietly lean over and ask this very important question to one of your aides:
Where the hell am I going?
(Editor’s footnote: When in the Senate Mr. Kerry was the ranking member and chairman since 2009 of the Foreign Relations Committee. Apparently geography wasn’t much of an issue during his tenure. Secretary Kerry’s first foreign trip began Monday in London in meetings with British Prime Minister David Cameron and Foreign Secretary William Hague. Other scheduled stops include Germany, France, Italy, Turkey, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar. Let’s hope he knows how to read a GPS unit.)