While they were once known for crossing party lines to work together on foreign policy, whatever friendship John McCain and John Kerry had in the past seems now to be finally and completely dead.
That was, at least, the appearance Tuesday during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing when Mr. McCain suddenly hammered into Mr. Kerry and accused him of being out of touch with “reality.”
The Obama administration is “failing very badly” at foreign policy, Mr. McCain, Arizona Republican told Mr. Kerry, a former Democratic senator from Massachusetts, who has served as President Obama’s secretary of state since early last year.
“I think you’re about to hit the trifecta,” said Mr. McCain, who asserted that peace talks Mr. Kerry has pursued for Syria are in “total collapse,” and that nuclear negotiations with Iran, as well as talks between Israel and Palestine are “finished.”
Mr. McCain, one of the Republican party’s leading advocates of U.S. intervention abroad, also criticized the administration’s response to Russia’s recent invasion of the Crimean Peninsula – dismissing White House threats to use tougher sanctions to deter Russian President Vladimir Putin from pushing deeper into Eastern Ukraine.
“My hero, Teddy Roosevelt, used to say, talk softly but carry a big stick. What you’re doing is talking strongly and carrying a very small stick – in fact, a twig,” Mr. McCain said to Mr. Kerry.
Initially, the secretary of state appeared willing to listen patiently. But he then suddenly shot back at Mr. McCain, describing the senator’s assessment as a “premature judgment about the failure of everything.”