Secretary of State John Kerry has a humble goal: Be the greatest Secretary of State ever and bring peace to the Middle East. In the wake of his "apartheid" comments, that goal has never seemed more distant.
Kerry's tenure, barely a year old, has been mixed. He oversaw a remarkable new agreement with Iran (that Hillary Clinton would like a little credit for). Mr. Magoo-like, he accidentally solved the Obama administration's conundrum in Syria, avoiding a potentially embarrassing vote against airstrikes on Capitol Hill. And he brought Israel and the Palestinian Authority together in an attempt to finally, at last, figure out a workable agreement for the tensions between the two.
Solving that final problem is both enormously aspirational and clearly Kerry's aspiration. In December, David Rohde chronicled Kerry's exhaustive first months of activism on the issue for The Atlantic. Meeting after meeting; flight after flight; celebration of small-but-significant accomplishments.
Over the last month, the effort has collapsed. Last week, Israel walked out of peace talks. And then, in a private conversation with the Trilateral Commission, Kerry warned that any solution that doesn't create an independent Palestinian state "winds up either being an apartheid state with second-class citizens — or it ends up being a state that destroys the capacity of Israel to be a Jewish state."