John Kerry: ‘People are going to die because of the decision Trump made’

The Guardian

The former US secretary of state has looked on as Donald Trump has dismantled the Paris climate agreement. Now, 14 years after losing his presidential bid, he is considering another

To look back at the moment John Kerry entered US public life, addressing the Senate foreign relations committee on 22 April 1971, is to be struck by many things. There are the famous words, of course: “How do you ask a man to be the last man to die in Vietnam? How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?” There is the shock of dark, Beatles-inspired hair, the distinctly British-tinged accent. Above all, there is the self-possession. Even though, as he describes it in his new book, Every Day Is Extra, he had not realised he would be the only witness until he had walked in the door, breathless and young and late; even though he was describing a situation about which he was deeply angry, he did not hurry his delivery.  Perhaps – after the vivid pointlessness of months spent in Vietnam, captaining vulnerable “swift boats” up muddy rivers; after being shot at and experiencing the deaths of friends; after watching a wounded Vietnamese soldier bleed to death in a US medical tent, surrounded by well-meaning soldiers who could not give him the most basic words of comfort in his own language, in his own country – the committee held little fear. Perhaps it was his upbringing, as the son of a state department lawyer and a mother whose extended family owned estates in Brittany, France, and an island off Cape Cod in Massachusetts; as a boy who attended elite boarding schools in Switzerland and the US; as a young man who, while a competitive debater and athlete at Yale, once went to visit a girlfriend (Jackie Kennedy’s half-sister) and found himself sailing with JFK for an afternoon. Or perhaps, as he puts it in his publisher’s offices in London, eyes watchful, tired from jetlag and an appearance on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, it comes from “being a little kid on the train to Berlin, travelling home alone from school”, a kid who by eighth grade had attended seven schools. “It was just – survival. I am confident. I have a confidence about things.”

READ MORE AT THE GUARDIAN

Advertisements