Kerry had long been an apologist for Bashir Assad before a more recent about-face. Here is a photo of Kerry and Assad, along with their wives, dining in a Damascus restaurant in 2009.
As National Review has noted:
John Kerry has been a frequent traveler to Syria, meeting with Assad five times from 2009 to 2011. Like Pelosi and Lantos, the former presidential candidate sought to promote peace talks between Syria and Israel. A WikiLeaks document revealed that Kerry told the emir of Qatar in November 2010 that Assad is a man who “wants to change” and that Israel should cede the Golan Heights to the Syrians “at some point.”See how well his interlocution worked out?
After a “long and comprehensive” meeting with Assad in April of that year, Kerry described it as “a very positive discussion.” A month later, Kerry was back in Syria. His spokesman, insisting that “Syria can play a critical role in bringing peace and stability if it makes the strategic decision to do so,” asserted that Kerry had “emerged as one of the primary American interlocutors with the Syrian government.”
Kerry has also flip-flopped about Israel, condemning settlements in 2008 but saying that Obama wasted a year and a half by focusing on the settlements in 2011.
Rice might be even worse. Here is how she effectively condemned Israel at the UN after vetoing an anti-Israel resolution, saying that the US really agreed with the resolution but felt this was not the right venue:
Our opposition to the resolution before this Council today should therefore not be misunderstood to mean we support settlement activity. On the contrary, we reject in the strongest terms the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlement activity...While we agree with our fellow Council members—and indeed, with the wider world—about the folly and illegitimacy of continued Israeli settlement activity, we think it unwise for this Council to attempt to resolve the core issues that divide Israelis and Palestinians. We therefore regrettably have opposed this draft resolution.Read Elliot Abrams' response.
Things are not looking good for the next four years of US Middle East policy if either Kerry or Rice get chosen as the new Secretary of State.
But it is nice to know that Russia would prefer Kerry. Rice was too critical of Russia arming Syria, it seems.