Barney Willis,

Editor (North America)


WASHINGTON – John Kerry, former US Presidential candidate for the Democrats in 2004, has returned to the centre stage of US politics with his recent nomination to the illustrious post of US Secretary of State. Following confirmation in the Senate, Kerry will succeed Hilary Clinton. Obama endorsed him with confidence, saying that Mr Kerry’s “entire life” has prepared him for the role. His nomination has been praised by Democrats and Republicans alike and there is unlikely to be any considerable opposition to his assumption of the role.

Mr. Kerry has had substantial experience in representing the US abroad since his failed election campaign 8 years ago. As the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign relations, he was responsible for quelling the anger after the US incursion to kill Osama bin Laden in 2011. He has been described as the unofficial envoy of the Obama administration for hotspots such as Afghanistan and Pakistan.

It is hard to predict exactly how his appointment will affect US foreign policy, however, he is no stranger to decisive action, being one of the earliest proponents of a more aggressive No-Fly Zone policy over Libya. He is also noted for wanting a reduction in the number of nuclear weapons held by the country, supporting a US-Russia treaty through the Senate in late 2010. This past experience may make his job easier as world leaders are already familiar with him.

It is likely that much of the new Secretary’s attention will be taken up by the stabilisation of the Middle east. With the situation in Syria deteriorating into full blown civil war and the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict, it is certainly true that Kerry has a difficult time ahead of him. For the international community, how he tackles issues such as the conflicts in the Middle East, the nuclear threat posed by North Korea and the frosty relations with the Chinese will be of great importance. For Americans, his appointment will no doubt be welcomed due to his distinguished political and military career as well as familiarity as a consequence of his Presidential campaign in 2004.

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