As chairman of the U.S. Senates Foreign Relations Committee, John Kerry of Massachusetts demonstrated a broad knowledge of Americas strengths and weaknesses abroad, and a keen eye for the complicated politics of the Middle East, Russia and China. He is widely traveled in both an official and unofficial capacity, and respected by foreign leaders. That he is a Vietnam veteran decorated for heroism adds to his credibility.
Its no wonder, then, that he was easily confirmed as secretary of state, succeeding the successful Hillary Clinton. In the coming months and years, and the coming weeks, for that matter, the long-time Democratic senator will be advising President Obama on the powder keg in Iran, on the continuing exit from Afghanistan, on the increasingly tense situation in the ever-volatile Middle East. It is a tremendous advantage, as it was with Clinton, that Kerry knows and is respected by foreign leaders.
The State Department, known in Washington lingo as Foggy Bottom, employs tens of thousands of people at home and overseas and does everything from help Americans traveling abroad to guiding the president in the negotiation of peace treaties. The secretarys role is as representative of the U.S., a public face of foreign policy, and as a key, perhaps the key, adviser to the president. Kerry is a good fit.