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President Obama nominates controversial John Kerry for Secretary of State

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
December 21st, 2012
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

U.S. President Barack Obama is expected to nominate the controversial John Kerry for Secretary of State to replace departing Hillary Rodham Clinton. The movie is seen as a controversial one, as Kerry is not widely embraced by his fellow politicians. His career has been defined by taking unpopular stands that later on have appeared to have been the right ones.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - In 1985, Kerry as a freshman senator was troubled by America's blind support of Philippine strongman Ferdinand Marcos. Kerry then began introducing amendment after amendment calling for free and fair elections in the Philippines.

Then-president Ronald Reagan reluctantly named Kerry to the delegation of election observers. Kerry, once ensconced in the Philippines, flew all over the country interviewing poll workers. Discovering evidence of massive election fraud, Kerry held a press conference and took his findings back to Reagan. The president then dropped his support of Marcos and threw his weight behind Corazon Aquino, who was then declared the rightfully elected leader of the country.

While this stand won Kerry few friends, his colleagues had begun to appreciate his stubborn smarts. When it looked like President Obama might name U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice to succeed Hillary Clinton as secretary of State, many protested - even those from the other side of the aisle.

"[Kerry] would get a lot of support in the Senate because we all know John," Senator Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican says. "I often disagree with him on foreign and domestic policy, but he's a collaborative guy by nature. I think he's got a lot of experience. He knows most of the people on the world stage."

Obama will get a nominee with a long and distinguished foreign policy record, in naming Kerry his nominee to his top cabinet post. Kerry is a politician with experience and gravitas, one with his own singular vision.

As an example of his far-reaching vision, Kerry called for the imposition of a no-fly zone in Libya, writing op-eds encouraging the Administration to follow suit. He also called for the U.S. to end its support for Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak long before the White House did.

Kerry, in an April 2011 speech at the Brookings' Saban Center, blasted the Administration for "wasting" time on "the wrong approach" on Middle East peace that was "unachievable." He later criticized the Administration's Pakistan policy as "not a real strategy" in an interview with USA Today's editorial board. Kerry also held a hearing encouraging the Administration to arm Syrian opposition groups earlier this year, a move the Administration is now weighing.

Kerry can also be a team player. In 2009, Kerry flew to Afghanistan to persuade Afghan President Hamid Karzai to allow a runoff election instead of grabbing power in undemocratic fashion. He flew to Pakistan to negotiate the release of CIA operative Ray Davis.

Kerry also delivered the President's messages to north and south Sudan before the referendum that split those African nations.

It's easily seen that Kerry will be confirmed and will presumably dig right into these issues. The question is in building his legacy, will Kerry keep Obama's in mind? He has, after all, been his own boss for almost his entire career. As Vice President Joe Biden - himself a longtime chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee - once wryly noted, subsuming one's ambitions to another's is no easy feat for a Senator.

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