Doug Brinkley is right. John Kerry should be confirmed, ASAP, to the Secretary of State -- a position he was born for. In the latest Foreignpolicy.com article, Brinkley, being the meticulous chronicler that a Ph.D in U.S. Diplomatic History that he is, gives the most cohesive argument to date as to why John Kerry is a gift to the State Department delivered to us on a silver platter.
The man has already been the Foreign Relations Committee for three decades. And as recent Chairman, he has proven time and again that his negotiator's mindset can be a skill to save American lives by avoiding unnecessary battles.
Doug Brinkley's Tour of Duty, a book that shows the war hero's Modus operandi. That mindset still shines. Senator Kerry is committed to the Middle East peace process and on Iran, Brinkley describes him as a hawk. Kerry doesn't believe in containment, Kerry says: Tehran simply won't be allowed to have nuclear weapon.
Senator Kerry's doctrine of peace-if-possible started long ago, when John Kerry testified before Senate Foreign Relations Committee on April 22, 1971. He was an eloquent spokesman for Vietnam Veterans Against the War (VVAW), a group whose singular mission was to end U.S. military involvement in Southeast Asia. Famously asking; "How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?" But in that very testimony, Kerry offered other powerful observations about a war he felt had gone off course.
This same attitude shows in his current involvement in the Middle East. With a keen eye for opportunity out of chaos, Kerry, breaking the mold with odd talk for a Washington insider, won't utter the phrase "Arab Spring." He prefers "Arab Awakening." His reasoning is simple: Seasons like spring come and go. An "awakening" is the beginning of a true democratic reform movement that is just getting started.
Hillary Clinton has done an exemplary job, no doubt. And she traveled more than any Secretary of state to-date. The world is changing and Hillary Clinton needed to be on the ground with sleeves rolled up. She represented the USA with grace and strength. Hers are big shoes to fill.
With everything from Syria to Iran to North Korea changing at light speed, we need a diplomat who will be equally, if not more tenacious than Hilary Clinton. Kerry has been tried and tested in this too.
Just as he learned everything he could about Southeast Asia from the 1960s to the 1990s, Kerry has amassed an encyclopedic and instinctual knowledge of the Middle East -- at times even ahead of President Obama on the region's urgent crises. He was the first senator to call for President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt to step down, called on the administration to set up a no-fly zone in Libya to topple Muammar al-Qaddafi, and has been outspoken of Syria's murdering of its own citizens, having meticulously tested Bashar al-Assad's willingness to change his ways in 2009 and come away unimpressed.
What Doug Brinkley doesn't mention of course, is John Kerry's personality in a room. Some say he's Stoic. Some say he's a diplomat who can't relate because of his chronic "senatease talk." But let's not forget that in delicate situations in the Middle East or any other hot zone, the USA is being represented by one person -- the Secretary of State.
Hillary Clinton is formidable. John Kerry is 6 foot 4, lions mane and so distinguished that his 50 years of foreign relations experience is compacted, for just a moment, in that first handshake. Trust me, I've been at the other end of the handshake a several of times. As dignified as he is, I wouldn't mess with the man.
He's the man we need. As Doug Brinkley said, there's no learning curve at Foggy.
Bottom. Brinkley's argument is the best so far on who the fourth in line to the president should be. John Kerry was made for the job, and the current world stage job was made for John Kerry.
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