Kerry's tough task
Posted on 5 months ago
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Adecorated Vietnam veteran, tipped as the next US secretary of state, will have a daunting task to deliver.
Senator John Kerry, who is admired for his in-depth knowledge in international affairs and his art of convincing world leaders to fall in line with Washington’s policy, will soon be handling the world’s most demanding job of recasting America’s image in the 21st century, and that too as the second-in-command of President Barack Obama. His elevation to the high office will bring an end to the consolation prize that Hillary Clinton enjoyed for the last four years at the State Department, which saw her globetrotting with little output in any of the flashpoints of the world. Clinton was more of a somber US face to the world than an articulate diplomat who could turn the tide for policy-makers in Washington. This is why from Pyongyang to Mogadishu and from Gaza to Kabul, the US was seen struggling to make its point and lobby for an agenda that could excel its clout in world affairs. The situation got more compounded with the advent of the Arab Spring, and it was almost a nail-biting situation for Washington to see its allies groping in the darkness of political upheavals. Libya, Egypt and Yemen are a case in point.
Senator Kerry, the quintessential American diplomat, will be taking over at a time when the US is more than eager to sustain and extend its global leadership. Obama’s second-term is ought to be achievement-oriented as unfinished business in terms of the two-state solution in the Middle East and ensuring tranquility in Afghanistan with the complete pullout of troops in 2014 will be under intense scrutiny. Moreover, the US shouldn’t be lost in dealing with the mess in Syria, and it’s high time an astute diplomat who could do some plain talking with the regime in Damascus was mandated with an agenda of bringing the strife-torn Arab country back from the brink. Avoiding another unnecessary war in the region and compelling America’s allies to look out for an amicable solution of the dispute will be Kerry’s roulette. Similarly, the task of manning a neighbour-friendly foreign policy in the backyard of America, especially in ties with border-irritant Mexico and ambitious Brazil and Venezuela, will be no less arduous. Kerry’s hobnobbing with the Western allies in Europe and Russia as the transatlantic alliance, Nato, goes ahead to institutionalise a security decorum in the region will clearly spell out how assertive America could be in times to come. Nonetheless, in an era of recession and capital flight, Kerry, unlike Clinton, has to warm up to China and Japan to ensure that America’s economic interests are onboard. (Courtesy: Khaleej Times)