President Obama is still working on remaking his foreign policy and national security team, but it looks like John Kerry will be the next Secretary of State. Inside Washington, Kerry has been a leading voice on foreign policy for decades. As a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for twenty-seven years, he has built up a vast network of contacts abroad. He understands the politics of the Middle East. And he has already travelled extensively for the Obama administration – going to places like Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Susan Rice wisely withdrew her name from consideration. That was about more than Benghazi. She has the brains to be Secretary of State, for sure. Rice’s problem is that she’s not diplomatic, at all really.
The late Richard Holbrooke will be remembered for his arrogance and vanity. Nonetheless, one doesn’t need to have a PhD from Oxford (like Susan Rice) to understand that pointedly displaying one’s middle finger at Holbrooke during a meeting of senior State officials is probably not a good idea. Besides, the diplomacy business can be far more tedious than State department meetings – just ask Hillary Clinton.