4 Things You Need to Know About Secretary of State Nominee John Kerry

Don't let his reputation as a peacenik fool you. John Kerry is no anti-interventionist.

On Dec. 21, President Obama nominated Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) to replace Hillary Clinton as secretary of state. The move was widely expected after Susan Rice, the only other prominent candidate, dropped out of consideration when the Obama administration’s response to a terror attack on the U.S. embassy in Libya promised to derail her nomination.

Now serving his fifth term in the Senate, Kerry is best known for his failed 2004 presidential run, and the "swift boat" attacks he suffered during it. While America may never know a President Kerry, his likely confirmation as secretary of state means the man America almost elected in 2004 will have a chance to put some of his ideas into action. So what might we expect from Kerry at State?

1. He’s an Interventionist

When Kerry ran for president, Republican operatives tried to paint him as unpatriotic due to his opposition to the Vietnam War (in which he fought). The Swift Boat campaign, coupled with Kerry's speech about the 1991 Gulf War (which he opposed on the grounds that "there is no consensus in America for war") created the impression that Kerry believes in a smaller international footprint. 

He doesn't. Kerry raised no objection to the Senate's unanimous passage of the Iraq Liberation Act of 1998, which made regime change in Iraq official U.S. policy. After 9/11, he voted to authorize the use of military force in Iraq. This second vote he would attempt to recast during his presidential campaign—claiming during his candidacy announcement that the vote was meant merely to threaten the use of force; then owning it later in the campaign.

In addition to being for the war in Iraq before he was against it (wording he used to explain voting for, then against supplemental funding for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan), Kerry has also been a proponent of Obama-era interventions. He was one of the first advocates for an intervention in the Libyan civil war in 2011, which received no congressional authorization. The most support Kerry could muster for U.S. military involvement in the Libyan civil war was a “Sense of the Senate” resolution co-sponsored by Arizona Republican John McCain.

NEXT: An Obama Apologist

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • DJF||

    """"created the impression that Kerry believes in a smaller international footprint.
    He doesn't.""'

    I remember during his presidential campaign that Kerry attacked Bush for reducing the number of US troops in Europe. If Kerry won't even go along with pulling toops out of Europe, he probably won't want to pull them out of anywhere.

  • Diogenes of Sinope||

    Your enemy is never a villain in his own eyes.

  • LTC(ret) John||

    Terrific, moving from an opportunist do-nothing to a dishonorable scumbag. Whee.

  • 21044||

    ^^^This^^^
    Despite being an officer, you are perceptive. :-)

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    This will really piss Noam Chomsky off.

  • ||

    If I ever meet John Kerry, I will ask him, "What's wrong? Why the long face?"

  • DJF||

    I need to ask him to write a book. “How to marry rich woman for fun and profit”.

  • sasob||

    "What's wrong? Why the long face?"

    'Cuz horse's asses often have horse's faces? Or is that a donkey's face?

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Thinking back to the dreadful election of 2004 it is just bewildering how Americans fucked that one up royally. We were in the grip of Bush uber-super patriotism and the Dems ran a terrible candidate who voted for the Iraq disaster instead of the anti-war, deficit hawk, pro-gun Howard Dean.

  • 21044||

    "swift boat attacks" my ass

    I spent more time in sick bay for industrial accidents than Kerry did for three Purple Hearts. PH earned, my ass. Kerry's seniors let the sorry ass have PHs for his self reported injuries as a means to get rid of him before he could get any of his men killed.

    Kerry's primary benefit to Obama is that he, along with Joe Biden, are some of the few men that when compared to Obama make Obama look good.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Kerry was awarded a Bronze Star as well.

    The Swift Boat Liars did their job - deflecting the attention away from the duo of draft-dodgers on the GOP ticket.

    But in the end justice was served. The legacy of the Bushpigs is forever cemented in the bottom of the toilet of US Presidencies where it belongs. A Kerry presidency would have obscured that.

  • ||

    Wow. And you accuse me of having tunnel vision, Shriek. Missed your dose of lithium again, didn't you? NEEDZ MOAR CHRISTFAG!

  • SugarFree||

    Careful, Doc. Don't get stupid all over you.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Yeah, I am still laughing about Soros fighting communism in the Ukraine was really all about single-payer.

    You're in Beck looney land now.

  • ||

    I never claimed "it was all about single-payer", you disingenuous shitbag. I'm not sure which is more strained: your credulity or your assgina when you stewed the loo.

  • sasob||

    Bronze Star - for what? Chasing down and shooting dead some Vietnamese who had already thrown away his weapon and fled?

  • sasob||

    ... deflecting the attention away from the duo of draft-dodgers on the GOP ticket.

    If serving in the Reserves (as Bush did) is "dodging the draft," then so too is joining the Navy to keep from being drafted into the Army after all one's draft deferments have run out. Kerry was every bit as much a draft dodger as anyone else - he just wasn't as successful at it as BJ Clinton.

  • ||

    The Swift Boat Liars did their job - deflecting the attention away from the duo of draft-dodgers on the GOP ticket.

    Are you implying that draft-dodging is wrong?

  • Moridin||

    "Kerry's primary benefit to Obama is that he, along with Joe Biden, are some of the few men that when compared to Obama make Obama look good"

    Great point. This ^^ seems to be a pattern for most of Obama's appointments, at least the ones that are more likely to fall under the national spotlight.

  • tommy0302||

    I'll tell you one thing, he's not winning my heart and mind.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    ...and there is no reason, Bob, that young American soldiers need to be going into the homes of Iraqis in the dead of night, terrorizing kids and children, you know, women, breaking sort of the customs of the - of - of - of - historical customs, religious customs, whether you like it or not. Iraqis should be doing that.

    John Kerry thinks that Iraqis should be terrorizing their own kids and children and women?

  • sasob||

    I wonder how he feels about American soldiers swat teams going into the homes of Americans in the dead of night, terrorizing people etc.?

  • Milton Devotee||

    New Kerry quote:

    I was for denying more security in Benghazi before I was against removing Chris Stevens from harms way.

  • ChrisO||

    Secretary of State Thurston Howell III.

    Should be a rousing success.

  • sasob||

    Is that pronounced Thurston Howell the Turd?

  • jb4479||

    And lest we forget Mr. Kerry's lies...err testimony during the Winter Soldier hearings, when he described having personally seen atrocities committed by fellow Americans.
    I have no doubt his actions in Vietnam earned him the medals he was awarded. It is his actions after the war that I find reprehensible.

  • John Galt||

    ...and just when I thought we had, for the most part, gotten rid of Lurch...

  • دردشة العراق||

    thank you

  • istanbul sohbet||

    Thanks so much for this ! I have not been this thrilled by a blog post for quite some time ! sohbet You’ve got it, whatever that means in blogging. chat Anyway, You’re definitely someone that has something to say that people should hear. Keep up the wonderful job.

  • istanbul sohbet||

    It is nice to find a site about my interest. My first visit to your site is been a big help Thank you for the efforts you . film izle been putting on making your site such an interesting and informative place to browse through. tubidy I'll be visiting your site again to gather some more valuable information. You truly did a good job

  • istanbul sohbet||

    I agree along with you. This post is actually inspiring. Nice post and many types of a person tell you is up to mirc date as well as really enlightening, i mynet sohbet must book mark the actual web page in order to can come right here just as before to study anyone, as you've performed a great employment

  • cinsel chat||

    good thanks sohbet
    cinsel sohbet

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online

  • Progressive Puritans: From e-cigs to sex classifieds, the once transgressive left wants to criminalize fun.
  • Port Authoritarians: Chris Christie’s Bridgegate scandal
  • The Menace of Secret Government: Obama’s proposed intelligence reforms don’t safeguard civil liberties

SUBSCRIBE

advertisement