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Kerry pledges as secretary of State to highlight the good America does

January 24, 2013|By Paul Richter | This post has been corrected. See note below for details.
  • Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), President Obama's nominee to become secretary of State, arrives on Capitol Hill.
Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), President… (Pablo Martinez Monsivais…)

WASHINGTON – Sen. John F. Kerry pledged at his confirmation hearing Thursday that as  secretary of State he would emphasize “the extraordinary good” America does abroad and not just the less popular U.S. foreign policy of “deployments and drones.”
 
Appearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, on which he has sat for 28 years, the Massachusetts Democrat stressed the peaceful side of America’s foreign presence, including its advocacy of human rights, efforts for humanitarian aid and development, and its leadership on international issues like climate change.
 
“America lives up to her values when we give voice to the voiceless,” said Kerry, the 2004 Democratic presidential nominee.
 
[For the record, 8:15 a.m., Jan. 24: An earlier version of this post incorrectly identified Kerry as the 2008 Democratic presidential nominee. He was the 2004 nominee.]

Kerry, who has been a loyal ally and occasional diplomatic representative of the Obama administration, is expected to easily win the votes for confirmation, allowing him to succeed Hillary Rodham Clinton early next month. Indeed, many Senate Republicans actively promoted him as a candidate when they were seeking to halt the candidacy of U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice, whom they considered too partisan.
 
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) told the committee he recommended Kerry “without reservation” and predicted he would easily win the votes needed for confirmation.
 
Kerry touched on, without explaining, the central contradiction of the Obama foreign policy, which is its simultaneous call for an end to a decade of war, even as it threatens Iran with military attack if it does not curb its nuclear program.
 
He declared that U.S. policy on Iran “is not containment … the president has made it definitive—we will do what we must to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.”
 
Clinton also appeared before the committee on Kerry’s behalf, and praised him for his work on the administration with leaders of Afghanistan, Pakistan and Sudan.

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paul.richter@latimes.com

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