Massachusetts Senator John Kerry's appointment as U.S. secretary of state, soon to be officially authorized following certain approval in the Senate, assures us that for the foreseeable future U.S. foreign policy will still be determined in the White House.
In contrast to previous powerful and influential secretaries of state such as Henry Kissinger, who profoundly affected the international arena, Kerry will, like his predecessor Hillary Clinton, play the role of expert implementer of policy rather than inspired architect with a vision of his own.
Indeed, all signs show that the main criterion for the appointment is not creativity, initiative or original thinking, but the fact that Kerry's authentic liberal worldview is almost completely in line with that of President Barack Obama.
The expectation is that the secretary of state will provide a clear expression of this, especially in regards to the belief that the U.S. prefers to conduct a multilateral foreign policy within a framework of international support, not unilaterally.
On Israel, Kerry also reliably reflects Obama's beliefs, and his support of Israel can be defined as "soft" and bereft of any extraordinary warmth.
Even though he is in the camp of the vast majority of the Senate — comprising both parties — which has supported every military aid package for Israel, Kerry has consistently taken a particularly critical stance on the settlements issue. This position was clearly expressed during Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's visit to Washington in May 2009. At precisely the same time, Kerry also voiced his incredibly conciliatory and friendly stance toward Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, whom he visited in Damascus and with whom he sought to embark on a fruitful process of trust-building measures.
To summarize the point, Kerry is a carbon copy of the 44th president. No innovative or independent measures should be expected to emanate from the secretary of state’s office under his stewardship.