U.S. President Barack Obama is expected to announce his choice to succeed Secretary of State Hillary Clinton this week — and it’s most likely Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts. Photo by: Mark Mathosian / CC BY-NC-SA

U.S. President Barack Obama is expected to announce his choice to succeed Secretary of State Hillary Clinton this week — and it’s most likely Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts.

Kerry is once again the frontrunner to secure the nomination to lead the State Department after Susan Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, withdrew her name from consideration last week. Some Washington insiders even hinted that Obama has already decided to nominate Kerry, as CNN reports.

If indeed nominated, Kerry is expected to breeze through the required vetting process in the Senate, to be led by the foreign relations committee he currently chairs. Unlike Rice, he also has bipartisan support to succeed Hillary Clinton. Among his strengths, according to supporters and experts, are his extensive experience in diplomacy and foreign affairs. 

Climate change advocates are likely to have reason to celebrate if Kerry secures the nomination and the post. The senator and one-time presidential candidate has displayed interest in climate change and is expected to make it a key foreign policy issue, the PolicyMic notes.

Kerry is also expected to continue Clinton’s focus on promoting women and girls’ rights around the globe — although probably not with the same intensity as the current secretary of state.

One thing that could prove a challenge should Kerry become secretary of state, however, is his relationship with Obama. Kerry is not regarded as an Obama insider, unlike Rice. This could affect his effectiveness as top diplomat and whether he would be empowered to shape U.S. foreign policy, CNN notes.

“That is going to be the difference, I think, between John Kerry being a good secretary of state and … truly be a consequential, if not great secretary of state,” Aaron David Miller of the Wilson Center said, according to CNN.

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About the author

  • Ivy Mungcal

    As former senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributed to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean, and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.

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