February 4, 2013

Picking Up From Clinton, Kerry Should Focus on Asia

The following article originally appeared in India America Today on February 4, 2013. An excerpt is included below. The full text can be accessed here.

As John Kerry assumes the role of Secretary of State, Clinton’s track record in Asia offers some useful guidance. Although Kerry has been a fixture of the American foreign policy establishment for decades and a presidential nominee in 2004, the guiding principles shaping his overall approach to foreign affairs are difficult to ascertain.

His signature legislative accomplishments include support for arms control agreements with Russia and expanded assistance to Pakistan as part of the landmark Kerry-Lugar-Berman legislation, while his prepared remarks during his Senate confirmation hearing placed an emphasis on nation-building at home and on challenges across the Muslim world.

Both his recent statements and those during his presidential bid suggest that Kerry is concerned about the United States’ limited capabilities and wary of aggressively promoting liberal democratic values.
Clinton’s successes in Asia could yet provide Kerry with a basis upon which to build his own legacy, one that sees the United States emerge as a more confident Asian power with fewer commitments in regions of marginal strategic relevance. This, in turn, might require more frequent appearances in major Asian capitals, higher visibility with Asian publics, and more miles logged on transpacific flights.