In announcing his selection of Kerry, Mr. Obama said that, as the son of a Foreign Service officer and the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, who is well known and “respected” by dozens of world leaders, Kerry “is not going to need a lot of on-the-job training.” Kerry still must win Senate confirmation, but he is not expected to encounter much resistance, with key senators like John McCain (R) of Arizona already referring to him as “Mr. Secretary.”
While international experts equate Clinton with “people to people” diplomacy, some cite another “P” word for Kerry – patrician. But they add that, in the world’s diplomatic circles, that won’t necessarily be a drawback.
Kerry may be known for a certain “aloofness,” but “it’s not particularly germane to being secretary of State if you’re seen as the type who has beers with the guys at the local tavern or you’re seen as patrician,” says James Dobbins, director of the International Security and Defense Policy Center at the RAND Corp. in Arlington, Va., and a former US envoy to Afghanistan.