Yet even as he emphasized the importance he would place on soft-power issues like development and democracy promotion, Kerry made a point of reiterating President Obama’s commitment to preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.
“Our policy is not containment. It is prevention,” he said, underscoring an issue that could very well dominate the initial months of his presumed tenure at the State Department. “No one should mistake our resolve” to stop Iran from developing a nuclear weapon, he added.
Kerry, accompanied by his wife, Teresa Heinz Kerry, and one of his two daughters, bathed in the accolades and good wishes of his committee colleagues from both sides of the aisle. The hearing’s overall tone left little doubt that Kerry can anticipate easy confirmation.
Despite the warm atmosphere, however, several senators made it clear that their respect for Kerry does not extend to Mr. Obama’s foreign policy. Sen. Marco Rubio (R) of Florida said he has “struggled to fully understand what President Obama’s vision for the world is,” while other Republicans focused their criticism on the administration’s handling of the Sept. 11 terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya, and the civil war in Syria.