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Is John Kerry President Obama’s Ideological Twin?

Earlier this week, Senator John Kerry (D-MA) was confirmed as the next Secretary of State after sailing through a Senate hearing last week. What does this mean for America and its foreign policy?

As Heritage’s Helle Dale wrote after last week’s hearing:

The bad news for the United States is that Kerry is President Obama’s ideological twin and can be expected to enthusiastically embrace the Obama doctrine and continue the Administration’s pursuit of arms control, international treaties, and climate-change agreements. This is a classic liberal agenda, which will only lead to a further erosion of American global leadership.

Though Kerry talked tough on Iran, The Wall Street Journal described Kerry’s stance as a “vision to wind down America’s military operations in the Islamic world and to pursue a foreign policy more driven by aid, economics and environmental issues.”

Kerry, a former presidential candidate who served in Vietnam and then protested the war, has chaired the Senate Foreign Relations Committee—the committee where his confirmation hearings take place—since 2009. He has been a Senator since 1985. Some of his key positions:

  • He has stated that when the U.S. undertakes military action, it must first pass a “global test.”
  • He has been a cheerleader for various international treaties, such as the Law of the Sea Treaty and the Arms Trade Treaty, that infringe on U.S. sovereignty.
  • He is one of the greatest supporters of President Obama’s “reset” policy with Russia.
  • He has supported the idea of “fruitful talks between the U.S. and North Korea.”

His Senate colleagues have failed to press Kerry on any meaningful issues, which is unsurprising but still a negative for the country and U.S. allies.

The Secretary of State’s priorities should be defending American sovereignty, promoting economic freedom, and restoring American leadership in the world. Kerry’s track record and his fidelity to Obama’s worldview give us little hope for those priorities.

Guide to the Hearings:

Heritage experts have put out a guide to the confirmation hearings for Kerry, former Senator Chuck Hagel (R–NE) for Secretary of Defense, and White House chief counterterrorism advisor John Brennan for director of the CIA. See their analysis of major issues facing each nominee in these categories:

U.S. Policy on Asia

Middle East and North Africa Issues

U.S. Strategic Forces

U.S. Policy on Europe

U.S. Policy on Sub-Saharan Africa

U.S. Policy on Arctic Security

U.S. Policy for the Western Hemisphere

Views on Russia

Cybersecurity and Internet Freedom


Other Questions