One of the biggest recent political events in the eyes of Democrats has been the replacement of one Democratic legend by another in the President’s Cabinet. Senator John Kerry (D-MA) will replace former First Lady and Senator from New York Hillary Rodham Clinton as Secretary of State.
Secretary Clinton’s tenure saw such momentous occasions in world affairs as the Arab Spring, the US military intervention in Libya, the end of the Iraq War, and the assassination of Osama Bin-Laden.
Her accomplishments and advocacy were extremely admirable. She worked with the UN to encourage developing countries to adopt the use of cook stoves to prevent the mass expulsion of black carbon into the air, which is caused by using traditional wood or coal burning stoves. Black carbon is a serious public health threat and a huge contributor to global warming. Also under Clinton’s watch the US Congress passed the New START Treaty, an important step toward reducing nuclear proliferation.
One of her most historic accomplishments as Secretary of State however was her insistence to world leaders that respect for LGBT rights be would a cornerstone in judging whether a country was truly respecting human rights or not. This was similar to her action during the 1990’s stating that women’s rights were human rights.
John Kerry meanwhile is a Vietnam War veteran and Purple Heart awardee with years of distinguished service as Massachusetts Senator. He made his reputation in the Senate as an expert on national security issues. Senator Kerry was influential in investigating the Iran-Contra Scandal and was influential for his examining of issues of terrorism after 9/11. His run for President in 2004 under the Democratic ticket was noted for his campaigning against President George W. Bush’s handling of national security and for his getting the United States involved in the Iraq War.
What’s next for the both of them?
For Kerry he is undoubtedly qualified for the job and will face many controversial issues in world affairs. This includes resolving the implications concerning the US withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan, making sure Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal is kept out of the hands of Islamist terrorists, and potential signing off on or rejecting (hopefully) the US-Canadian Keystone XL pipeline.
For Hillary, lets just say her years as First Lady are probably not the last time she’ll be living in the White House.
But for right now we salute both of them for their service and expect to see great work from them both in the near future.