Views on John Kerry’s nomination as the US Secretary of State
By Atif Shamim
From Pakistan’s perspective, Mr. Kerry’s appointment is a positive step towards
the improvement of Pak – US relationship which has considerably deteriorated
during the past few years. The bone of contention is Afghanistan where Pakistan
and the United States are facing acute conflicts of interests, and where both
accuse each other of betrayal and back stabbing. America’s ties with India are
also improving -a persistent
trend that Pakistan does not regard favorably. Keeping in view India’s
old-school bureaucracy and the dynamics of its internal politics, it seems very
unlikely that the two countries will ever be able to forge a long-term strategic
affiliation. However, the changing dynamics of the region requires some serious
diplomacy on Pakistan’s part.
There is no likelihood of Mr. Kerry setting his own diplomatic agenda. Nor will he be able to make any fundamental changes in the US foreign policy towards the Arab – Israeli conflict or the nuclear stand-off with Iran. Mr. Kerry, however, enjoys good personal relations with the Israeli Prime and also takes keen interest in the Middle East peace process. This can prove very beneficial in managing the recent turmoil in the region. Moreover, he can also play a pivotal role in any future negotiations with North Korea.
There are also expectations that Mr. Kerry will address the issue of global climate change since he has a long association with this cause. He has taken part in seven international gatherings on climate change during the past two decades and has remained committed to the cause despite a failed effort to enact domestic climate change legislation in the senate two years ago.
On the flip side, Mr. Kerry is regarded by some as an opportunist who does not hesitate from shifting his positions. He has also been
accused of being a flip-flopper who takes his cues from, and changes his course which way the political wind is blowing. For example, in 1990, when Saddam Hussein attacked Kuwait, Mr. Kerry opposed going to war with him invoking the gruesome prospect of another Vietnam. Later, however, he voted in favor of using force to topple Saddam Hussein’s regime in 2002 because, at that time, he was planning to run for the presidency. Later again, he was subjected to more criticism when he voted against funding for the war.
As for Senator John Kerry; he may, in the days to come, become frustrated upon realizing that he, as the US secretary of State, has even less influence than he had as a US Senator.
Atif Shamim Syed is an Investment Banker and has been writing articles for several newspapers and magazines. He writes on current events in Urdu and has published several of his works. Apart from Urdu, Syed speaks English, French, Arabic and Gujraati. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.