Since the withdrawal of Susan Rice for consideration of the position of secretary of state, the nomination of the Chairman of the Senate Foreign Policy Committee, John Kerry, was just a matter of days. If the nomination of a more consensual candidate than Susan Rice will please many in the United States, John Kerry’s nomination should be happily received in tumultuous Europe.
Shortly after the official nomination of Mr. Kerry, the French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius issued a statement congratulating him for his nomination and highlighting Mr. Kerry’s “personal attachment to the US-France friendship.”
France will, of course, more than welcome a new Secretary of State whose mother was born in France, who spent his childhood summers in Brittany and who is fluent in French. His anti-war tendency and his limited support to the war in Iraq also justify his popularity in a country which would have overwhelmingly voted for him in 2004.
It is not only France, but Europe in general, that would welcome a more pro-Europe Secretary of State. Despite Europe’s love for President Obama, the last 4 years have not been a smooth ride; European countries have often felt thrown to the wayside as a secondary thought in the president’s agenda.
With the United States’ continuous interest in the Middle East and its new focus on the Pacific, Europe, and its internal crisis did not seem to warrant priority interest.
During Hilary Clinton’s last visit to Europe as the Secretary of State, she tried to reassure Europeans of the American alliance: “Let me be clear: Our pivot to Asia is not a pivot away from Europe,” she said. “On the contrary, we want Europe to engage more in Asia, along with us to see the region not only as a market, but as a focus of common strategic engagement.”
Her work over last four years has warmed the transatlantic relations, and successful cooperations have been achieved, such as the joint operation in Libya or the efforts to impose sanctions on Iran. Nevertheless, European countries will welcome the nomination of John Kerry, who might be able to balance President Obama’s foreign policy views.