Kerry in Spotlight; Hot Issues Remain for Next Secretary of State

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Last week, embattled U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice took herself out of the running for Secretary of State as Hillary Clinton’s successor. It did not take long for the rumor mill to pick up that President Obama is leaning toward Senator John Kerry (D-MA) for the post.

Though Rice did not acknowledge any misjudgment as far as the Benghazi affair is concerned, she did show a sense of realism when she cited “urgent national priorities—creating jobs, growing our economy, addressing our deficit, reforming our immigration system and protecting our national security” as issues that an ugly confirmation battle would distract from.

The successor to Hillary Clinton will face a long list of pressing foreign policy issues:
•Iran’s uranium enrichment efforts. Tehran is now closer to obtaining a nuclear weapon than it was four years ago. It also continues to support terrorism and abuse the human rights of its own people.
•The civil war in Syria. The U.S. should accelerate the fall of the Assad regime and help shape a stable post-Assad Syria that poses no threat to its neighbors.

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