News Release

Clinton and Kerry

John Kerry is being sworn in as Secretary of State this afternoon, taking over from Hillary Clinton.

STEPHEN ZUNES, [email]
Professor of politics and chair of Middle Eastern Studies at the University of San Francisco, Zunes recently wrote the piece “The Case Against Kerry.” He said today in assessing Hillary Clinton’s foreign policy: “It is not unusual for a president to want to be his own secretary of state, but rarely has a secretary so badly wanted to be her own president. Unlike most administrations — in which the State Department would sometimes challenge the hawks in the National Security Council — it has been the other way around under Obama, as the NSC was forced to play the moderating voice to the hawkish Secretary of State Clinton and her appointees. Clinton pushed for stronger U.S. support for pro-Western dictators in Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, and Bahrain, as well as the Moroccan occupation of Western Sahara. She successfully convinced the initially critical White House to support the right-wing golpistas in Honduras who ousted that country’s democratically-elected government in 2009. She was a major proponent of NATO’s military intervention in Libya’s civil war and has encouraged a more active U.S. role in the Syrian conflict. …

“Clinton came to the State Department with a penchant for military solutions to complex political problems and a propensity to exaggerate alleged threats against the United States and its allies. As a senator, she had supported the invasion and occupation of Iraq, attacked the United Nations, opposed restrictions on land mines and cluster bombs, defended war crimes by allied right-wing governments, and largely embraced Bush’s unilateralist agenda. While she moderated her positions somewhat once she became Secretary of State, Clinton was one of the administration’s more hawkish voices.”