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Kerry, a Vietnam veteran and later anti-war demonstrator, was the Democratic nominee for president in 2004. He has led the Foreign Relations panel for the last four years, and he has already served as an emissary for the administration on diplomatic missions to such global hot spots as Afghanistan and Pakistan.
During his confirmation hearing last week, Kerry voiced support for Obama’s scaled-back plans for his administration’s diplomatic presence and assistance levels in Afghanistan after 2014, when all NATO combat troops are scheduled to depart. Kerry also said he backs the president’s cautious approach in Syria, advocating a political solution to the conflict there that would ease President Bashar al-Assad from power without plunging the country into sectarian violence.
Kerry also assured lawmakers that the administration’s policy on countering a nuclear Iran “is not containment” but prevention, and he pushed for policies to counter global warming and to restore the nation’s fiscal footing as a means of bolstering U.S. leadership abroad.
Emily Cadei and Joshua Miller contributed to this report.