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Siglo 21, Guatemala

No Changes Expected in
American Foreign Policy

By Editorial

Like Clinton, Kerry, who was a presidential candidate in 2004, is an important Democratic leader; continuity in foreign policy is expected, with few significant changes.

Translated By Sara Hunter

23 December 2012

Edited by Gillian Palmer

Guatemala - Siglo 21 - Original Article (Spanish)

The president of the United States, Barack Obama, announced two days ago the appointment of Senator John Kerry to replace Secretary of State Hillary Clinton after her nationally and internationally recognized successful term, which primarily focused on the conflicts in the Middle East.

The announcement did not surprise North American analysts: Kerry has been a member of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations for almost three decades, which has given him the qualifications and knowledge necessary to fill the most important office in the Cabinet.

Like Clinton, Kerry, who was a presidential candidate in 2004, is an important Democratic leader; continuity in foreign policy is expected, with few significant changes. Some changes may be characterized by his personality though, which is perhaps less dynamic than that of his predecessor, who immediately assumed the challenges presented in the middle of a crisis.

Kerry’s foreign policy as a senator has mostly been defined by his support of the foreign policy of the White House during his almost three decades on the Committee on Foreign Relations. This is because he knows the importance of conveying to the rest of the world that internal unity exists in the United States with regard to the way it conducts its interventions in the world.

Few changes concerning Latin America are expected. Although it is true that Kerry is one of the senators who has visited with the most world leaders, the majority of them are or were leaders in the Middle East, Europe and Asia, the zones to which the United States pays the most attention.

The challenges facing the new secretary of state, who will take office in January, are the same that have completely consumed the attention of American foreign policy: the tense relations between Israel and the Arab countries, the presence of American troops in the Middle East, the constant threat of North Korea and the maintenance of ties with its important allies in Europe and Asia. These are some of the security topics that will take priority on the new secretary of state’s agenda.

President Obama has publicly spoken against war, but he has also spoken of maintaining the leadership and military strength of the country as a form of promoting world peace, a discourse that has been repeated by many Republican and Democratic presidents.

We must also remember that this is Obama’s second term, so he is expected to produce a smooth continuity without major changes in his vision on Latin America, Europe, Asia, Africa or the Middle East. Kerry provides this continuity and stability in North American foreign policy.

In the case of Guatemala, these relations are of little importance; certainly the most important topics remain immigration and narcotic trafficking, two permanent concerns that can be worked on in tandem. We are therefore faced with change without a change in direction.



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