Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), who was nominated by President Barack Obama as the next secretary of state, testified during his Senate confirmation hearing Thursday, and it is widely expected that he will be nominated.
Kerry’s statement focused mainly on how U.S. foreign policy is deeply intertwined with economic policy, saying that military strength alone will not define foreign policy.
“Every day that goes by where America is uncertain about engaging in that arena, unwilling to put our best foot forward and win, unwilling to demonstrate our resolve to lead, is a day in which we weaken our nation itself,” he said, according to a transcript of his prepared statement.
The Republicans on the panel at the hearing praised Kerry on Thursday, saying that the nominee “almost lived his entire life for this moment,” reported ABC News. Kerry served on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for nearly 30 years and is viewed as someone who could bring a vast array of experience to the secretary of state position.
“American foreign policy is not defined by drones and deployments alone,” Kerry said. “We cannot allow the extraordinary good we do to save and change lives to be eclipsed entirely by the role we have had to play since Sept. 11, a role that was thrust upon us.”
Kerry, a veteran and a Democratic lawmaker from Massachusetts, touched on Iran—primarily its controversial nuclear program—and Syria, where a civil war has raged on for nearly two years and has claimed the lives of an estimated 60,000 people.
“Every day that goes by gets worse,” Kerry said, according to the Boston Globe. He was referring to the conflict in Syria in response to statements made by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who called for a military intervention in the country.
“Whatever judgments you make, they have to pass the test of whether they’re actually going to make things better,” he said. “They have to pass a test of cost-benefit, including human cost.”
Current Secretary of State Hillary Clinton endorsed Kerry for the position in front of the committee. She is stepping down after serving a four-year term.
While he did not outline a tangible plan for the next four years, Kerry stressed that the United States’s role as a worldwide leader is key.
“I believe just as deeply that global leadership is a strategic imperative for America, not a favor we do for other countries,” Kerry said. “It amplifies our voice and extends our reach. It’s the key to jobs, the fulcrum of our influence, and it matters—it really matters to the daily lives of Americans.”
The vote for his confirmation is expected to be held next week in the Senate.
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