John Kerry presses US secretary of state case with Senate committee

PUBLISHED : Friday, 25 January, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 25 January, 2013, 3:04am


American foreign policy is more than just drones and troops, Senator John Kerry pledged yesterday, as he outlined to US lawmakers his priorities if they back him as the next secretary of state.

"American foreign policy is not defined by drones and deployments alone," the former presidential candidate told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, of which he has been a member for 29 years and has also served as chairman.

"American foreign policy is also defined by food security and energy security, humanitarian assistance, the fight against disease and the push for development, as much as it is by any single counterterrorism initiative," Kerry added.

The Democrat has built an impressive résumé as an elder statesman in the US Senate, but failed in 2004 in his attempt to win election to the White House.

The decorated Vietnam veteran turned anti-war activist failed to unseat George W.Bush as president after running a lacklustre campaign in which he was bombarded by dubious ads attacking his military service. But as a top senator specialising in foreign affairs, he has sat down with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, soothed nerves in Pakistan and visited the Gaza Strip, winning the respect of Democrats and Republicans alike.

In nominating him, US President Barack Obama praised Kerry's record on foreign affairs.

"He is not going to need a lot of on-the-job training," Obama said last month, as Kerry stood next to him at the White House.