After participating in today's roxors-suxors battle over drones/idiotic cartoons on the front page, I got to thinking: why does Hillary Clinton so rarely show up in these conversations? After all, she's America's chief diplomat and a strong supporter of the administration's drone policy. Apparently, she and Leon Panetta were also primarily responsible for convincing Obama to authorize the killing of Anwar al-Awlaki, against the advice of Eric Holder. I don't mean to bash Sec. Clinton; in fact, I think she's been excellent in her role as Secretary of State and would make a fine president as well. But it did make me wonder about her potential successors. After all, she's said that if Obama wins a second term, she does not plan on sticking around. So who will Obama replace her with? More below the squiggle.
First thing's first: I don't mean to suggest in any way that Obama has the election wrapped up. It looks instead like we're in for a helluva fight this fall. This diary's purely based on speculation, and I encourage any readers to give their opinions on who Obama should appoint to the position should he win a second term.
Most reports I've read on the matter list three names as part of the short list: John Kerry, Susan Rice, and Thomas Donilan. By most accounts, Kerry is the frontrunner. This makes sense, as he is as well-versed in foreign policy as anyone in the Senate, is a known quantity, and has the affable, worldly disposition desirable for such a job. The Obama administration also seems to believe that he would not meddle in policy, as Rice may be prone to do.
Rice is my personal favorite of the group. Her outspoken support for intervention in Libya won over Clinton and eventually Obama, but that's only one of her many accomplishments in her short tenure as ambassador to the UN. She has helped reform the UN Council on Human Rights to the point that it has begun to condemn actual human rights violators (!). This may seem like a hollow victory; after all, who cares how some UN council votes when they're being slaughtered in the streets? But it's all part of a reversal of the Bush-Bolton years, where we essentially chose to ignore the council entirely out of protest. This strategy was foolish and counterproductive, as both Obama and Rice recognized, and we are now trying to reform the council from within, with some tentative success.
Obviously, there's still work to do on this matter. Rice did not mince words in her criticisms of China and Russia for their continued support of the Assad regime in Syria. Reportedly, she's also one of the leading voices in the Obama administration for arming Syrian rebels. This kind of proactive, multilateral approach to foreign policy is the best way for the US to protect its interests and rebuild its image, imo, and Susan Rice has been one of its leading advocates.
Finally, there's Donilan. He would be a safe pick, one that wouldn't ruffle any feathers. While he wouldn't make a splash or excite anyone, he is considered the level-headed, elder statesman of the bunch. I apologize for not going further into his qualifications, but I must admit that I would be slightly disappointed if he were to be chosen for SoS. I would vastly prefer Kerry or Rice.
So have at it. Am I wrong in supporting Rice or dismissing Donilan? Is there anyone I left off the list? Was this whole diary a waste of time? Let me know!