Everyone expects members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to quiz a candidate for Secretary of State on mattters of diplomacy and war. Earlier today, John Kerry added the oft-missing economics ingredient to the mix:
Senator John Kerry said at his confirmation hearing for the post of secretary of state on Thursday that the top priority of the United States should be getting its fiscal house in order.
“Foreign policy is economic policy,” he said. “It is urgent that we show people in the rest of the world that we can get our business done in an effective and timely way.”
A day after Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton jousted with Republican members of the panel, Mr. Kerry received a generally friendly reception from the committee he led for the past four years.
And while diplomacy will be job one for Kerry, he had tough words for Iran:
[D]uring his Senate confirmation hearing Thursday, the Massachusetts Democrat said that he agreed with Mr. Obama on using all means to deny Iran a nuclear weapon, including employing more economic sanctions and, potentially, military force.
Mr. Kerry also underscored the “very real” threat posed to the U.S. by the increasing strength of al Qaeda and Islamist militias based in North Africa. And he said Syria’s civil war could fuel a broader sectarian conflict in the Middle East, though he was careful not to commit the White House to any military action to try to forge peace in the country.