US president Barack Obama on Friday has announced the nomination of US Senator John Kerry to replace Hillary Clinton as secretary of state, calling him the “perfect choice” to guide American diplomacy in the years ahead.
“In a sense, John’s entire life has prepared him for this role. Having served with valour in Vietnam, he understands that we have a responsibility to use American power wisely,” he said.
Kerry has a record on Latin America — a substantial one. You will recall the 1980s, and that decade’s fierce debates over Central America policy. At the heart of these debates was Nicaragua: the Sandinistas, Castro, and the Soviet Union versus the Contras and the United States (or rather, not all of the United States: the Reagan administration, in particular). Kerry was an important player in all this. He was part of a group derided by Republicans as “‘Dear Comandante’ Democrats,” for they would address letters to Daniel Ortega, the Sandinista No. 1, “Dear Comandante.” (“But that’s his title,” they would plead, not unreasonably.) This group included such House members as Mike Barnes and Pete Kostmayer, and such senators as Chris Dodd and Tom Harkin — and John Kerry.
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We’re in the best of hands…