Diplomatic Correspondent Anne Gearan Assesses Secretary Kerry's First Year in Office

| Feb. 25, 2014

Speaking as a guest of the Future of Diplomacy Project’s Women and International Reporting series, Anne Gearan, Diplomatic Correspondent from The Washington Post led a discussion on U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry's first 365 days in office.

Since taking office on February 4, 2013, Secretary Kerry had logged 759.5 hours or 31.5 days in the air, traveling 349,317 miles, spending a total of 162 days outside of Foggy Bottom, the State Department’s headquarters in Washington D.C.  During this time, Secretary Kerry had focused on three main initiatives: The Israeli and Palestinian peace process, forging a nuclear accord with Iran, and creating a chemical weapons deal with Syria. “Advancing peace in the Middle East is his personal priority,” she added.

In keeping with the culture of the U.S. Senate, where the press enjoy liberties and access uncommon to other parts of the legislature, Ms. Gearan commented that Secretary Kerry had been “pretty open” and accustomed to speaking to and availing himself to reporters.   Recalling several accounts, Secretary Kerry would sometimes walk towards the rear of his plane, pass the “line of death” and engage reporters in conversation.

Gearan said Secretary Kerry’s style as a diplomat had elements of tending the diplomatic garden- a phrase coined by Secretary of State George P. Schultz to describe consistent, diplomatic efforts. Secretary Kerry had visited areas not in crisis and forgedor deepened existing personal relationships with international interlocutors, while never losing the air of “dealmaker in chief.”  Senator Kerry’s three decades as a politician had prepared him for the daily work of international negotiation, where he “was always trying to get another wingman” or another foreign secretary on his side, believing that " a little personal diplomacy could go a long way."  Ms. Gearan concluded that Secretary Kerry largely had a positive time in office to date.  “He didn’t have a big success or a big failure.  That means he had a good year.”

For more information on this publication: Please contact Future of Diplomacy Project
For Academic Citation: Clüver Ashbrook, Cathryn. “Diplomatic Correspondent Anne Gearan Assesses Secretary Kerry's First Year in Office.” , February 25, 2014.

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