- Elton John blasts Russia’s anti-gay laws during Moscow concert
- U.N.: Afghanistan slow to enforce law protecting women
- Heart cancels SeaWorld concert after ‘Blackfish’ documentary
- South Carolina sheriff refuses to lower American flag for Nelson Mandela
- South Africans hold day of prayer for Nelson Mandela
- Mandela not on life support in final hours, friend says
- Ukraine protesters topple, decapitate Lenin statue in Kiev
- Kim Jong-un’s uncle removed from North Korean state documentary
- Thailand crisis deepens as opposition quits Parliament
- Campbell Soup apologizes for SpaghettiOs’ Pearl Harbor tweet
Obama win doesn’t change Hillary Clinton’s plans to step down
Speculation is surging through foreign policy circles over how quickly the Obama administration will move to nominate a successor, with Sen. John F. Kerry, Massachusetts Democrat, and Susan Rice, the current ambassador to the United Nations, believed to be on the short list.
But the potential downside of picking Ms. Rice or Mr. Kerry — either choice could create thorny political problems for the administration — has some wondering whether the White House might consider capitalizing upon the moment by offering a Cabinet-level olive branch to Republicans.
Names bandied about Wednesday included former Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel, who presently is chairman of President Obama's Intelligence Advisory Board, and Sen. Richard G. Lugar, Indiana Republican and former chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, who lost his party’s primary for re-election earlier this year.
“It’s an out-of-the-box suggestion, but it would capture the desire for bipartisanship and that is to ask the outgoing senior senator from Indiana to be secretary of state,” said Karl F. Inderfurth, a senior adviser at the Center for Strategic International Studies.
“I think the administration will look to incorporate centrist Republicans,” added H. Andrew Schwartz, a senior vice president at the center, who said that might mean taking “a close look at Chuck Hagel both for secretary of state and for secretary of defense.”
The challenge of replacing Mrs. Clinton, popular among foreign dignitaries and people in their nations, is likely to prove among the most difficult issue facing the Obama administration going into the second term.
Mr. Kerry, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, appeared to be the administration’s most likely choice. But it now remains to be seen whether the Democratic Party will accept his departure from the Senate.
The Democrats could retain their majority in the Senate even if they lost Mr. Kerry’s seat. But some in the party may still resist, since the subsequent shock-election would create an immediate opening for Massachusetts Republican Sen. Scott P. Brown, who lost his own seat on Tuesday.
Ms. Rice, meanwhile, has faced a rash of criticism from Republicans over statements she made following the Sept. 11 killing of American Ambassador J. Christopher Stephens in Libya. It remains to be seen whether the administration has the stomach for the grueling confirmation hearing she is likely to face if nominated to replace Mrs. Clinton.
More than any political calculation, however, Mr. Schwartz said the White House is likely to weigh the secretary of state nomination very carefully to avoid sacrificing the successes it has achieved in foreign policy over the past four years. That could mean a much slower transition process than State Department officials are suggesting.
“I think the administration has accomplished a lot,” he said. “They’ve gone a long way to restoring America’s dignity internationally and it’s extremely important that there’s a smooth transition.”
“So I don’t think anybody’s going to be in a rush to make that happen.”
Such factors could play into Mr. Lugar’s possible rise on the short list.
“He is obviously a person of great stature and respected by both parties and has established in the past a close relationship with then-Senator Obama,” Mr. Inderfurth said. “They both worked together on the so-called Nunn-Lugar cooperative threat reduction programs. They traveled together.”
While tapping Mr. Lugar would be “quite a statement,” Mr. Inderfurth said the president set such a precedent when he kept Republican-appointed former Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates at the Pentagon well into the administration’s first term.
“Lugar, if you will, is the foreign policy equivalent of the national security specialist Robert Gates,” he said.
© Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Guy Taylor rejoined The Washington Times in 2011 as the State Department correspondent.
As a freelance journalist, Taylor’s work was supported by the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting and the Fund For Investigative Journalism, and his stories appeared in a variety publications, from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch to Salon, Reason, Prospect Magazine of London, the Daily Star of Beirut, the ...
- Lawmakers see 'false narrative' of Obama as a terrorist fighter
- U.S., Chinese diplomats talk air defense zone ahead of Biden visit
- State mulling whether to invite Iran to upcoming Syria talks
- Election strengthens Honduran military's hand
- U.S. B-52 bombers buzz China's expanded airspace as dispute with Japan escalates
Latest Blog Entries
By Brahma Chellaney
Beijing's creeping aggression signals a challenge to U.S. presence in the Asian Pacific
- CURL: Obama tells a whopper on IRS scandal
- CHELLANEY: China's game of chicken
- Sen. Rand Paul pushes 'economic freedom zones' for Detroit
- Obamas call to close Vatican embassy is 'slap in the face' to Roman Catholics
- Bill OReilly reminds: Nelson Mandela was a communist
- Russian lawmaker wants to outlaw U.S. dollar, calls it a Ponzi scheme
- 'Dude, I'm dreading that I will have to go': Czech prime minister on Mandela funeral
- New Internet security challenge arises for cybercops
- Wife of Obama aide found dead in burning car in home's garage
- Congress creates a legislative fortress for military sex-assault policy
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Film Reviews and Articles by Kevin Williams
Let it snow
White House pets gone wild!