Does Kerry deserve these early kudos? Time will tell–but it does appear that he has accomplished a great deal in a short amount of time–leading to a great deal of breathless “what if’s” as journalists are want to do:
Through persistence, energy, deep knowledge and dumb luck, he has joined with the Russians to make Syria turn over its chemical weapons, persuaded the Israelis and Palestinians to start talking, and was a central player in the interim agreement on nuclear weapons with Iran. All of these accomplishments could yet unravel, but they are substantial.
In August, Nicholas Burns offered a “six-month report card” (and Q&A on the topic) where he noted an early assessment on what we now see to be his own style–creating momentum in theMiddle East, pushing diplomacy to the level of strategy, and engaging Iran. Kerry appears to be following coaching from former diplomatic stars George Schultz of the Reagan Administration and George Mitchell of the Northern Ireland peace accords.