What is it like to be the current top diplomat of the United States? Get to know the Sec State in a new David Remnick profile, a job where John Kerry is “duty-bound to describe reality in upholstered platitudes”:
His admirers and his critics in the diplomatic world describe Kerry in similar terms: tirelessly optimistic, dogged, rhetorically undisciplined, undaunted by risk, convinced that if he can just get “the relevant parties” into “the room” he can make a deal. “John Kerry picks his battles, and he invests body and soul in tackling conflicts where the human consequences are very high,” Samantha Power, the United States Ambassador to the United Nations, told me. “When he engages, he is all in.”
Kerry has shown repeatedly that he will use any lever as a means of diplomatic persuasion—including his defeat in 2004.
That sounds great, and Kerry even does his own country research?
When he’s on one of his diplomatic “death marches” through some rarely visited region—recently, it was five Central Asian nations in two days—he likes to bone up with a “crash course.”
“I usually Google a country, find an interesting article or two, read about it, get some history,” he told me. “I want to know where I am. I want to know what made this place like it is. What is it about Samarkand that’s special?”