Thursday, January 31, 2013

Wishes And Opportunities

New opportunities often look different before and after you take them on.

Over the years, our staff members have had many different employment opportunities. Some we'd categorize as WYSIWYG - What You See Is What You Get - some have been better than they initially appeared, and some have been what at least one of our staffers calls a "farbut" opportunity.

For the record, a 'farbut' opportunity is one that looks good from afar, but it's far from good.

Today, there is at least one opportunity we're very happy not to have presented to any of us, the job of U.S. Secretary of State, which John Kerry will officially begin when he is sworn in on Friday.

Senator Kerry, currently of Massachusetts, will be touring his homestate today one final time, in a dual capacity - both as a farewell tour to his constituents and as a kind of warmup tour for what will be the many, many, many miles that he'll travel as U.S. Secretary of State.

While Kerry has long coveted the position, when we look at the challenges facing him, we can't help but wonder if Mr. Kerry is also wondering if this was a farbut opportunity for him.

To start with, America's strongest ally in the Middle East, Egypt, is still going through some unstable growing pains. One of America's other long-time Middle East allies, Israel, appears to have just chosen to pick a fight with it's neighbors in both Lebanon and Syria.

Speaking of Syria, that nation has been embroiled in civil war for two years, and it's also upsetting its neighbors with a seemingly ever-growing wave of escaping refugees, and a bleak outlook for peace anytime soon.

Dealing with nations like these in the Middle East is only one facet of the Secretary of State's job.

Secretary Kerry will also have to deal with less-than-stable future relations in Iran and Argentina, an unpredictable North Korea, a growing China, and a European Union still deeply wounded economically by rampant austerity.

Kerry will also have to deal, back in Washington, with his former colleagues in Congress, some of whom seem intent on letting the brutal and inefficient budget cuts of the Sequester take effect. If that damaging Republican-championed austerity does take effect, you can be sure Secretary Kerry's former colleagues will attack him for not fixing the problems at State that their deep budget cuts will cause.

Still, as many on Capitol Hill have known for years, John Kerry has been wishing for the opportunity to be Secretary of State - and now his wish has finally come true.

All we can say is, be careful what you wish for.

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