Scholars rank John Kerry as worst secretary of state

Foreign Policy magazine designates Secretary of State John Kerry the least effective person to hold the post in fifty years.

The poll, conducted by the Teaching, Research and International Policy Project (TRIP) at the College of William and Mary, was published in Foreign Policy magazine and included the judgments tendered by 660 scholars.  When asked:  “Who was the most effective U.S. Secretary of State of the past 50 years,” Kerry ranked dead last.

Of the fifteen men and women who have served since 1965, Kerry pulled up the rear with only two of the 660 scholars ranking him the most effective.  Dr. Henry Kissinger, Secretary of State during the Nixon and Ford administrations, took the trophy home with a 32.21 percent of the tally.

While Kissinger’s high rank does not strain credulity, he is a man of rare diplomatic gifts, there is a peril of modern democracy where many believe appointed officials are capable of re-making the world and halting the rise of the oceans.  Despite a tenure devoid of imperious boasts but filled with hollow incantation, Kerry may eventually become something of a sympathetic figure:  He is, like Kissinger, serving at a moment where the world is embroiled in conflict.  If Kissinger survived to see his reputation burnished, Kerry may well be able to rehabilitate his period at State.


[International Business Times]


  1. Michael Bernard
    Michael Bernard

    I liked Kerry in 2004, and can imagine that he would be a good SOS in the right circumstances….It is unclear to me now whether we are in the right timeframe for his possible skills to be most effective.

    In the end the Secretary of State is only as powerful as the portfolio mandate given to them by the Executive Office. If Kerry is muzzled then there is not a lot he can do on his own.

    The days of of Kissinger are gone. Unfortunately, I would say, from my point of view. As a kid growing up I had to do a whole course on the “Kissinger Way”. It has informed my approach to leadership and diplomacy for 20 years now, for better or worse.

    Foggy Bottom is too tied to their mandate from the White House. This does not allow for individualized success in what is otherwise a “coalition of interests”.

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