If the Kremlin has any influence in White House affairs, it would like Massachusetts Senator and Senate Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman John Kerry to replace Hilary Clinton as secretary of state next year in favor of another likely candidate, U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice.
A source in Russia's foreign ministry told the Kommersant business newspaper that Moscow would "much prefer" to see Kerry take the key job, citing that Russian diplomats view Rice as "too ambitious and aggressive.”
"It would be more difficult for Moscow to work with Washington" if Rice became secretary of state, the official said.
Indeed, Rice took a strident tone against Russia over its support of Syrian strongman Bashar al-Assad.
The foreign ministry source added that it feared Obama may not choose Kerry since that could mean reducing the number of Democrats in the U.S. Senate.
Well before Barack Obama secured a second term as U.S. president, Clinton said she would step down, raising speculation as to the identity of her successor.
According to a report in the Voice of Russia, Cliff Schecter, the author of the book “The Real McCain,” Kerry will indeed be named the next secretary of state.
Schecter also said he believed Obama might include former Republican Sen. Dick Lugar to join his foreign policy team.
Tellingly, in July of this year, Kerry, along with Democratic Sen. Max Baucus penned a column in Politico in which they called for stronger economic ties with Russia, in connection with Moscow joining the World Trade Organization.
“For U.S. businesses to take advantage of this opportunity to increase exports and create jobs our economy needs, Congress must establish permanent normal trade relations, or PNTR, with Russia,” they wrote.
“The upside of this policy is clear on an international economic landscape that rarely offers this kind of one-sided trade deal — one promising billions of dollars in new U.S. exports and thousands of new jobs in America. Russia is the world’s seventh-largest economy. When it officially joins the WTO, it will lower tariffs and welcome new imports. That sudden jump in market access will be a windfall for the first ones through the doors.”
Kerry lost the 2004 U.S. presidential race to George W. Bush.
Palash has worked as a business journalist for 21 years in New York.