“Can a man actually run the state department?” he said. “I don’t know. As the saying goes, I have big heels to fill.”
The big heels have left behind a mixed legacy for Kerry to match and better. He appears keen to delve into an issue that tried and tested many before him: West Asia.
His first calls, on Saturday, before moving into office, were to the heads of governments in Israel and Palestine.
He also called the foreign ministers of allies Japan and South Korea, frontline states against the US’s chief economic and military rival — China.
There are no indications yet of what kind of a secretary he will be. Also, he has not said anything about India, but some observers have been anxious on due to a US Act bearing his name authorising civilian aid to Pakistan.
But Indian officials were confident that would not impact policy towards India. “We expect continuity,” said an Indian diplomat.