Kerry to dispel 'myth' of US withdrawal from world affairs

Secretary of State John Kerry will seek to dispel the “myth” that the United States is disengaging from world affairs during his speech Friday at the World Economic Forum in Davos, according to the State Department.

Kerry, the top official representing the Obama administration at the global conclave, will address persistent concerns the United States has taken a backseat in dealing with the turmoil in the Middle East, notably in Syria and Egypt, where Republicans accuse Obama of "leading from behind."

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He "will make the argument that the myth of disengagement — and particularly the notion that the United States is pulling back from the Middle East — is not only false, but flies in the face of several major diplomatic initiatives in the region,” a senior State Department official told reporters. These include “our efforts to address our concerns over Iran’s nuclear issue, pursue Israeli–Palestinian peace, promote a peaceful resolution to the crisis in Syria, and strengthen our partners who are on the front lines in the fight against al-Qaida and its affiliates.”

Kerry will specifically reiterate the administration's “commitment to engagement in every region of the world and our commitment to diplomacy as a first resort.” Several U.S. allies, notably Israel and Saudi Arabia, have raised concerns with Obama's diplomatic overtures with Iran.

Other administration officials in attendance include Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker, U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman and U.S. Agency for International Development head Rajiv Shah. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) is leading a House Republican delegation that includes Reps. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.), Kay Granger (R-Texas), Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) and Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.). Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) are also expected to attend.

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