Bermuda Post

Wednesday, Dec 02, 2020

President-elect Joe Biden is expected to nominate Antony Blinken, a defender of global alliances and a close adviser, as secretary of state.
Biden Chooses Antony Blinken, Defender of Global Alliances, as Secretary of State.

Formerly the State Department’s No. 2, Mr. Blinken is expected to try to re-establish the United States as a trusted ally ready to rejoin global agreements and court multilateral efforts to confront China.

Antony J. Blinken, a defender of global alliances and one of President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s closest foreign policy advisers, is expected to be nominated for secretary of state, a job in which he will attempt to coalesce skeptical international partners into a new competition with China, according to people close to the process.

Mr. Blinken, 58, a former deputy secretary of state under President Barack Obama, began his career at the State Department during the Clinton administration. His extensive foreign policy credentials are expected to help calm American diplomats and global leaders alike after four years of the Trump administration’s ricocheting strategies and nationalist swaggering.

Mr. Biden plans to announce Mr. Blinken’s nomination even as President Trump continues his ineffectual push to overturn the election. A growing number of Republicans are calling on Mr. Trump to concede and begin the official transition process.

Mr. Blinken has been at Mr. Biden’s side for nearly 20 years, including as his top aide on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and later as Mr. Biden’s national security adviser when he was vice president. In that role, Mr. Blinken helped develop the American response to political upheaval and ensuing instability across the Middle East, with mixed results in Egypt, Iraq, Syria and Libya.

But chief among his new priorities will be to re-establish the United States as a trusted ally that is ready to rejoin global agreements and institutions — including the Paris climate accord, the Iran nuclear deal and the World Health Organization — that were jettisoned by President Trump.

“Simply put, the big problems that we face as a country and as a planet, whether it’s climate change, whether it’s a pandemic, whether it’s the spread of bad weapons — to state the obvious, none of these have unilateral solutions,” Mr. Blinken said this past summer. “Even a country as powerful as the United States can’t handle them alone.”

Working with other countries, Mr. Blinken said in the same July forum at the Hudson Institute, could have the added benefit of confronting another top diplomatic challenge: competing with China by choosing multilateral efforts to advance trade, technology investments and human rights — instead of forcing individual nations to choose between the two superpowers’ economies.

That likely means diplomatic time spent forging stronger ties with India and across the Indo-Pacific region, where 14 nations recently signed one of the world’s largest free trade agreements with China. It could also bring an effort to deepen engagement across Africa, where China has made inroads with technology and infrastructure investments, and recognize Europe as a partner of “first resort, not last resort, when it comes to contending with the challenges we face,” he said at the Hudson Institute.

In public statements and interviews in recent weeks, Mr. Blinken has made no secret of other aspects of Mr. Biden’s — and his own — agenda for the first weeks of the new presidency.
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