The Senate yesterday confirmed President Joe Biden’s long-time confidante, Antony Blinken, as US Secretary of State. The 71st Secretary of State is expected to revise the American First doctrine aggressively pushed by the Trump administration, which has been faulted for having weakened international alliances.
Blinken plans to steer the US relationship with the rest of the world in a sharply divergent course from the Trump administration. The US approach will be marked by humility and confidence, Blinken has vowed. However, he told lawmakers that he agreed with many of Trump’s foreign-policy initiatives.
US Senate Confirms Antony Blinken As Secretary Of State
Blinken, 58, who has earlier served as deputy secretary of state and deputy national security adviser in the Obama administration, is expected to be sworn in on Wednesday, according to State Department officials.
Blinken supported the so-called Abraham Accords, which normalized relations between Israel and several Arab states, but favors a tough line on China. It asserts its position in the South China Sea. He is, however, expected to push for Iran’s compliance with the 2015 nuclear deal. Trump had walked away from the deal in 2018 even as his secretaries of state nominees faced opposition from Democrats.
Commentators point out that under Trump, the State Department had suffered considerable loss of prestige with proposed budget cuts of over 30% for three years, which it barely managed to escape. They add that demoralization within the ranks had set in, and many diplomats had opted to retire or leave the foreign service due to perceived devaluation of their expertise.
Blinken is a Harvard University and Columbia Law School graduate and has long experience in shaping foreign policy under the Democratic party. Blinken stands with numerous former senior national security officials who have pushed for a major reinvestment in American diplomacy and greater global involvement.
In the Clinton administration, Blinken served on the National Security Council. He later became staff director for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee when Biden was chair of the panel. The early years of the Obama administration saw Blinken return to the NSC. He was then-Vice President Biden’s national security adviser. He later moved to the State Department to serve as deputy to Secretary of State to John Kerry, who now serves as special envoy for climate change.
Meanwhile, CNN reports quoting “multiple sources” that Blinken is expected to be privy to every major decision made by the President. The deep involvement is rooted in the Biden administration’s belief that foreign policy was closely linked to domestic policy and the need to strengthen democracy at home and reflect their sturdy, comfortable relationship, according to the sources.
CNN quoted an official who is planning to join Blinken’s State Department, as saying that they would continue to nurture their relationship and it would be wide-ranging. He added that they would see each other a lot, and some of it may be over casual dinners at the White House.
According to career diplomats and people close to Blinken’s inner circle, his close relationship with Biden will prove to be instrumental in his efficacy as America’s top diplomat.
CNN quoted former career US diplomat Lew Lukens as saying that the challenge always with the secretary of state and the President was -did the secretary of state really speak for the President. And when he said something, did the foreign government that he was talking to believe that was what the President thought. He added that when Tony Blinken would travel the world, people would know what he said was what Joe Biden believed and thought.
He added that he (Blinken) would speak for the President, and that was incredibly important for a secretary of state. And America had always not had that, he said.