News Desk World

Mon 23 November 2020:

US President-elect Joe Biden will name Antony Blinken, a veteran foreign policy official and longtime confidant, as his secretary of state, according to the New York Times and Washington Post.Bloomberg.

Blinken was previously the deputy secretary of state under former President Barack Obama as well as the deputy national security adviser.

During Biden’s time on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Blinken was his aide and played a central role in crafting US policy in the Middle East.

Blinken, referred to as a centrist, admitted to getting Washington’s policy on Syria wrong during his time under Obama and Biden.

Bloomberg also reported Sunday that Jake Sullivan, formerly one of Hillary Clinton’s closest aides, is likely to be named Biden’s national security adviser, according to two people familiar with the matter.

An announcement is expected Tuesday, the people said.


Biden’s pick of the 58-year-old Blinken could allay fears of Republicans in the Senate, where cabinet picks must be confirmed.

Susan Rice and Chris Coons are two other choices in the mix to become secretary of state.

However, Rice would likely have a difficult time being confirmed by the Senate for her previous actions, including statements she made after the deadly 2012 attacks on Americans in Benghazi, Libya.

But critics say Blinken oversaw a series of disastrous foreign policy decisions from his perch in the Obama administration. 

Biden once credited Blinken with overseeing the 2011 U.S. troop drawdown in Iraq, which became a flashpoint for the Obama administration amid a resurgence of violence and the rise of ISIS in that country. Republicans have also suggested that Blinken helped execute an immoral U.S. policy toward Syria, citing Obama’s reluctance to get involved militarily as Bashar al-Assad murdered his own people.  

“They feel abandoned, and they have every reason to feel abandoned,” the late Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said during Blinken’s 2014 confirmation hearing for the deputy secretary of state position.

A graduate of Harvard University and Columbia Law School and a longtime Democratic foreign policy presence, Blinken has aligned himself with numerous former senior national security officials who have called for a major reinvestment in American diplomacy and renewed emphasis on global engagement.

Blinken is among the people Biden “trusts most” on foreign policy, said Rob Malley, who also worked in the Obama White House and has known Blinken since the early 1970s, when they were both young American boys growing up in Paris. The two even faced off during a high school debate over the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Malley recalled, though he couldn’t remember who won.

Malley, now president of the Crisis Group, and others say Blinken is easygoing and self-effacing despite a high-flying upbringing in New York and Paris. His mother ran a New York dance company, among other positions, and his father, co-founder of a venture capital firm, is a well-known arts patron and served as U.S. ambassador to Hungary in the 1990s.

Blinken’s move to Paris came when he was nine, after his parents divorced and his mother married Samuel Pisar, a Holocaust survivor who became an accomplished lawyer, representing Hollywood stars and corporate executives, and who also advised presidents on both sides of the Atlantic.  

The appointments of Blinken and Sullivan signal that Biden wants  seasoned and sympatico hands as his top diplomats. Biden has made sweeping foreign policy promises – from repairing America’s frayed alliances to reviving the Iran nuclear deal  – and he has linked the dual domestic crises of COVID-19 and the sputtering economy to re-engaging on the world stage.




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