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Biden chooses global alliances advocate Antony Blinken as secretary of state

WASHINGTON – Antony J. Blinken, an advocate for global alliances and one of President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s closest foreign policy advisers, is expected to be appointed Secretary of State, a post in which he will attempt to merge international partners skeptics in a new competition with China, according to people familiar with the process.

Mr. Blinken, 58, former Deputy Secretary of State to President Barack Obama and a guitar lover, began his career in the State Department during the Clinton administration. His extensive foreign policy credentials should help calm U.S. diplomats and world leaders after four years of the Trump administration’s nationalist ripple strategies and bluster.

He has been with Mr Biden for almost 20 years, most notably as a senior aide to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and later as Mr Biden’s national security adviser when he was vice president . In this role, Mr. Blinken helped shape the US response to the political upheaval and resulting instability in the Middle East, with mixed results in Egypt, Iraq, Syria and Libya.

But the main of his new priorities will be to re-establish the United States as a trusted ally ready to join global agreements and institutions – including the Paris climate agreement, the Iran nuclear deal and the ‘World Health Organization – which were abandoned by the president. Asset.

“Simply put, the big issues we face as a country and as a planet, be it climate change, a pandemic, the spread of bad weapons – to put it bluntly, none of them have unilateral solutions, “said Mr.” Blinken said last summer. “Even a country as powerful as the United States cannot run them alone.”

Working with other countries, Blinken said at the same July forum at the Hudson Institute, could have the added benefit of facing another major diplomatic challenge: competing with China by choosing multilateral efforts for advance trade, technology investment and human rights – instead of forcing individual nations to choose between the economies of the two superpowers.

This likely means diplomatic time spent forging stronger ties with India and the Indo-Pacific region, where 14 countries 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 investments in technology and infrastructure, and recognize Europe as a partner of ‘first resort, not last resort, when it comes to meeting the challenges we face ”. he told the Hudson Institute.

Described by some as a centrist with a tendency towards interventionism, Mr Blinken has also sought to alleviate refugee crises and migration. On the last day of the Obama administration, the State Department set a cap of 110,000 refugees who would be allowed to resettle in the United States during fiscal year 2017. That number has since fallen to 15,000 during the year. ‘fiscal year 2021.

He said he would seek to further help Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador – the countries of the North Triangle of Central America – to convince migrants that they will be safer and better off staying at home.

All of this will likely leave less time and resources in the Middle East, he said, although this was the political area that devastated Mr Blinken in the years following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 and the invasion of Iraq in 2003.

He helped shape Mr. Biden’s Senate proposal to create three self-governing regions in Iraq, separated by ethnic or sectarian identity, which was widely rejected, including by the country’s prime minister at the time. . During the Obama administration, Mr. Blinken was a key player in diplomatic efforts to mobilize more than 60 countries to counter the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

Unlike some of his stingy colleagues in the Obama administration, Mr. Blinken spoke to reporters in Baghdad in 2012 to gain information beyond what soldiers, diplomats and intelligence officers were confined to. Embassy grounds could provide.

Prior to accepting a job in the State Department’s European Policy Office in 1993, Mr. Blinken aspired to be a journalist or film producer. He honed his media skills by becoming a foreign policy speechwriter for President Bill Clinton and later overseeing European and Canadian policy at the White House National Security Council.

Mr. Blinken grew up in New York and Paris, graduating from Harvard and Columbia Law School. The son of an ambassador to Hungary during the Clinton administration and the stepson of a Holocaust survivor, Mr. Blinken has often spoken of the moral example the United States sets for the rest of the world.

“In times of crisis or calamity, the United States is the first and always the world looks to,” Blinken said in a 2015 speech at the Center for a New American Security.

“We are not the first choice leader because we are always right or because we are universally liked or because we can dictate the results,” he said. “This is because we strive to the best of our ability to align our actions with our principles, and because American leadership has a unique ability to engage others and make a difference.”