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Biden elects Antony Blinken, defender of global alliances, as foreign minister

WASHINGTON – Antony J. Blinken, a defender of global alliances and one of Elected President Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s closest foreign policy advisers, is expected to be nominated as Secretary of State, a job he will seek to bring together skeptical international partners in a new competition with China, according to people close to the process.

Mr. Blinken, 58, a former deputy prime minister under President Barack Obama and a guitarist, began his career in the State Department under the Clinton administration. His extensive foreign policy qualifications are expected to help reassure both U.S. diplomats and global leaders after four years of the Trump administration̵

7;s ricocheting strategies and nationalist turmoil.

He has been by Mr. Biden’s side for nearly 20 years, including as his top assistant on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and later as Mr. Biden’s national security adviser when he was vice president. In this role, Mr. Blink in developing the US response to political upheaval and consequent instability in the Middle East with mixed results in Egypt, Iraq, Syria and Libya.

But the most important of his new priorities will be to restore the United States as a trusted ally, ready to join global agreements and institutions – including the Paris Climate Agreement, the Iran Nuclear Treaty and the World Health Organization – which were jettisoned by President Trump.

“In short, the great problems we face as a country and as a planet, whether it’s climate change, whether it’s a pandemic, whether it’s the proliferation of bad weapons – to put it bluntly, nobody of these have unilateral solutions, ”Mr. Blinken said last summer. “Even a country as powerful as the United States cannot handle them alone.”

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

That probably means diplomatic time spent building 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 lead to an attempt to deepen engagement across Africa, where China has intervened in technology and infrastructure investment, and to recognize Europe as a partner of “first resort, not last resort when it comes to tackling the challenges we face “. he said at the Hudson Institute.

Blinkes described by some as a centrist with a streak of interventionism, he has also sought to lessen refugee crises and migration. On the last day of the Obama administration, the State Department set a ceiling of 110,000 refugees who would be allowed to resettle in the United States in fiscal year 2017. This number has since dropped to 15,000 in fiscal year 2021.

He has said he will look to further aid to Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador – the northern triangular countries of Central America – in convincing migrants that they will be safer and better off by staying at home.

That everything is likely to leave less time and resources for the Middle East, he has said, although it was the policy area that consumed Mr. Blink in the years following the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001 and the invasion of Iraq in 2003.

He helped draft Mr.Biden’s proposal in the Senate to create three autonomous regions in Iraq, divided 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 is a key player in diplomatic efforts to exploit more than 60 countries to counter the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

Unlike some of his more stingy colleagues in the Obama administration, Blinken spoke to journalists in Baghdad in 2012 for insights beyond what soldiers, diplomats and intelligence officers inhibited inside the embassy liaison could provide.

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

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

“In times of crisis or disaster, it is the United States that the world is first and foremost turning to,” Mr Blinken said in a 2015 speech at the Center for New American Security.

“We are not the leader of first choice because we are always right, or because we are universally suffering, or because we can dictate results,” he said. “It’s because we strive for our best ability to adapt our actions to our principles, and because American leadership has a unique ability to mobilize others and make a difference.”

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