Blinken becomes US chief diplomat as the US faces tests on multiple fronts, including: a pandemic that killed 2.1 million people and devastated economies worldwide; an emerging and increasingly aggressive China; a Middle East marked by tension between Iran and its neighbors; and an increasing exhaustion among Americans with the war in Afghanistan. He is committed to making “humility and confidence” the cornerstone of the way he works. This reflects the Biden team’s view of how America should behave in a world where Washington, DC is not the only center of power.
The hearing to confirm the Senate by the 58-year-old went relatively smoothly Republicans who express joy at times how many times blinking agreed to them.
For example, Blinken said former President Donald Trump was right to take a tougher stance on China, despite disagreeing with some of the previous administration’s tactics. He also stated that he would help maintain some terrorist sanctions against the Islamist-led government in Iran, despite the Biden government’s goal of re-joining the Iranian nuclear deal, which Trump announced in 2018.
Still, some Republicans voted against blinking. This included Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky, who complained ahead of Tuesday’s vote about Blinken’s previous support for U.S. military intervention in places like Libya. He argued that Blinken did not learn the lessons of the chaos that followed such interventions.
“My resistance to Mr Blinken as State Secretary is not so much because I am against the administration. That’s because I’m against the bipartisan consensus for war, ”Paul said.
Blinken received a lot of praise even before the vote in the Senate. Top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Bob Menendez of New Jersey, said Blinken is “thoughtful” and “able to grapple with our country’s most complex, challenging issues and has pledged to involve Congress.” “
Blinken has long emphasized the importance of the United States working with international allies to advance its interests, including helping Beijing. He has heavily criticized Trump and the former president’s aides for pursuing more one-sided diplomatic approaches.
At the same time, Blinken has argued that America should be open to working with adversaries like China and Russia, especially on transnational challenges like the coronavirus pandemic and climate change.
Blinken the State Department is said to help rebuild the U.S. refugee resettlement program, which Trump almost dismantled as he radically limited the number of refugees admitted annually.
Blinken is best known in Foggy Bottom, where he served as John Kerry’s deputy from 2015 to 2017. That familiarity can help him address the State Department’s declining morale: Foreign service officials and other officials often felt marginalized under Trump, who generally ignored their advice, accusing them of being members of a “deep state” that thwart his policies want.
Trump’s first foreign secretary, Rex Tillerson, often incapacitated career officials and focused decision-making in the hands of a few top aides.
Trump’s second secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, improved morale when he first took over but soon lost the trust of many veteran diplomats. His refusal to stand up for Marie Yovanovitch, the former US ambassador to Ukraine who was involved in Trump’s first impeachment trial, was a particularly painful point.
Department officials say they will be watching closely how many in their ranks are promoted to top positions in the State Department and the National Security Council under biden and blink.
So far, many of the top jobs have been to outside political figures or former career officials who left the government before or under Trump. However, many key roles remain vacant, including a number of Assistant Secretary of State positions that could go to current career officials.
Blinken has diplomacy in its blood. His father Donald Blinken is a former US ambassador to Hungary, and his uncle Alan Blinken was US ambassador to Belgium.
Blinken was also heavily influenced by his stepfather, Samuel Pisar, an international lawyer who survived the Holocaust and later advocated the idea of strengthening trade ties in order to achieve peace between rival powers.