Biden chooses veteran diplomat Antony Blinken as secretary of state. Here’s why Europe should cheer
President-elect Joe Biden will nominate former State Department official Antony Blinken as his future secretary of state, according to several sources. Veteran diplomats and Obama administration alumni Linda Thomas-Greenfield and Jake Sullivan will be nominated to the respective roles of ambassador to the United Nations and national security adviser.
- Blinken, 58, started his career at State under the Clinton administration and served as deputy national security adviser, then deputy secretary of state, under the Obama administration. From 2009 to 2013 he served as national security adviser to then-vice president Biden.
- Sullivan, 43, succeeded Blinken as Biden adviser in 2013 after serving as head of policy planning at the State Department under Hillary Clinton. He played a key role in negotiations that led to the nuclear deal with Iran.
- Thomas-Greenfield, 68, was assistant secretary of state for African affairs from 2013 to 2017. She is Biden’s first Black nominee.
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The outlook: The three appointments confirm that Biden’s foreign policy will mark a return to the traditional fold of American diplomacy. Blinken is known as a defender of global alliances and international agreements, and has described Europe as “first resort, not last resort, when it comes to contending with the challenges” the U.S. faces.
Very shortly after his inauguration on Jan. 20, Biden has said that he would rejoin the Paris agreement on climate change, work to join again the Iran deal on nuclear weapons, and in general show the U.S.’ intent to revive multilateralism, first by working constructively within the world’s major international organizations — beginning with the World Health Organization and the World Trade Organization.
That doesn’t mean that Europe should expect Washington to lose sight of the U.S.’ own interests on trade — with its massive trade deficit with the European Union — or see eye-to-eye with the EU on, for example, relationships with Russia and China.
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