Blinken tipped to be secretary of state
NEW YORK/WILMINGTON, Del. – Joe Biden will pick Antony Blinken as U.S. secretary of state, a person close to the president-elect’s transition said on Sunday, elevating one of his most seasoned and trusted aides as he prepares to undo President Donald Trump’s foreign policy.
Blinken is a longtime Biden confidant who served as No. 2 at the State Department and as deputy national security adviser in President Barack Obama’s administration, in which Biden served as vice president.
A second Biden ally said that Blinken was Biden’s first choice. An announcement is likely on Tuesday.
Blinken’s appointment makes another longtime Biden aide with a foreign policy background, Jake Sullivan, the top candidate to be U.S. national security adviser, the first source said. Bloomberg News first reported the expected roles.
Biden’s transition team declined to comment. Neither Blinken nor Sullivan responded to requests for comment.
While neither are household names, Blinken and Sullivan helped Biden formulate a strategy that will include immediate outreach to U.S. allies who have often been antagonised by Trump’s “America First” approach, and to demonstrate a willingness to work together on major global problems like the coronavirus epidemic and its economic fallout.
Biden vowed to rejoin a nuclear deal with Iran if the country returns to compliance, return to the Paris climate accord, abandon plans to leave the World Health Organisation and end a U.S. rule that bans funding of aid groups that discuss abortion. Each move would reverse Trump’s policies and some could take place quickly after Biden takes office on January 20.
Biden is also likely to name Linda Thomas-Greenfield as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, media outlets reported on Sunday. Thomas-Greenfield is Black, an expert on Africa policy and held a top diplomatic post in the administration of former President Barack Obama.
Blinken, 58, has long touted the view that the United States needs to take an active leadership role in the world, engaging with allies, or see that role filled by countries like China with contrary interests. (Reuters)