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article imageWho is Antony Blinken, Biden's choice for Secretary of State?

By Karen Graham     Nov 23, 2020 in Politics
President-elect Joe Biden is expected to pick Antony Blinken, one of his closest policy aides and confidants, to be secretary of state, according to people familiar with the matter.
Blinken, at 58 years of age, served as U.S. Deputy Secretary of State from 2015 to 2017 and Deputy National Security Advisor from 2013 to 2015 under President Barack Obama and has close ties with the President-elect. Should he be confirmed by the Senate, he would bring back some normalcy to our relationship with foreign governments, per the Associated Press.
According to Foreign Policy, He has advised Biden for nearly two decades, first as staff director at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee when Biden was chairman, and later as national security advisor to the vice president.
In 2017, Blinken co-founded WestExec Advisors, a political strategy advising firm, with Michèle Flournoy, Sergio Aguirre, and Nitin Chadda. WestExec's client work includes analyzing potential acquisitions and investments for geopolitical risk, and offering insight on regulatory matters, policy changes in the U.S. and key international markets.
Liu Yandong  Vice Premier  People's Republic of China(L) and US Deputy Secretary of State Antho...
Liu Yandong, Vice Premier, People's Republic of China(L) and US Deputy Secretary of State Anthony Blinken attend the Plenary Session of the US-China Consultation at the US State Department in Washington, DC, June 24, 2015
Chris Kleponis, AFP
Blinken is seen as a centrist
In Democratic foreign-policy circles, Blinken is seen as a centrist - and this kills any hope by left-wing Democrats that Biden would nominate a more progressive candidate. But being a centrist in most politician's eyes could turn out to be a very good position.
In politics, a centrist could be considered a"peacemaker." Centrists favor the "middle ground" regarding government control of the economy and personal behavior. And depending on the issue, they sometimes favor government intervention and sometimes support individual freedom of choice.
As English author, Evelyn Beatrice Hall wrote in 1906, "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it." This attitude seems to fit the beliefs of Centrists.
There are a number of things Biden needed to consider in his choice of Blinken. For one, what if the Georgia runoff for two Senate seats goes to Republicans? If this does come to pass, then the Senate would have a GOP majority, and Biden wouldn't get anyone confirmed.
Deputy Secretary of State Antony  Tony  Blinken  with U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria James Entwistle  me...
Deputy Secretary of State Antony "Tony" Blinken, with U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria James Entwistle, meets with Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari at the Aso Rock Presidential Villa in Abuja, Nigeria, on July 8, 2015.
U.S. Department of State
However, Senate Republicans have already indicated they would confirm centrist nominees, but not further-left progressive nominees if they retained control in the Senate. Obama’s former National Security Advisor Susan Rice would have faced significant GOP opposition, as she has long been a target of Republicans.
Senator Chris Coons, another possible candidate for the position lacks experience in managing day-to-day foreign policy issues that Blinken would bring to the job. On top of that, Blinken will bring normalcy to a State Department that has been treated with disdain and mistrust by President Trump.
“Blinken’s appointment will be a salve to a wounded State Department and will reassure U.S. allies, who know him well,” said one former diplomat. “His relationship with the president matters a lot,” said one diplomatic source, noting it “could be a positive sign of the relative role of State vs. the NSC.”
The department has seen a large number of departures from its senior and rising mid-level ranks, with many diplomats opting to retire or leave the Foreign Service rather than put up with the administration's attempts to wreak havoc on the agency.
More about Antony Blinken, Secretary of State, foreignpolicy experience, centrist nominee, Joe biden
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