President-elect Joe Biden is expected to choose Tony Blinken, his longtime foreign policy aide, to be his secretary of state, making Blinken one of the most important figures in the new administration.
It’s no surprise that Biden is considering hiring Blinken to head the country’s first foreign affairs agency, first reported by Bloomberg News and confirmed by other electrical outlets. The 58-year-old has served Biden since 2002, becoming the chief of staff of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee when then-Senator Biden chaired it. Blinken went on to become Biden’s national security adviser while he was vice president, moving to the State Department during President Obama’s second term to become the agency’s No.2.
While some speculated that Biden would choose Blinken to be his national security adviser, it appears the new president prefers his trusted staff to represent the administration and the country abroad.
Biden and Blinken have a strong wit, except on one key issue
The choice of Blinken, a former New Republic writer, will likely anger both left and right. Progressives might not like him for praising President Donald Trump’s bombing of Syria in retaliation for his use of chemical weapons on civilians, or to have pleaded for the United States to arm Ukraine against Russian invasion. The Conservatives, meanwhile, will not like him to be a staunch supporter of the Iran nuclear deal.
But Biden was always going to give Blinken a substantive foreign policy post in his administration, regardless of what critics said about him. “He has the judgment, the raw background knowledge and the ability to interact with leaders to do any job his country might ask of him,” Biden said. Politico or Blinken in 2013.
During the 2020 campaign, Blinken was Biden’s primary deputy and foreign policy spokesperson. He gave interview after interview after interview to explain how Biden would run global affairs as president.
“Joe Biden would reaffirm American leadership, leading with our diplomacy. We would actually come back, day after day, ”he said Michael Morell of CBS News on his podcast in September. The new president would prepare himself for a world of “rising powers, new players oversized by technology and information, which we must bring in if we are to progress.”
But Blinken and Biden differ on one crucial aspect: humanitarian intervention. Blinken, who is a descendant of Holocaust survivors, has made it clear on several occasions that he believes the United States should intervene militarily to save innocent people.
“We failed to prevent a terrible loss of life. We have failed to prevent the massive displacement of people inside Syria and, of course, outside as refugees, ”he said. CBS News in May 2019. “And that’s something I’ll take with me for the rest of my life. This is something that I feel very strongly. So, you know, what has happened, unfortunately, since then is that a horrible situation has undoubtedly been made worse.
Biden, meanwhile, has avoided humanitarian intervention in recent years. For example, he opposite the Obama administration’s foray into Libya to oust Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. “This is not in the best interests,” said a senior White House official. Foreign police the next year. “It was not something [Biden] thought was necessary to do. Blinken opposed Libya’s move, too, but it is clear that he still has a liberal interventionist tendency.
It could put the men at odds if they were to face a similar situation over the next four years. But more often than not, it’s likely that Biden and Blinken will be where they usually have been: on the same page.