President-elect profiles his Cabinet as Donald Trump continues to block the transition of power
Antony Blinken, an advocate of multilateralism and one of Joe Biden’s most trusted and experienced foreign policy advisers, will be the new US Secretary of State. This was confirmed by the president-elect’s transition team on the eve of an event on Tuesday in Wilmington (Delaware), where he is scheduled to announce the main names of the Cabinet that will take the reins of the country from next January 20.
For the first time, there will be a Latino head of the Department of Homeland Security, the ministry in charge of implementing and managing immigration policies. This is Alejandro Mayorkas, a lawyer born in Havana 60 years ago, whose family fled Cuba after the Castro revolution, who was already second in the department between 2013 and 2016. Former federal prosecutor in California, Mayorkas will be subject to the review of some of the most controversial domestic policies of the Trump era, such as building a wall on the border with Mexico or separating migrant children from their families.
Another priority of the Biden Administration will be the environment, as is clear from the fact that there will be a zar about the weather. A position that, according to the transition team, will go to veteran former senator, former secretary of state and former presidential candidate John Kerry, 76. “He will fight climate change full time as a special climate envoy, and he will sit on the National Security Council,” the transition team said in a note. Since leaving the secretary of state, Kerry has focused his activity on the environment, through the creation of World War Zero, a coalition of world leaders, military and Hollywood celebrities that demands action against the climate crisis.
Also for the first time, a woman will be in charge of the national intelligence. It will be Avril Haines, who was already second in the CIA under Obama, after succeeding Blinken himself in the Deputy Ministry of National Security. Another woman, African American Linda Thomas-Greenfield, a veteran of the diplomatic service, will serve as the ambassador to the United Nations.
Foreign policy will be one of the priorities of the 46th president, who has promised to rebuild global alliances broken by the Trump Administration and return the United States to the prominent place on the global board that he believes it has lost after four years of a presidency that showed of a rejection of multilateralism. This same Monday, President-elect Biden spoke with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, who congratulated him on his election as the next president. They have spoken, according to a NATO statement, about “the importance of the Transatlantic Alliance as a cornerstone of collective security.”
The next Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, 58, was Deputy Minister of Homeland Security and then Under Secretary of State with John Kerry, during the presidency of Barack Obama. He was also in the State Department of Bill Clinton. His career suggests that his arrival as Secretary of State will set a tone and philosophy diametrically opposed to those that have marked the foreign policy of Mike Pompeo and Trump. Educated in Paris, before graduating from Harvard and Columbia, in short distance Blinken is known for his polite ways and sense of humor. Stepson of an Auschwitz survivor who became an adviser to President Kennedy, those who have worked with him consider Blinken’s commitment to human rights to be genuine.
His harmony with Biden is total, built over almost 20 years of working together. After passing through the Clinton Administration, he began working as Biden’s foreign policy advisor when he was a senator and participated in his failed 2008 presidential race. He returned to the White House when Obama elected Biden as vice president.
His presence at the top of foreign policy during that Administration is evidenced by the famous photograph in which Obama and Biden follow on screens the operation in which Osama bin Laden was killed, where Blinken may be among a dozen people gathered in the room. Since January 2015, Blinken was undersecretary of state, the last of the last Democratic Administration.
In these years, he has acknowledged mistakes and has expressed his regret for certain policies of the Obama Administration. He regrets that he did not intervene significantly in Syria, and also initially supported the Saudi war in Yemen. Blinken is steadfast in his support for Israel’s security, something that has already caused some tension in the Democratic ranks even before his appointment. “Let’s just make sure he doesn’t try to silence me and suppress my right to criticize Netanyahu’s racist and inhumane policies,” Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib has said.
Along with Blinken, Biden will announce Jake Sullivan as National Security Advisor, reports The New York Times. Sullivan, 43, succeeded Blinken himself as Biden’s National Security Advisor when he was vice president. Blinken and Sullivan are good friends and share a vision of the world and attune to the next president.
Blocked from the transition of power because Trump refuses to admit defeat, Democrat Joe Biden is finishing shaping the Cabinet that will lead his Administration when he takes office on January 20. The priorities of the start of his presidency will be the economy, public health and foreign policy, and it is expected that the names of the people in charge of those areas will be the first to be revealed.
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