The US Senate has confirmed Antony Blinken as the next US secretary of state, the nation’s top diplomat.
“Mr Blinken has a long and distinguished history when it comes to statecraft and foreign relations matters,” said Senator James Risch, a leading Republican on foreign affairs who backed Blinken’s confirmation.
Biden’s new tone is a sharp turn away from former President Donald Trump’s “America First” foreign policy which had irritated Washington’s allies in Europe, strained contacts within NATO and brought the US-China relationship to a new low.
In his confirmation hearing, Blinken said the new Biden administration would end US military support for the Saudi-led campaign in Yemen and seek a return to an Iran nuclear deal negotiated by the Obama administration.
“We will revitalise American diplomacy to deal with and take on the most pressing challenges of our time,” Blinken told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on January 19.”
He succeeds Mike Pompeo, who was one of former President Donald Trump’s longest-serving cabinet members.
“American leadership still matters,” Blinken said, describing the world as one defined by “rising nationalism, receding democracy, growing rivalry from China and Russia, and other authoritarian states”.
Blinken is a former White House national security aide and former chief of staff to Biden on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He takes the helm at the State Department after former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo who saw many career foreign service officers leave the Trump administration.
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