Blinken takes over the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and promises to rebuild the diplomatic ranks
Washington – America’s new top diplomat took the helm of the State Department on Wednesday with a vow to rebuild the ranks of the foreign service and rely on his expertise as the Biden administration seeks to restore the United States’ global standing.
On his first full day at work, Antony Blinken said in front of a coronavirus-restricted audience of employees in the department’s main lobby that he appreciated their work and dedication. He also said they have a tough road ahead of them as the world watches them pursue foreign policy after four years of former President Donald Trump’s “America First” doctrine.
Blinken acknowledged the unprecedented times the nation is going through, when those who stood before him in person wore masks and the headquarters of the department in Foggy Bottom were surrounded by barricades, a sign of the threat of violence leading to increased security in the country Downtown Washington led.
Blinken said a key priority for him as foreign minister was rebuilding morale and confidence. “We need a strong department for the United States to be strong in the world.” He also vowed to “invest heavily in building a diverse and inclusive State Department,” seeking dissenting views and listening to experts, “because that is how the best decisions are made”.
“I’ll have your back,” he said.
He approached reporters and answered questions later that afternoon, promising to resume daily briefings from the State Department’s press secretary.
President Joe Biden has vowed to reverse Mr Trump’s approach, which had alienated many traditional U.S. allies who viewed it as a one-sided, hardline approach that left no room for negotiation. Blinken said that after four years, the United States would again be working with allies on a reciprocal rather than a purely transactional basis.
“The world is watching us carefully right now,” said Blinken. “They want to know if we can heal our nation. They want to see if we are leading by the power of our example and if we are putting diplomacy to the fore with our allies and partners in order to meet the great challenges of our time – the pandemic, climate change, the economic crisis, threats to democracies, struggles for racial justice and the threat to our security and global stability posed by our rivals and adversaries. “
Blinken, a 58-year-old long-time confidante of Biden, wasto be the 71st State Secretary of the Senate on Tuesday in a 78-22 vote. The position is the highest position in the cabinet, with the secretary being fourth in line to the president. Blinken, a former deputy secretary of state in the Obama administration, promised the US leadership was back.
“America’s leadership is needed around the world, and we will provide it, because the world is more likely to solve problems and meet challenges when the United States is there,” he said. “America at its best still has a greater capacity than any other country on earth to mobilize others for the common good.”
Shortly after he was sworn in late Tuesday, Blinken made his first calls to fellow foreign ministers in neighbors and related countries: Canada, Mexico, Japan and South Korea.