Antony Blinken

Antony Blinken
Antony Blinken.jpg
Official portrait, 2015
United States Secretary of State
Nominee-designate
Assuming office
TBD
PresidentJoe Biden (elect)
SucceedingMike Pompeo
18th United States Deputy Secretary of State
In office
January 9, 2015 – January 20, 2017
PresidentBarack Obama
Preceded byWilliam Joseph Burns
Succeeded byJohn Sullivan
United States Deputy National Security Advisor
In office
January 20, 2013 – January 9, 2015
PresidentBarack Obama
Preceded byDenis McDonough
Succeeded byAvril Haines
National Security Advisor to the Vice President of the United States
In office
January 20, 2009 – January 20, 2013
Vice PresidentJoe Biden
Preceded byJohn P. Hannah
Succeeded byJake Sullivan
Personal details
Born
Antony John Blinken

(1962-04-16) April 16, 1962 (age 58)
New York City, New York, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)
(m. 2002)
Relations
Education

Antony John Blinken (born April 16, 1962) is an American government official and diplomat. He served as Deputy National Security Advisor from 2013 to 2015 and Deputy Secretary of State from 2015 to 2017 under President Barack Obama. Blinken has been chosen by President-elect Joe Biden as his nominee for the position of Secretary of State.

During the Clinton administration, Blinken served in the State Department and in senior positions on the National Security Council staff. He was also a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (2001–2002), Democratic Staff Director of the United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations (2002–2008), and a member of the Obama–Biden presidential transition, active from November 2008 to January 2009. From 2009 to 2013, Blinken served as Deputy Assistant to the President and National Security Advisor to the Vice President.

In the private sector, Blinken co-founded WestExec Advisors, a consulting firm. He is also a partner in a private equity firm and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, a foreign policy think tank.

Early life and education

Blinken was born on April 16, 1962, in New York City, New York, to Jewish parents, Judith (Frehm) and Donald M. Blinken.[1][2][3] He attended the Dalton School in New York City until 1971, when he moved to Paris, France, where he attended École Jeannine Manuel.[4] He moved there with his divorced mother and her new husband, attorney Samuel Pisar, who had survived both the Auschwitz and Dachau camps in the Holocaust.[1] His maternal grandparents were Hungarian Jews.[5] Blinken's uncle, Alan Blinken, served as the United States Ambassador to Belgium.[6][7]

Blinken attended Harvard University, where he worked on The Harvard Crimson[8][1] and co-edited the weekly art magazine. After earning his bachelor's degree, Blinken reported for The New Republic.[9] He earned his J.D. at Columbia Law School in 1988.[10][11] After graduation, he practiced law in New York City and Paris.[9] During the 1988 presidential campaign, Blinken worked with his father Donald in fundraisers for Michael Dukakis.[1]

Career

Clinton and Bush administrations

Blinken has held senior foreign policy positions in two administrations over two decades.[1] He was a member of the National Security Council (NSC) staff from 1994 to 2001.[12] From 1994 to 1998, Blinken was Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Strategic Planning and NSC Senior Director for Speechwriting.[13] From 1999 to 2001, he was Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for European and Canadian Affairs.[14]

In 2002, Blinken was appointed staff director for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, a position he served in until 2008.[12] He was also a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. In 2008, Blinken worked for Joe Biden's presidential campaign,[1] and was a member of the Obama–Biden presidential transition team.[15]

He supported the U.S.–led invasion of Iraq in 2003.[16][17]

Obama administration

Blinken, depicted in Situation Room, standing in blue shirt at the back of the room, during the Osama Bin Laden raid

From 2009 to 2013, he was Deputy Assistant to the President and National Security Advisor to the Vice President. In this position he helped craft U.S. policy on Afghanistan, Pakistan, and the nuclear program of Iran.[18][19]

On November 7, 2014, President Obama announced that he would nominate Blinken for the deputy secretary post, replacing the retiring William Joseph Burns.[20] On December 16, 2014, Blinken was confirmed as Deputy Secretary of State by the Senate by a vote of 55 to 38.[21]

Of Obama's 2011 decision to kill Osama bin Laden, Blinken said "I've never seen a more courageous decision made by a leader".[22] A 2013 profile described him as "[o]ne of the government's key players in drafting Syria policy",[23] for which he served as a public face.[24] Blinken was influential in formulating the Obama administration's response to the annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation in the aftermath of the 2014 Ukrainian revolution.[25][26]

Blinken supported the 2011 military intervention in Libya[24] and the supply of weapons to Syrian rebels.[27] He condemned the 2016 Turkish coup d'état attempt and expressed full support for the democratically elected Turkish government and its institutions, but also criticized the 2016–present purges in Turkey.[28][29] In April 2015, Blinken voiced support for the Saudi Arabian-led intervention in Yemen.[30] He said that "As part of that effort, we have expedited weapons deliveries, we have increased our intelligence sharing, and we have established a joint coordination planning cell in the Saudi operation centre."[31]

Blinken worked with Biden on requests for American money to replenish Israel's arsenal of Iron Dome interceptor missiles during the 2014 Israel–Gaza conflict.[32]

Private sector

Blinken meets with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem on June 16, 2016

In 2017, Blinken co-founded WestExec Advisors, a political strategy advising firm, with Michèle Flournoy, Sergio Aguirre, and Nitin Chadda.[33][34] WestExec's clients have included Google's Jigsaw, Israeli artificial-intelligence company Windward, and "Fortune 100 types".[35] According to Foreign Policy, the firm's clientele includes "the defense industry, private equity firms, and hedge funds".[36] In an interview with The Intercept, Flournoy described WestExec's role as facilitating relationships between Silicon Valley firms and the Department of Defense and law enforcement;[37] Flournoy and others compared WestExec to Kissinger Associates.[37][38]

Blinken is also a partner of private equity firm Pine Island Capital Partners,[39] a strategic partner of WestExec.[40] Pine Island's chairman is John Thain, the final chairman of Merrill Lynch before its sale to Bank of America.[41] Blinken recused himself from Pine Island Capital Partners in 2020 to serve as a senior foreign policy advisor with the Biden campaign.[35]

Blinken is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.[42] As of 2020, Blinken is a global affairs analyst for CNN.[43][44]

Biden administration

Blinken with Aung San Suu Kyi, Myanmar's leader, on January 18, 2016

Blinken was a foreign policy advisor for Biden's 2020 presidential campaign.[45] On June 17, 2020, Blinken said that Biden "would not tie military assistance to Israel to things like annexation or other decisions by the Israeli government with which we might disagree."[46] Blinken praised the Trump administration-brokered normalization agreements between Israel and Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates.[47][48]

On July 31, 2020, Blinken discussed the U.S.-China relationship and how former Vice President Joe Biden would handle American foreign policy.[49]

On October 28, 2020, Blinken told the Jewish Insider that a Biden administration plans to "undertake a strategic review" of the relationship between the United States and Saudi Arabia "to make sure that it is truly advancing our interests and is consistent with our values".[50] Blinken told JI that Biden administration "will continue non-nuclear" sanctions against Iran "as a strong hedge against Iranian misbehavior in other areas."[47] He described China as a competitor to the United States.[51] Blinken said the Trump administration helped China by "weakening American alliances, leaving a vacuum in the world for China to fill, abandoning our values and giving China a green light to trample on human rights and democracy from Xinjiang to Hong Kong".[52]

Blinken spoke of the differences Biden has with India over Kashmir and the Citizenship Amendment Act that critics say discriminates against Muslims.[53] He supports extending the New START arms control treaty with Russia to limit the number of nuclear weapons deployed by both sides.[54][55] In October 2020, the The New York Times described Blinken as "ha[ving] Biden's ear on policy issues".[56]

On November 22, 2020, Bloomberg News reported that Biden had selected Blinken as his nominee for secretary of state.[57] These reports were later corroborated by The New York Times and other outlets.[58][59][57] On November 24, 2020, upon being announced as Biden's choice for secretary of state, Blinken stated that "[w]e can't solve all the world's problems alone" and "[w]e need to be working with other countries".[60] Matt Duss wrote in support of Blinken's presumptive nomination as Secretary of State soon after it was announced.[61]

Political positions

Blinken speaks upon accepting his nomination as Secretary of State on November 24, 2020.

In 2017, Blinken published an op-ed in The New York Times arguing for arming Syrian Kurds to defeat ISIS, while simultaneously urging the U.S. to "double down on support for Turkey's fight against the P.K.K."[62] He criticized President Trump's decision to withdraw U.S. troops from northern Syria.[32] In October 2020, he opposed Turkish president Recep Erdogan's call for "a two-state solution in Cyprus", stating that the Biden administration is committed to reunification of Cyprus.[28][63]

On November 19, 2020, Blinken expressed concern over reports of escalating ethnic tensions in Ethiopia's Tigray Region and urged peaceful resolution of the Tigray conflict.[64]

Blinken has referred to Brexit as a "total mess".[61] Blinken expressed concern over continuing human rights violations by El-Sisi's regime in Egypt.[65] He condemned the arrest of three human rights advocates and tweeted that "Meeting with foreign diplomats is not a crime. Nor is peacefully advocating for human rights."[66] Blinken characterized President Trump's trade deal with China as "a debacle".[67] He has expressed support for "stronger economic ties with Taiwan".[68]

Personal life

In 2002, Blinken married Evan Ryan in a bi-denominational ceremony officiated by a rabbi and priest at Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Washington, D.C.[10][1] He is fluent in French.[69] He plays guitar and has three songs available on Spotify by the alias ABlinken.[70] Blinken is Jewish.[71]

Publications

  • Blinken, Antony J. (1987). Ally versus Ally: America, Europe, and the Siberian Pipeline Crisis. New York: Praeger. ISBN 0-275-92410-6. OCLC 14359172.[1]
  • Blinken, Antony J. (2001). "The False Crisis Over the Atlantic". Foreign Affairs. 80 (3): 35–48. doi:10.2307/20050149. JSTOR 20050149.
  • Blinken, Antony J. (June 2002). "Winning the War of Ideas". The Washington Quarterly. 25 (2): 101–114. doi:10.1162/01636600252820162. ISSN 0163-660X. S2CID 154183240.
  • Blinken, Antony J. (December 2003). "From Preemption to Engagement". Survival. 45 (4): 33–60. doi:10.1080/00396330312331343576. ISSN 0039-6338. S2CID 154077314.
  • Blinken, Antony J. (July 9, 2017). "The Islamic State Is Not Dead Yet". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved November 23, 2020.

References

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  63. ^ @ABlinken (October 27, 2020). "We regret calls by Turkish President Erdogan and Turkish Cypriot leader Tatar for a two-state solution in Cyprus. Joe Biden has long expressed support for a bizonal, bicommunal federation that ensures peace and prosperity for all Cypriots" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
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External links

Government offices
Preceded by
John P. Hannah
National Security Advisor to the Vice President of the United States
2009–2013
Succeeded by
Jake Sullivan
Preceded by
Denis McDonough
United States Deputy National Security Advisor
2013–2015
Succeeded by
Avril Haines
Preceded by
William Joseph Burns
United States Deputy Secretary of State
2015–2017
Succeeded by
John Sullivan

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