Biden announces ‘crisis-tested’ national security team, Antony Blinken as Secretary of State

24 November, 2020 | Priyanka Sharma

Biden's World

Days after sweeping victory in US presidential elections 2020, Joe Biden has announced his national security team and named Antony Blinken as the secretary of State.

President-elect Joe Biden on Monday (local time) formally announced the names of his intended national security team as he moves ahead with the transition phase despite incumbent President Donald Trump’s efforts to deny the results of the election.

Biden announced that Antony Blinken will serve as the Secretary of State. According to the Biden-Harris Transition website, he held senior foreign policy positions in two administrations over three decades and has been advising the President-elect on foreign policy since 2002.

“We have no time to lose when it comes to our national security and foreign policy,” Biden said in a statement as quoted by The Hill, adding, “This is the crux of that team. These individuals are equally as experienced and crisis-tested as they are innovative and imaginative. Their accomplishments in diplomacy are unmatched, but they also reflect the idea that we cannot meet the profound challenges of this new moment with old thinking and unchanged habits, or without diversity of background and perspective. It’s why I’ve selected them.”

“From 2015 to 2017, Blinken served as the deputy secretary of state under the Obama-Biden administration. In that role, Blinken helped to lead diplomacy in the fight against ISIL, the rebalance to Asia, and the global refugee crisis, while building bridges to the innovation community,” the website read.

Before that, Blinken served as an assistant to the president and principal deputy national security advisor to former US President Barack Obama. According to The Hill, Blinken would have to deal with the task of repairing relations with close allies “that chaffed” under the Trump administration. Blinken would also be joining in “global cooperation to confront the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change.

The Biden administration would be faced with the challenge of increasing tensions between the US and China, besides that with Iran. “With China, the President-elect is set to take a stronger stance against Beijing’s assault on human rights, democratic freedoms and military posturing, safeguarding the US from cyberattacks and intellectual property theft — but will need to engage over trade, responding to the pandemic and cooperation on the environment,” The Hill reported.

The former vice-president, now President-elect’s administration would have Alejandro Mayorkas as the Secretary for Homeland Secretary who is the first Latino and immigrant nominated to serve at the post. He had served as the deputy secretary of the US Department of Homeland Security in the Obama-Biden administration from 2013 to 2016 and as the director of the US Citizenship and Immigration Services from 2009 to 2013.

Biden also announced that former US Secretary of State John Kerry would be the President’s envoy for Climate. Under Kerry, the Paris Climate Agreement was signed by the United States in 2015, from which the current administration pulled out, with President Trump calling the agreement designed to “kill the economy”.

Linda Thomas-Greenfield will serve as the US Ambassador to the United Nations. Greenfield previously served as the assistant secretary for the Bureau of African Affairs under the Obama-Biden administration from 2013 to 2017. Jake Sullivan is set to take the role of the National Security Advisor. Previously, he served as a deputy assistant to the President and national security advisor to then vice-president Biden in the Obama administration. “He also served as the director of the Policy Planning Staff at the US Department of State and as deputy chief of staff to then secretary of state Hillary Clinton,” the transition website read.

Biden also announced Avril Haines, who under the Obama administration served as an assistant to the President and principal deputy national security advisor from 2015-2017 when she led the National Security Council’s Deputies Committee, as the Director of National Intelligence. Haines would become the first woman to serve as the Director of National Intelligence.

Biden is being projected as the winner of the Presidential elections by various media outlets in the US after he clinched the state of Pennsylvania to take him past the required 270 electoral college vote mark. Trump has filed more than 30 lawsuits to halt vote certification, most of which have been dismissed or withdrawn, as reported by Sputnik.

The President-elect is set to announce more Cabinet picks on Tuesday, The New York Times reported.