- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 19, 2021

President-elect Joseph R. Biden’s pick to lead the State Department, Antony Blinken, on Tuesday appeared to take aim at the Trump administration’s approach to foreign policy and said in prepared remarks that “American leadership still matters.”

In embargoed remarks released Tuesday morning ahead of his nomination hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Mr. Blinken highlighted how “core alliances” are the most effective tool to “counter threats posed by Russia, Iran and North Korea and to stand up for democracy and human rights.”

“Humility and confidence should be the flip sides of America’s leadership coin,” he said. 

“Humility because we have a great deal of work to do at home to enhance our standing abroad,” Mr. Blinken continued, “and humility because most of the world’s problems are not about us, even as they affect us. Not one of the big challenges we face can be met by one country acting alone — even one as powerful as the U.S.”

Mr. Blinken, 58, previously served on President Bill Clinton’s National Security Council and later as President Barack Obama’s deputy national security adviser and deputy secretary of state.

He also worked as the Democratic staff director on the Senate panel when it was chaired by the incoming president.

Mr. Blinken said his role on the committee “gave me an abiding respect for this Committee — for its finest bipartisan traditions, for the caliber of its members and staff, and for the essential work it does to strengthen U.S. leadership around the world.”

If confirmed to be America’s top diplomat, Mr. Blinken said he believes the U.S. “can overcome the COVID crisis … outcompete China — and remind the world that a government of the people, by the people, can deliver for its people … [and] take on the existential threat posed by climate change.”

“No foreign policy can be sustained without the informed consent of the American people,” he said in his concluding remarks. “We can only tackle the most urgent problems our country faces if we work together, and I am dedicated to doing that.”

Mr. Blinken has received bipartisan support from lawmakers and is expected to be confirmed in a vote next week.

Incoming chairman of the panel, Sen. Robert Menendez, New Jersey Democrat, told reporters Tuesday that Mr. Blinken is “eminently qualified to be secretary of state and probably taking the reins — hopefully, taking the reins at a time in which the department needs to be rebuilt.”

“He knows the department and our standing in the world needs to be rebuilt,” Mr. Menendez said, “so I expect he’ll get bipartisan support.”

• Lauren Toms can be reached at lmeier@washingtontimes.com.

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