‘U.S. will restore frayed alliances’: Antony Blinken

America will seek to remain a global power but renew cooperation, says Blinken

Updated - January 19, 2021 09:29 pm IST

Published - January 19, 2021 09:27 pm IST - Washington

U.S. Secretary of State Tony Blinken

U.S. Secretary of State Tony Blinken

Antony Blinken, U.S. President-elect Joe Biden’s choice to be Secretary of State, vowed on Tuesday that the United States will “outcompete” a rising China while reviving frayed alliances, in a sea change from Donald Trump’s go-it-alone “America First” approach.

On the eve of Mr. Biden’s inauguration, Mr. Blinken is set to say at his confirmation hearing that the United States will seek to remain the pre-eminent global power but renew cooperation on common challenges such as COVID-19 and climate change. “America at its best still has a greater ability than any country on earth to mobilise others for the greater good,” Mr. Blinken, a long-time aide to Mr. Biden, was to tell the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, according to his prepared remarks.

“We can outcompete China — and remind the world that a government of the people, by the people, can deliver for its people,” Mr. Blinken said, paraphrasing Abraham Lincoln’s paean to democracy, two weeks after a mob of Mr. Trump’s supporters attacked the Capitol.

Mr. Blinken is expected to win Senate confirmation although Republicans have vowed to press him hard on his consulting work since leaving Barack Obama’s administration four years ago.

In a sharp shift in tone from Mr. Trump’s secretary of state Mike Pompeo — who spoke of “swagger”, “American exceptionalism” and global conflict with China — Mr. Blinken said he would show "humility."

“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 said. “We can revitalize our core alliances — force multipliers of our influence around the world. Together, we are far better positioned to counter threats posed by Russia, Iran, and North Korea and to stand up for democracy and human rights.”

Mr. Biden has promised to move swiftly after his inauguration on Wednesday to reverse some of Mr. Trump’s most divisive policies. He pledged to rejoin the Paris climate accord, reverse the U.S. exit from the World Health Organization, and end immigration agents’ draconian separations of Latin American children from their families.

He is also expected to seek a return to the Iran nuclear accord negotiated under Mr. Obama, believing that Mr. Trump’s exit and imposition of sanctions backfired badly with Tehran escalating its contested program.

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