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Joe Biden election of Antony Blinken as his candidate for Secretary of State outlines a traditional democratic line on foreign policy. Blinken represents the old school Democrats who, like Clinton and Obama, think a flexible foreign policy in which the United States plays a balanced role, in contrast to promoted by President Donald Trump, with whom sought to return US to world leadership in diplomacy and trade.
“We would not have gotten out of Iraq in a way that left the government with a fighting chance to make it without Tony Blinken’s hard work,” Biden said to Washington Post. Blinken is known for his interventionist positions on military issues, in the past he supported military action in Libya and during the Obama administration he advocated US action in Syria.
Antony Blinken, who has been with Biden for 20 years, will have the task of reclaiming what for the Democrats were key achievements in Barack Obama’s administration, such as a return to the Paris Agreement, re-establishing strong relations with Europe, and returning to the World Health Organization (WHO).
As for the progress made by the Trump administration in the Middle East, Biden has yet to establish a clear position with respect to Iran nuclear deal and to continue to support the Abraham agreements. Nor is it clear what role the United States will play at a heading of Antony Blinken with Russia or with Latin American dictatorships like Cuba, Nicaragua, and Venezuela. However, it should be remembered that Obama’s strong approchement to Cuba occurred when Blinken was under Secretary of State.
Blinken has major options in the Senate if his pro-Israeli positions and precisely his moderate court with experience in handling American diplomacy are taken into account.
Trump administration played an important role in the United Nations by denouncing China’s constant abuses and control of several organisation’s committees, such as Human Rights Office, from which the United States emerged. The fact the US is once again sitting next to Beijing to set human rights policies is another setback for China’s victims.
Israel waiting For Biden Administration
The Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu was perhaps one of the most important losers by Biden’s victory. Although Netanyahu has been firm in recognising the Democrats’ triumph, he is aware of Obama administration’s distaste for policies with Iran.
“We need to preserve the unwavering policy of ensuring that Iran does not develop nuclear weapons,” Netanyahu said to the press. Obama promoted the nuclear deal with Iran that Netanyahu has strongly opposed from the outset.
Trump’s decision to withdraw the US from the nuclear agreements with Iran has been fundamental to the development of the agreements with Israel. It has also allowed pressure to be exerted to counteract the big influence of China and Russia in the region.
Uncertain future for the Indo-Pacific Region
Biden’s victory has left an atmosphere of tense calm in some Asian countries. Trump, under the guidance of Secretary Pompeo, has been advancing an agenda with a solid commitment by the United States to its allies in defence of democracy and freedom.
Following the major setback caused by the United States’ withdrawal from Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership Agreement, Japan is hoping with Biden, in addition to consolidating a new defense strategy to counter Beijing’s threat in the South China Sea, particularly with respect to Okinawa islands which Beijing intends to claim as its own, to adjust its economy amidst a high debt it has on the verge of crisis.
In the other hand, Taiwan is making the most of any movement with Trump administration to strengthen security and an eventual commercial trade. Admiral Michael Studeman’s visit to Taipei, whose agenda has been kept secret, has raised the spirits of Beijing, Taipei and Washington.
In previous days, the representative of Taipei in the United States had a conversation with the now-nominated Antony Blinken. Taiwan hopes to continue to forge a stable relationship with United States, though changes in foreign policy will naturally favour Beijing, bearing in mind that, for example, the Obama administration, with Blinken as deputy secretary of state, suspended arms sales to Taipei and allowed China to advance in the south of the region.
Blinken Gives Europe a Break
The current nominee for Secretary of State spent part of his studies and working life in Europe, with training in France specifically. No doubt this is an air for leaders such as Merkel and Macron, who have been feeling pressure from the Trump government on tax matters and with respect to commitments to China.
Antony Blinken promoting multilateralism, is regarded by many analysts and politicians as a hope resuming a peaceful foreign policy. Although Trump administration had forceful results in defending human rights, it failed to manage the diplomatic tone and scorned possible partners such as Germany and France by imposing heavy taxes on exports.
Regardless of who is the indicated for Biden, it is clear that the president-elect’s policy, rather than regaining leadership for the United States at world level, is aimed at satisfying his voters, who backed proposals for a return to Paris Agreement on climate change and support for the questioned WHO, and this is what Biden will achieve with Antony Blinken.
Camilo Bello is a consultant focused on Asia Pacific studies and has experience in strategic management. He has studied law in Colombia and is currently pursuing studies in language and history at National Taiwan Normal University. He has collaborated with Students for Freedom in Hong Kong and Taiwan // Camilo es consultor enfocado en estudios de Asia Pacífico y experiencia en gestión estratégica. Cuenta con estudios en Derecho en Colombia y actualmente se encuentra realizando estudios en lenguaje e historia en National Taiwan Normal University. Colaborador de Estudiantes por la Libertad en Hong Kong y Taiwán