‘We can’t solve all the world’s problems alone,’ says Antony Blinken, Biden’s choice for secretary of state
Biden creates a new position on the National Security Council wholly devoted to the climate change crisis
’s incoming foreign policy team made clear on Tuesday that they plan to reject President
’s “America First” mantra and instead embrace America’s allies to solve the world’s most pressing challenges.
“We can’t solve all the world’s problems alone,” said Antony Blinken, Biden’s choice for secretary of state. “We need to be working with other countries. We need their cooperation. We need their partnership.”
“But also confidence”, Blinken added, “because America at its best still has a greater ability than any other country on earth to bring others together to meet the challenges of our time.”
Blinken was Biden’s national security adviser during the Obama administration and a top adviser during the presidential campaign.
His remarks were echoed by the other members of Biden’s team, who spoke in equally strong terms about their belief in America’s greatness, but also their belief that it is a mistake to go it alone in the world.
“Multilateralism is back,” said Linda Thomas-Greenfield, Biden’s choice for ambassador to the United Nations.
About eight weeks remain until Biden’s inauguration, on January 20.
On Monday, Biden was
permission from the Trump administration to formally begin the transition period between the election and the inauguration, after a delay that lasted weeks.
Many observers said the delay may have caused the incoming president and his advisers to lose valuable preparation time before taking office.
The Trump administration on Tuesday said that it would start allowing Biden to view the president’s daily brief as well, according to CNN, citing an unnamed White House official.
When Biden is sworn in as president, he and his team will be faced with a long list of challenges that appear unlikely to fade away on their own.
The coronavirus pandemic continues to spread wildly across the US. More than 10,000 Americans died of the virus in the last week alone, according to the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.
“President-elect Biden and I have long known that when we were elected, we would inherit a series of unprecedented challenges upon walking into the White House,” said Vice President-elect Kamala Harris. “Addressing these challenges starts with getting this pandemic under control.”
Biden on Tuesday said he was creating a new position on the National Security Council wholly devoted to the climate change crisis. Biden selected John Kerry, the former secretary of state, for the role.
“For the first time ever, the United States will have a full-time climate leader, participating in ministerial level meetings,” Biden said. “That’s a fancy way of saying, they’ll have a seat at every table around the world.”
Beyond the coronavirus and climate change, Biden’s team will also have to figure out how to deal with adversaries and competitors.
Jake Sullivan, the incoming national security adviser, said that Biden had tasked him with “reimagining” national security.
Sullivan said it included nuclear weapons and terrorism, but also “the pandemic, the economic crisis, the climate crisis, technological disruption, threats to democracy, racial injustice and inequality in all forms”.
Biden said that in his conversations with world leaders since winning elections, he had been “struck” by how much they were looking forward to the US “reasserting its historic role as a global leader, both in the Pacific, as well as the Atlantic, all across the world”.
“The team meets this moment,” Biden said. “It’s a team that reflects the fact that America is back, ready to lead the world, not retreat from it. Once again sit at the head of the table, ready to confront our adversaries, and not reject our allies. Ready to stand up for our values.”
Miyeon Oh, the director of the Asia security initiative at the Atlantic Council think tank in Washington, said Biden’s task now is to go beyond the praise of allies, and show how he will actually engage with them. She said this will be essential for dealing with China.
“I think it is a meaningful shift from what has been done over the last four years,” said Oh, referring to Biden’s rhetoric. “It is also crucial for the Biden national security team to present a clear goal and strategy for its China policy as soon as possible.”
“US allies and partners will want to know how much Biden’s China policy will be different from and similar with that of Trump’s, and also how much Biden’s China policy will be different from the Obama administration’s China policy,” she said.
Biden’s cabinet secretaries will all need Senate approval before they can begin their jobs, but his national security adviser and climate change envoy will not.
“I hope these outstanding nominees received a prompt hearing, that we can work across the aisle in good faith to move forward for the country,” Biden said.