Secretary of State
Harvard University, Columbia Law School
Blinken is, in many ways, a throwback to diplomats of yore. He moves comfortably in D.C. society among a foreign policy set that exists as citizens of the globe. He has a traditional view of international alliances — they are crucial to global security — and believes strongly that America should be leading them. Blinken spent six years on Capitol Hill helping lead the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee, so he understands the importance with which the legislative branch views its oversight over American foreign policy. And he has deep relationships with the senators who are involved in overseeing America’s role in the world. Blinken has served in the Clinton and Obama administrations, so he knows his way around the executive branch as well. As a matter of fact, Blinken led a consultancy called WestExec Advisors, which is a nod to the driveway alongside the White House. Fun facts: Blinken speaks French like a native — he spent his formative years there — and he plays a mean guitar.
Blinken has perhaps the most crucial job of any Biden administration official. He has to reintroduce America to the globe and promote the values Biden sees as pivotal to reestablishing the country’s place as a world leader. It’s indisputable that Donald Trump shook alliances and put the world on notice that the United States was no longer interested in time-tested ties. Blinken and Biden, of course, are very interested in those ties. Think of the mess on the horizon: An ambitious China that will be an object of skepticism in a post-Covid world, Iran, a Middle East changed by Trump and a Europe desperately looking for American leadership. The international scene has changed, and Blinken’s job is to bring a traditional order to it.
Inside his orbit:
Words of Wisdom:
You have a long, distinguished family history of diplomacy, and it’s safe to say that no Secretary of State in recent history brings more prior State Department experience to the job. So you know better than most that there is no more impressive group of people than the foreign service officers and civil service officials who serve the State Department at home and abroad. These public servants will be your greatest asset, so lean on your team. Sit down with them in their offices, invite the junior officers to yours. Ask for their perspective. Your success is tied to the creativity, dedication, and patriotism of these extraordinary public servants. You understand that at its core, diplomacy is about people. Harness that power and I have no doubt that you will not only succeed, but ensure that America thrives on your watch.
Hillary Clinton, Former Secretary of State
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