The Foreign Service Journal, March 2021

12 MARCH 2021 | THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL TALKING POINTS A Pledge to Show Up D uring his Jan. 19 Senate confirma- tion hearing, Antony Blinken, now the 71st Secretary of State, said that he would work to reinvigorate “by invest- ing in its greatest asset: the Foreign Ser- vice officers, civil servants and locally employed staff who animate American diplomacy around the world.” Blinken testified that he is committed to “building a diplomatic corps that fully represents America in all its talent and diversity” by hiring, retaining and promot- ing skilled officers “who look like the country we represent.” He said he would demand accountability, starting with himself, to build “a more diverse, inclusive and nonpartisan workplace.” He also pledged that the new Biden administration would “revitalize Ameri- can diplomacy” by showing up again in international forums. “American leadership still matters,” he said. “The reality is that the world doesn’t organize itself. When we’re not engaged, when we don’t lead, then one of two things happen: either some other country tries to take our place, but probably not in a way that advances our interests or values. Or no one does, and then you get chaos. Either way, that does not serve the American people.” Secretary Blinken also said that the United States would take on a humbler tone: “Humility and confidence should be the flip sides of America’s leadership coin. 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.” But the United States will still act with confidence, he said, because “America at its best still has a greater ability than any country on earth to mobilize others for the greater good.” “And in everything we do around the world, we can and we must ensure that our foreign policy delivers for American working families here at home,” he added. Blinken in the House F ollowing his Jan. 26 confirmation by the Senate, Secretary Blinken was welcomed back to the State Department on Jan. 27 by a small, socially distanced group of employees. He said he will rely on the career staff and work to rebuild morale and trust. In stark contrast to the previous administration, he said: “I’ll seek out dis- senting views, and listen to the experts, because that’s how the best decisions are made. And I will insist that you speak, and speak up, without fear or favor, and I will have your back.” Biden’s Other Top Foreign Policy Picks P resident Joe Biden nominated Wendy Sherman for Deputy Se c- retary of State. She previously served as under secretary for political affairs during the Obama administration, as counselor under Secretary of State Mad- eleine Albright and assistant secretary for legislative affairs under Secretary Warren Christopher. Ambassador (ret.) Victoria Nuland was tapped to serve as under secretary of State for political affairs. She has served as the assistant secretary of State for European affairs, ambassador to NATO, a deputy national security adviser to then– Vice President Dick Cheney and State Department spokeswoman. Ambassador (ret.) Linda Thomas- Greenfield has been nominated to be U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. Brian McKeon, a longtime foreign policy adviser to Biden, is the president’s choice for deputy secretary of State for management and resources. Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power is Biden’s pick for USAID Administra- tor, and he plans to elevate the USAID Administrator to a spot on the White House National Security Council. Former senior diplomats Bonnie Jen- kins and Uzra Zeya were selected for under secretary of State for arms control and With no large gathering possible due to COVID-19, Secretary Antony Blinken’s welcome to State was socially distant and broadcast online to employees worldwide on Jan. 27. CAMERONWOODWORTH