By Lalit K Jha Washington, Nov 25 (PTI) The United States has to proceed with equal measures of humility and confidence, said long-time diplomat Antony Blinken, who has been nominated as Secretary of State by President-elect Joe Biden, signalling a change in tone and tenor of American foreign policy for the next four years.
“Now, we have to proceed with equal measures of humility and confidence. Humility because, as the president-elect said, we can't solve all the world's problems alone. We need to be working with other countries. We need their cooperation. We need their partnership,” Blinken, 58, said soon after Biden introduced him as his Secretary of State on Tuesday.
“But also, confidence 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. And that's where the men and women of the State Department, foreign service officers, civil service, that's where they come in. I've witnessed their passion, their energy, their courage up close,” said the next top American diplomat.
Announcing his nomination for Secretary of State, Biden said that Blinken is one of the better prepared for this job and no one is better prepared in his view. He will be the secretary of state who previously served in top roles on Capitol Hill, the White House and in the State Department, he added.
Blinken has delivered for the American people in many areas by leading diplomatic efforts in the fight against ISIS, strengthening America's alliance and position in the Asia-Pacific guiding our responses to their global refugee crisis with compassion and determination, the president-elect said.
He will rebuild morale and trust in the State Department where his career in government began, Biden said.
Describing Blinken as one of his closest and most trusted advisors, Biden said he has known him and his family, immigrants and refugees, a Holocaust survivor who taught him to never take for granted the very idea of America as a place of possibilities.
“Tony is ready on day one,” said the president-elect.
In his acceptance speech, Blinken said that if confirmed by the Senate, he will do everything he can to earn it.
“Mr President-elect, working for you — and having you as mentor and friend — has been the greatest privilege of my professional life,” he said.
Blinken said that for him or his family, as for so many generations of Americans, the US has literally been the last best hope on earth. “My grandfather, Maurice Blinken, fled pogroms in Russia and made a new life in America. His son, my father Donald Blinken, served in the Air Force during World War II and then as an US Ambassador. He is my role model and hero,” he said.
“His wife, Vera Blinken, fled communist Hungary as a young girl and helped future generations of refugees come to America. My mother, Judith Pisar, builds bridges between America and the world through the arts and culture. She is my greatest champion,” he added.
Blinken said that his late step-father, Samuel Pisar, was one of 900 children in his school in Bialystok, Poland, but the only one to survive the Holocaust after four years in concentration camps. At the end of the war, he made a break from a death march into the Bavarian woods. From his hiding place, he heard the rumbling sound of a tank. Instead of an Iron Cross, he saw a 5-pointed White Star.
“He ran to the tank. The hatch opened. An African-American GI looked down at him. He fell to his knees and said the only three words he knew in English that his mother had taught him: God Bless America. The GI lifted him into the tank, into America, into freedom,” he said.
“That’s who we are. That’s what America represents to the world, however imperfectly,” Blinken said. PTI LKJ HDA