Antony Blinken, an interventionist in an America that no longer wants to be

Antony Blinken, an interventionist in an America that no longer wants to be
Antony Blinken, an interventionist in an America that no longer wants to be

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The new US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, a French-speaking diplomat attached to the transatlantic alliances jostled by Donald , is close to Joe Biden despite a clearly more interventionist tendency that does not always share the new president – nor American public opinion .

Charged by the Democrat with putting to music the “return” of the United States on the front of the international scene after four years of unilateralism and disengagement, “Tony” Blinken, 58, insists that “American leadership still counts” .

“When we are not on the front line”, “either another country tries to take our place, but probably not in a way that promotes our interests or values, or neither does, and it is chaos”, a- he explained to the senators who confirmed his appointment on Tuesday.

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He also promised to “reinvigorate” Washington’s alliances to “counter” his main adversaries.

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The break is visible even in the style of this courteous and elegant man under his salt and pepper hair, the antipodes of his predecessor Mike Pompeo, more crude stripping, always quick to ignite when a question displeased him.

“You could hardly be more affable, humble and discreet than him,” said his childhood friend Robert Malley, president of the conflict prevention organization International Crisis Group. “No one remembers ever seeing him lose his temper or have a fit of anger.”

This consensual personality has seduced for the moment several Republicans who have offered him a much larger majority than for the Pompeo falcon.

– “Good start” –

Despite the desire to turn the page, the new Minister of Foreign Affairs also made an impression when he felt that Donald Trump had “been right to have a firmer position vis-à-vis China”.

“It’s a good start,” said Senator Lindsey Graham, loyal supporter of the former president.

But disagreements are likely to arise quickly when it comes to returning to the Iran nuclear deal.

Unlike his most illustrious recent predecessors, Antony Blinken is not a political heavyweight. Above all, rarely has Secretary of State been so close to the president of the world’s leading power: he was adviser to Joe Biden in the Senate and then when he was vice-president to Barack Obama, before being himself appointed vice-president. Secretary of State from 2015 to 2017.

However, the two men are not always on the same wavelength.

Joe Biden, after having voted for the war in Iraq in 2003, took a turn less interventionist, in tune with an America tired of “eternal wars””.

Marked by the powerlessness of the United States during the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, Antony Blinken continued to speak out in favor of military interventions in the name of human rights under the Obama administration.

Sometimes with success, such as when he pleaded for the sending of reinforcements to Afghanistan despite Joe Biden’s opposition.

Sometimes not, as in Syria, where the former Democratic president had opted for limited involvement. “We failed to prevent a horrible human tragedy,” he lamented in May on CBS. “It’s something I will never forget.”

– Diplomat-guitarist –

This attachment to human rights is largely due to his stepfather, Samuel Pisar, one of the youngest survivors of the Shoah, who survived the concentration camps before managing to escape.

During his Senate hearing, Antony Blinken recounted how, facing an American tank approaching his hiding place, the child, on his knees, had “uttered the only three words of English his mother had taught him:” God bless America “,” God bless America “”.

Samuel Pisar, a lawyer born in Poland, moved with his family to Paris, where Antony Blinken attended the prestigious Jeannine Manuel school. His biological father is a major investment banker and his mother, Judith Pisar, for years headed the American Center in Paris, a cultural and artistic institution.

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The Parisian years of Antony Blinken also saw the blossoming of his musical fiber.

His passion for rock followed him to Washington where, after studying at Harvard University, the guitarist played in a group featuring the Beatles classics and more recently took advantage of confinement to compose his own songs. With very relative success.

Before his appointment, about fifty people listened on average every month on the Spotify platform to the two songs of Ablinken – his artist name – rock ballads embellished with his tenor voice. A number multiplied by 50 for two months.

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