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Biden Names Choices For Top Diplomatic and Security Positions


FILE PHOTO: U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken listens to journalists' questions during a news conference, at a hotel in Mexico City April 30, 2015. (REUTERS/Henry Romero/File Photo)
Biden Names Choices For Top Diplomatic and Security Positions
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President-elect Joe Biden on Monday named several officials from former President Barack Obama’s administration to fill top national security positions.

The six named included Antony Blinken to be secretary of state for the incoming administration and Jake Sullivan as National Security Adviser. Biden also named Avril Haines to serve as director of national intelligence. She would be the first woman to hold that position. Former Secretary of State John Kerry was another former Obama officials named.

The choices signal a sharp break from President Donald Trump’s “America First” policies that reshaped international alliances and agreements often causing tensions.

Blinken is a longtime Biden foreign policy adviser. He served in the second highest position at the State Department. He also was deputy national security adviser under President Barack Obama, while Biden was vice president.

Blinken and Sullivan have helped Biden form a plan that will include immediate talks with American allies. Reports say the plan calls for working with other countries on worldwide problems like the coronavirus crisis and the economic damage it has caused.

Biden has promised to rejoin a nuclear deal with Iran if that country returns to compliance. The president-elect also plans to return the United States to the Paris climate agreement. He said he plans to keep the U.S. in the World Health Organization and end a U.S. rule that bans financial support to aid groups that support abortion. Each move would cancel Trump administration policies.

The 58-year-old Blinken has pushed the idea that the United States needs to take an active leadership position in the world or countries like China will do so.

People with knowledge of his working methods describe Blinken as a “diplomat’s diplomat.” They say he is thoughtful, relatively soft-spoken and knowledgeable on foreign policy operating processes.

Biden also named former Secretary of State John Kerry for a newly created position of climate diplomat for national security. Kerry helped negotiate the 2015 Paris climate agreement and also the Iran nuclear deal during the Obama administration.

Jake Sullivan was a policy assistant to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. He served as Biden’s national security adviser when he was vice president.

Avril Haines is a former deputy director of the Central Intelligence Agency and a deputy national security adviser.

Trump and his campaign continue to dispute the results of the elections November 3.

In announcing the appointments, Monday, Biden said, “We have no time to lose when it comes to our national security and foreign policy. I need a team ready on Day One to help me reclaim America’s seat at the head of the table.”

I’m Caty Weaver.

Caty Weaver wrote this report based on reports from Reuters and The Associated Press news agencies. Mario Ritter, Jr. was the editor.

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Words in This Story

compliance –n. the process of doing what is asked, ordered or required by law

abortion –n. a medical operation used to end a pregnancy which causes the death of the fetus

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