WASHINGTON – “Diplomacy is Back” and America will be “a Land of Welcome”.
These were just two of the policy changes members of President-elect Joe Biden’s national security team had pledged to adopt at an event Tuesday to unveil Biden’s choices for top cabinet positions.
Biden said his candidates would “restore America globally, its global leadership and moral leadership, and ensure that our service members, diplomats and intelligence officials can do their jobs free of politics.”
On the stage in Wilmington, Delaware, along with Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, Antony Blinken, his election as Secretary of State; Alejandro Mayorkas, Biden’s decision to head the Department of Homeland Security; Avril Haines, his expected candidate for director of the National Intelligence Service; Jake Sullivan, the incoming National Security Advisor; Linda Thomas-Greenfield, who was won as ambassador to the United Nations; and former Secretary of State John Kerry, who will take on a newly created role as Special Envoy on Climate Change.
The event provided the first opportunity for millions of Americans to hear directly from its candidates, who have decades of foreign policy experience but are not necessarily household names.
Taken together, their remarks previewed a foreign policy approach that appears to be diametrically opposed to that which President Donald Trump has pursued over the past four years.
There were no corporate executives or military officers appointed to high positions, no talk of “America first,” no reference to raids on immigration or refugees, and no suggestions that US foreign policy must serve economic interests through trade and bilateral purchase agreements.
Instead, candidates spoke of the importance of restoring America’s moral leadership, promoting human rights, and strengthening multilateral relationships with allies and democracies around the world.
While few Republicans doubted the raw qualifications of Biden’s nominees, GOP senators were grumbling about the new approach on Tuesday. Biden will likely need the votes of at least some Republicans to validate his candidates for their posts.
“Biden’s cabinet selection went to Ivy League schools, has a strong résumé, attends the right conferences, and will politely and properly bring America down,” Senator Marco Rubio, R-Fla., Tweeted Tuesday. “I support American greatness and I have no interest in going back to the ‘normal’ that made us dependent on China.”
However, judging from Biden’s earlier statements on China, his new government is ready to take a tougher line with America’s greatest economic adversary as President Barack Obama.
Here are some highlights from the nominees:
Blinken: “We have to act with the same level of humility and trust. Humility because, as the President-elect said, we cannot solve all the world’s problems on our own. We have to work with other countries, we need their cooperation and we need theirs Partnership. But also trust, 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. “
Mayorkas: “The Department of Homeland Security has a noble mission to protect us and advance our proud history as a land of welcome. My father and mother brought me to this country to escape communism. They valued our democracy and took great pride in becoming citizens of the United States, just like me. ”
Thomas-Greenfield: “My colleagues, diplomats and officials around the world. Let me tell you America is back. Multilateralism is back. Diplomacy is back.”
Haines: Mr. President-Elect, you know that I have never shied away from telling the truth to Power and that will be my job as Director of National Intelligence … you would never want me to do anything else, and you would appreciate the perspective of the intelligence community [and] will do so even if what I have to say may be impractical or difficult. And I assure you there will be those times. ”
Sullivan: Mr. President-Elect, “You have also asked us to put people at the center of our foreign policy. You have told us what alliances we are rebuilding, what institutions we have, what agreements we sign, all of which should be judged by one basic question – will this make life better, easier and safer for families in this country? “
Kerry: “The road ahead is exciting. It means creating millions of middle class jobs, it means less pollution in our air and oceans, it means making the lives of citizens around the world healthier, and it means to strengthen everyone’s security. ” Nation in the world. In addressing the climate crisis, President-elect Joe Biden is determined to seize the future now and give future generations a healing planet. “