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Biden’s secretary of state nominee vows US will lead but restore alliances

US President-elect Joe Biden's nominee for secretary of state, Tony Blinken, speaks at The Queen theater, November 24, 2020, in Wilmington, Delaware. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
US President-elect Joe Biden's nominee for secretary of state, Tony Blinken, speaks at The Queen theater, November 24, 2020, in Wilmington, Delaware. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

WASHINGTON — Antony Blinken, US President-elect Joe Biden’s choice to be secretary of state, will vow today that the United States will “outcompete” a rising China while reviving frayed alliances, in a sea change from Donald Trump’s go-it-alone “America First” approach.

On the eve of Biden’s inauguration, Blinken is set to say at his confirmation hearing that the United States will seek to remain the preeminent global power but renew cooperation on common challenges such as COVID-19 and climate change.

“America at its best still has a greater ability than any country on earth to mobilize others for the greater good,” Blinken, a mild-mannered longtime aide to Biden, is to tell the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, according to his prepared remarks.

“We can outcompete China — and remind the world that a government of the people, by the people, can deliver for its people,” Blinken says, paraphrasing Abraham Lincoln’s paean to democracy, two weeks after a mob of Trump supporters ransacked the Capitol in hopes of overturning Biden’s victory.

The stepson of a Holocaust survivor who found refuge in the United States, Blinken, 58, is known for his passion on humanitarian causes.

He is expected to win Senate confirmation although Republicans have vowed to press him hard on his consulting work since leaving Barack Obama’s administration four years ago.

In a sharp shift in tone from Trump’s secretary of state Mike Pompeo — who spoke of “swagger,” “American exceptionalism” and global conflict with China — Blinken says he’ll show “humility.”

“Not one of the big challenges we face can be met by one country acting alone — even one as powerful as the US,” Blinken says.

“We can revitalize our core alliances – force multipliers of our influence around the world. Together, we are far better positioned to counter threats posed by Russia, Iran, and North Korea and to stand up for democracy and human rights.”

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