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In 1st major speech, Blinken overlooks Israel, Iran in foreign policy priorities

Jacob Magid is The Times of Israel's US correspondent based in New York

In his first major address as US secretary of state, Antony Blinken lists out the top eight foreign policy issues of the Biden administration, none of which include Israel or even the Iran nuclear threat.

Blinken stresses the need to fight the pandemic, address climate change, advocate for democracy and human rights, among other issues.

“These are the eight top priorities of the Biden administration. You may notice some things about that list. First, important items are not on it. That doesn’t mean that they don’t matter to us or that we won’t work hard on them,” Blinken says.

“Indeed, I look forward to setting out what we’ll do on other vital pieces of our foreign policy in the days and weeks ahead. But these priorities are the most urgent, the ones on which we must make swift and sustained progress. They’re also all simultaneously domestic and foreign issues and we’ve got to approach them that way or else we’ll fall short,” he explains.

While he asserts that “diplomacy, not military action will always come first,” the Biden administration “will never hesitate to use force when American lives and vital interests are at stake.”

“That’s why President Biden authorized an airstrike last week against Iranian-backed militia groups targeting US forces in Iraq,” he says.

“But in that case and in future cases when we must take military action, we will do so only when the objectives and mission are clear and achievable, consistent with our values and laws and with the informed consent of the American people. And we’ll do it together with American diplomacy.”

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