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Incoming U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken indicates Trump’s “America First” policy is over

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President Donald Trump’s “America First” policy is over, incoming U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken indicated on Tuesday.

In his acceptance speech in Wilmington, Delaware, following his nomination by President-elect Joseph R. Biden, Blinken said the United States needed to build alliances to thrive in the world.

“Now, we must proceed with equal measures of humility and confidence. Humility because most of the world’s problems are not about us, even as they affect us. We cannot flip a switch to solve them. We need to partner with others,” Blinken said.

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“But also, confidence, because America at its best still has a greater ability than any country on earth to bring others together to meet the challenges of our time.

“That’s where the men and women of the State Department — foreign service officers and civil servants — come in. I’ve witnessed their passion, energy, and courage to keep us safe, secure, and prosperous.  I’ve seen them bring luster to a word that deserves our support: diplomacy,” he added.

Read his full remarks as prepared for delivery.

President-elect Biden, Vice President-elect Harris: thank you for your trust and confidence. If confirmed by the Senate, I will do everything I can to earn it. 

Mr. President-elect, working for you — and having you as mentor and friend — has been the greatest privilege of my professional life. 

So many people have brought me to this day — from college classmates to bandmates, my colleagues in the Clinton and Obama administrations, in the Senate and at the State Department. I thank them and ask forgiveness for my insatiable appetite for bad puns.

Mostly, I thank my family — sisters and sisters-in law, brothers in-law, nieces and nephews, my wonderful in-laws, the Ryans — and especially my wife, Evan Ryan, and our children John and Lila. She and they are my greatest blessing.

For my family, as for so many generations of Americans, America has literally been the last best hope on earth.

My grandfather, Maurice Blinken, fled pogroms in Russia and made a new life in America. His son, my father Donald Blinken, served in the Air Force during WWII and then as an U.S. Ambassador. He is my role model and hero. 

His wife, Vera Blinken, fled communist Hungary as a young girl and helped future generations of refugees come to America.

My mother, Judith Pisar, builds bridges between America and the world through the arts and culture. She is my greatest champion.

And my late step-father, Samuel Pisar, was one of 900 children in his school in Bialystok, Poland, but the only one to survive the Holocaust after four years in concentration camps.

At the end of the war, he made a break from a death march into the Bavarian woods.  From his hiding place, he heard the rumbling sound of a tank. Instead of an Iron Cross, he saw a 5- pointed White Star.  

He ran to the tank. The hatch opened.  An African American GI looked down at him. He fell to his knees and said the only three words he knew in English that his mother had taught him:  God Bless America. The GI lifted him into the tank, into America, into freedom.

That’s who we are. 

That’s what America represents to the world, however imperfectly.  

Now, we must proceed with equal measures of humility and confidence. Humility because most of the world’s problems are not about us, even as they affect us. We cannot flip a switch to solve them. We need to partner with others.  

But also, confidence, because America at its best still has a greater ability than any country on earth to bring others together to meet the challenges of our time.

That’s where the men and women of the State Department — foreign service officers and civil servants — come in. I’ve witnessed their passion, energy, and courage to keep us safe, secure, and prosperous.  I’ve seen them bring luster to a word that deserves our support: diplomacy.  

If confirmed, it will be the honor of my life to help lead them.

Thank you.  

And may God Bless America.

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Simon Ateba
Simon Ateba
Based in Washington, District of Columbia, United States of America, Simon leads a brilliant team of reporters, freelance journalists, analysts, researchers and contributors from around the world to run TODAY NEWS AFRICA as editor-in-chief. Simon Ateba's journalistic experience spans over 10 years and covers many beats, including business and investment, information technology, politics, diplomacy, human rights, science reporting and much more. Write him: simonateba@todaynewsafrica.com

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