US President-elect Joe Biden and his nominated Secretary of State Antony Blinken must show the American public that multilateralism will work before 2022 – a “tough hill to climb” – Anthony Gardner, former US ambassador to the EU, told FRANCE 24.
Biden announced on November 23 that he will nominate veteran foreign policy official Antony Blinken as foreign minister when he takes office in January. Blinken served as Deputy Secretary of State under Barack Obama from 2014 to 2017.
Gardner – who worked with Blinken as Washington’s envoy to Brussels from 2013 to 2017 – was full of praise for his former colleague: “I have seen him in some rather difficult high-pressure situations. He was responsible for leading the intermediate body after the Russian invasion of Crimea. There were many big egos around the table, but he never lost his cool. ”
After four years of Donald Trump’s “America First” foreign policy, Biden and Blinken will face a major challenge, Gardner said: “One of the major challenges will be: Can we show the American people over the next four years working with allies? “Cooperate with the institutions we built after World War II, give them better results than going it alone, unilaterally, bilaterally, transactionally as Donald Trump did, sometimes insulting allies or undermining Europe and really the EU? We have to make this case a success.”
“We have to do it in two years, before the by-election,” Gardner continued. “It will be a tough hill to climb though [Blinken] is the perfect person to do it. ”
The State Department was demoralized and abolished under Trump, and reviving it will be crucial, Gardner said: “It is difficult to imagine the extent [Blinken] is facing, not only foreign policy but also the reconstruction of the Foreign Ministry, which is truly demoralized.
“Probably a majority or even a large majority [of State Department staff] are Democrats, Gardner stated. “So they were seen as the enemy” under Trump. “They were starving for money. Trump tried several times to really fund the State Department, which is really not that big. ”
Click on the video player above to see the full interview.