How Gulf states should deal with the Pro-Iran new US secretary of state Anthony Blinken?

6 mins read

by Mostapha Hassan Abdelwahab

Blinken is a living example of how the pro-Iran agenda will work, and how the ayatollahs will be favored under the Biden administration…

Biden’s pick for secretary of state is glad tidings for Iran and a tacit warning to its foes

US president-elect Joe Biden has announced his picks for Cabinet positions as he prepares to take over the White House after tense elections against the incumbent president Donald Trump. Among the names he tapped is Antony Blinken, who will act as the coming US secretary of state.

To many, including me, this pick is alarming. The Trump era’s foreign policy has been characterized by getting closer to the Gulf states and working hard to neutralize the ayatollahs in Iran. This paints a bleak picture for the situation in the Gulf and poses challenges to policymakers.

The fiery statements and powerful sanctions on Iran will soon evaporate when the Biden officials usher in performing their duties. The Iranian lobby will get more leverage on the US arena, with many friends in high places in the new US administration.

Under Joe Biden and his administration officials, working against Iran and imposing sanctions on it will be reversed. And this reversal will be further highlighted and given attention in order for the new administration to distance itself from the policies preceding one.

Backgrounds from the leftwing media can tell more

A report on the Guardian said the following:

Antony Blinken went to school in Paris, where he learned to play the guitar (he played Pink Floyd’s Another Brick in the Wall at graduation) and football, and harbored dreams of becoming a film-maker. Before entering the White House under Barack Obama, he used to play in a weekly soccer game with US officials, foreign diplomats and journalists, and he has two singles – love songs titled Lip Service and Patience – uploaded on Spotify.

He has been at the president-elect’s side for nearly two decades. After working in Bill Clinton’s national security council, he became Biden’s chief foreign policy adviser in the Senate in 2002, as staff director on the foreign relations committee, and he worked on Biden’s failed presidential bid in 2008.

After Obama picked Biden for vice-president, Blinken returned to the White House as his national security adviser. His face can be seen at the back of the room in the famous photograph of Obama officials monitoring the raid that killed Osama Bin Laden.

In the last two years of the Obama administration, Blinken served as deputy secretary of state. His return in the top job then is the embodiment of continuity. But in recent interviews he has acknowledged the mistakes and regrets of the Obama era.

On the decision not to intervene in any significant way in Syria (a decision Blinken opposed), he told CBS News: “We failed to prevent a horrific loss of life. We failed to prevent massive displacement … something I will take with me for the rest of my days.”

He signed an open letter with other former Obama officials in 2018 acknowledging that the initial support they gave to the Saudi war in Yemen had not succeeded in limiting or ending the war and had mutated into a blank cheque under the Trump administration, resulting in devastating civilian casualties. A Biden administration is expected to cut off military involvement in the conflict.

Those who know Blinken well insist that his commitment to human rights is genuine and rooted in experience. He is the stepson of a Holocaust survivor, Samuel Pisar, who lived through Auschwitz and Dachau and other camps and who went on to become a lawyer, writer and adviser to John F Kennedy. Blinken also worked in the Clinton White House on the interventions in Bosnia and Kosovo.

“He is somebody within the Obama administration and the Biden team who really understands the role that promoting and protecting human rights can play as advantageous to US policy,” said Rob Berschinski, who worked alongside Blinken as deputy assistant secretary of state for democracy, human rights and labor.

Since Biden won the Democratic nomination, Blinken has led an outreach effort to the left of the party, narrowing at least some differences, for example on Saudi Arabia and climate goals. News of his expected nomination was quickly welcomed by Matt Duss, Bernie Sanders’ chief foreign policy adviser.

“This is a good choice. Tony has the strong confidence of the president-elect and the knowledge and experience for the important work of rebuilding US diplomacy,” Duss wrote on Twitter. “It will also be a new and great thing to have a top diplomat who has regularly engaged with progressive grassroots.”

So, the truth is now plain. Blinken is a Democrat, worked under Obama and the Clintons and was a confidante of Biden. He is totally pro-Iran and anti-Saudi, according to leftwing media’s views of the incoming top diplomat.

Therefore, the exact opposite must be expected in terms of the line of foreign policy he will be pursuing. And the exact must be done in terms of the policies pursued by the countries which will be hard-hit by his policies.

The CNN’s words are much telling

The notion that Blinken is dangerous is not an opinion inspired by political affiliations or the fronts we support. The media, the anti-Trump media and the leftist media, says that he is-and must be- totally different from those who occupied the position under Obama, whether Rex Tillerson or Mike Pompeo.

In an interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos on Sunday, incoming Biden chief of staff Ron Klain emphasized the speed with which these first Cabinet picks will be made: “You’re going to see the first of the President-elect’s cabinet appointments on Tuesday of this week. Meeting the pace — beating, in fact, the pace that was set by the Obama/Biden transition, beating the pace set by the Trump transition.”

The message sent here by Biden is simple: Fixing America’s standing in the world — after four years of President Trump fighting our traditional allies and making nice with our longtime enemies — is absolutely urgent. There’s no time to waste.

The primacy of the secretary of state pick is meant to send that message not just to the federal bureaucracy, but, more importantly, to the world community. America is back to being America, Biden is saying. The last four years are an aberration. It is not who we will be.

The lines wrote in this report must be taken into consideration. I believe they are so dangerous that policymakers in the Gulf must analyze them and begin to look for ways to handle the looming disaster.

A staunch defender of Iran

Blinken has for years vociferously defended the Iran nuclear deal negotiated by President Barack Obama and abandoned by Trump despite its shortcomings, which include failing to address anything but Tehran’s atomic technology pursuits. 

‘Why the Iran Nuclear Deal Must Stand’ is an opinion piece published by Antony Blinken on the New York Times. In the piece, he staunchly defends Iran and the nuke deal, citing reasons why it should be kept in place.

“But President Obama also concluded that these same nefarious activities would be far more dangerous and difficult to confront if they were carried out under an Iranian nuclear umbrella. He was careful to calibrate additional pressure, in order to keep our international partners with us and prevent the nuclear deal from derailing.”

“The Trump administration could crank the pressure beyond the breaking point. For example, it could reimpose sanctions lifted by the nuclear deal under a non-nuclear rationale, which Tehran would interpret as a violation of the accord.”

The lines above display a total embrace of the Obama administration approach on the Iranian issue, while discrediting and attacking the Trump plans on the same issue, which he himself acknowledged in the article that it seeks a further protection of the US national security and a further curb on the loose terrorist activities by Iran and its proxy groups in the region.

In short, Blinken is a living example of how the pro-Iran agenda will work, and how the ayatollahs will be favored under the Biden administration. A strong counter-lobbying should begin now for reversing this situation or at least reducing the damage which could be incurred by those incoming foes.

Mostapha Hassan Abdelwahab is the former editorial manager of the English edition of the Baghdad Post and former account manager of UAE Forsan English. He is focusing on Iraqi and Iranian affairs, with articles posted on the Herald Report, Vocal Europe and other platforms.

Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Milli Chronicle’s point-of-view.

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