Antony Blinken, the US president-elect’s incoming secretary of state, is expected to promise later on Tuesday to boost Washington’s international clout amid alleged rivalry emanating from China and Russia. Joe Biden nominated Blinken as the top US diplomat in late November 2020.
According to his prepared remarks to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, seen by Reuters, Blinken will warn of the consequences when the US is “not engaged” and when it “doesn’t’ lead”.
“Then one of two things happen: either some other country tries to take our place, but probably not in a way that advances our interests or values. Or no one does, and then you get chaos. Either way, that does not serve the American people”, the incoming secretary of state will claim.
He will also argue that America is going to “engage the world not as it was, but as it is”, referring to “a world of rising nationalism” and “receding democracy”.
According to Blinken, it is also a world of “growing rivalry with China, Russia, and other authoritarian states, mounting threats to a stable and open international system, and a technological revolution that is reshaping every aspect of our lives, especially in cyberspace”.
The remarks will come just a day ahead of the inauguration of Joe Biden, a ceremony that will be, among others, attended by Russian diplomats. In a separate development, Biden asked John Sullivan to continue to serve as US ambassador to Russia, Bloomberg cited unnamed sources as saying.
On the other hand, reports emerged late last month claiming that Biden’s team may consider a spate of options "to punish" Moscow over its alleged role in a recent massive hacking of US government agencies and companies when the president-elect takes office in January.
Moscow denied the hacking accusations, pointing to the lack of evidence, which was also highlighted by Russian President Vladimir Putin during his annual press conference on 17 December.
He noted at the time that the hack-related anonymous sources cited by US media are American officials and intelligence agencies, which previously pushed groundless accusations against Russia’s interference in the 2016 US presidential election.
A spokesperson for the Chinese Embassy in Washington rejected the allegations as “fact-distorting” and hypocritical, adding that they indicated “the entrenched Cold-War mindset and ideological prejudices of some people on the US side”.