President-elect Joe Biden on Monday nominated Anthony Blinken as the new US Secretary of State. Blinken, an old State Department hand, has for over a decade been the chief of the foreign policy think tank of the former vice president. Understandably, Blinken's nomination hints at Biden's massive plans of resurrecting United States' ties with many foreign countries that had soured during outgoing President Donald Trump's era.
As a long-time foreign policy adviser to Biden, Blinken has also helped shape Biden's own views on the Middle East, China, Europe, Iran and India. In fact, Blinken in his acceptance speech also extensively described his stepfather's Holocaust-era rescue efforts. Needless to say, the remarks clearly signal Biden administration's commitment to reverse two policies of Trump's presidency â drawing down America's profile overseas and drastically cutting refugee intake.
However, a deeper look into Blinken's profile and his past has at the same time raised quite a few eyebrows for his reported ties with Hunter Biden. So, it won't come as a surprise if Blinken faces questions from Senate Republicans over the reported meetings he had with Hunter Biden.
Blinken's Jewish Roots
It has been years but Blinken hasn't forgotten the sufferings his family had to face during the Holocaust-era. He talked about his Jewish ancestors who were refugees and recounted how his stepfather, a Holocaust survivor, author and memoirist, made it to the United States.
"For my family, as for so many generations of Americans, America has literally been the last best hope on earth," Blinken said. "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 World War II and then as a US ambassador. He is my role model and hero," he said.
"And my late stepfather, 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," Blinken said.
Understandably, Biden's choice for Secretary of State comes with a purpose -- that of rebuilding America's image and reversing Trump's policy of drastically cutting down refugee intake.
Links with Hunter Biden?
That said, Blinken might become Biden's best bet to resurrect United States' ties with many foreign nations like China, Middle East, Iran and even some European countries but it may not be that easy, thanks to his son Hunter.
Hunter has already created enough problems for his father and his name continues to crop up in almost everything the President-elect has been trying to do. Blinken too finds his name linked to Hunter now. According to a report, Hunter sought a meeting with Blinken shortly after he joined the board of controversial Ukrainian energy company Burisma in 2015. Blinken was then the deputy secretary of state.
According to a Fox News report, Hunter had sent a mail to Blinken on May 22, 2015 that read: "Have a few minutes next week to grab a cup of coffee? I know you are impossibly busy, but would like to get your advice on a couple of things.
"Absolutely," Blinken had replied. Several follow-up emails were exchanged discussing logistics. On May 27, 2015, Blinken's assistant emailed Hunter with Blinken's schedule for that day, which included a 3.30 pm meeting between the two men. However, the meeting never materialized as Hunter's older brother, Beau, was terminally ill with brain cancer and died three days later, according to a report in The Washington Post last year.
According to Fox News, the emails were obtained last year in response to a Freedom of Information Act request. They were the subject of a November 2019 request for additional information from the State Department by Senators Chuck Grassley and Ron Johnson.
However, it is still unclear what came of that request.
The Other Side of Blinken
Blinken's nomination so far has had a mixed reaction but it is likely that he will be questioned by the Senate Republicans about his ties with Hunter before he finally gets appointed.
However, Blinken is not just known as a top diplomat and an expert on foreign policy but also a versatile person, who takes active interest in music. The French-speaking Blinken went to Harvard where he wrote for the Crimson. He is also a brilliant guitar player. He also has two singles -- 'Lip Service' and 'Patience' -- to his credit that can currently be found on Spotify.
He also played in a Parisian jazz band and later would bring out his guitar to jam to blues and Beatles with President Barack Obama's White House press secretary Jay Carney. Besides, he is also interested in films and has his name on the credit as the producer of the movie 'The Addiction', starring Lili Taylor and Christopher Walken.