Antony John Blinken (born 16 April 1962) is an American government official and diplomat serving as the 71st United States secretary of state since January 26, 2021. He previously served as deputy national security advisor from 2013 to 2015 and deputy secretary of state from 2015 to 2017 under President Barack Obama.
During the Clinton administration, Blinken served in the State Department and in senior positions on the National Security Council from 1994 to 2001. He was a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies from 2001 to 2002. He advocated for the 2003 invasion of Iraq while serving as the Democratic staff director of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee from 2002 to 2008. He was a foreign policy advisor for Joe Biden's unsuccessful 2008 presidential campaign, before advising the Obama–Biden presidential transition.
- Media freedom plays an indispensable role in informing the public, holding governments accountable, and telling stories that otherwise would not be told. The U.S. will continue to stand up for the brave and necessary work of journalists around the world.
- Statement on Media Freedom (December 2021)
- Yesterday, President Biden said that in his opinion, war crimes have been committed in Ukraine. Personally, I agree. Intentionally targeting civilians is a war crime. After all the destruction of the past three weeks, I find it difficult to conclude that the Russians are doing otherwise. The consequences of Moscow's war are being felt around the world ... We'll make sure that our findings help international efforts to investigate war crimes and hold those responsible accountable.
- Russia has sought as its principal aim to totally subjugate Ukraine — to take away its sovereignty, to take away its independence. That has failed. It’s sought to assert the power of its military and its economy. We of course are seeing just the opposite — a military that is dramatically underperforming; an economy, as a result of sanctions, as a result of a mass exodus from Russia, that is in shambles. And it’s sought to divide the West and NATO; of course, we’re seeing exactly the opposite … We don’t know how the rest of this war will unfold, but we do know that a sovereign, independent Ukraine will be around a lot longer than Vladimir Putin is on the scene. And our support for Ukraine going forward will continue.
- To our Russian colleagues: Ukraine is not your country. Its grain is not your grain. Why are you blocking the ports? You should let the grain out.
- As quoted in "Vladimir Putin lackey Sergey Lavrov storms out of G20 after photo snub", New York Post (8 July 2022)
- It’s a tremendous opportunity to once and for all remove the dependence on Russian energy and thus to take away from Vladimir Putin the weaponization of energy as a means of advancing his imperial designs. That’s very significant and that offers tremendous strategic opportunity for the years to come, but meanwhile we’re determined to do everything we possibly can to make sure the consequences of all of this are not borne by citizens in our countries or, for that matter, around the world.
- Joint Press Conference With Canadian Foreign Minister Mélanie Joly (September 2022)
- As many here know, Hamas launched its attack on Simchat Torah. This is the day that Jews celebrate finishing the reading of the Torah. This Saturday, Jews around the world will chant the first words of the book of Genesis. They’ll read that in the beginning, there was darkness; and then there was light. That the first person was alone until a partner joined them.
I’m standing here today alongside our Israeli friends and all those who reject terror to help find the glimmers of light, even in this moment of deep darkness, and to make clear as that as long as there’s a United States, Israel will never be alone.
Press conference in Brussels (4 March 2022) edit
- The international rules-based order that’s critical to maintaining peace and security is being put to the test by Russia’s unprovoked and unjustified invasion of Ukraine.
The Kremlin’s attacks are inflicting an ever-increasing toll on civilians there. Hundreds if not thousands of Ukrainians have been killed, many more wounded, as have citizens of other countries. More than a million refugees have fled Ukraine to neighboring countries. Millions of people across Ukraine are trapped in increasingly dire conditions as Russia destroys more critical infrastructure. For example, Mariupol’s mayor says that most of the besieged city’s residents are living without water, without electricity, without heat. Bridges to the city have been destroyed. Women, children, growing ranks of wounded civilians cannot get out. Food and medical supplies cannot get in. The mayor wrote today, and I quote, “We are simply being destroyed.” The world has seen Russia use these grisly tactics before in Syria, in Chechnya.
Meanwhile, Russia’s reckless operation around the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant risked a catastrophe, a nuclear incident. The Kremlin should immediately cease all attacks around Ukrainian nuclear facilities and allow civilian personnel to do their work to ensure the facility’s safety and security, as both the IAEA director general and a resolution adopted yesterday by the agency’s board of governors have called on Russia to do.
- Yesterday, President Putin said his so-called “special military operation” is proceeding exactly as planned. Well, it’s hard to imagine that his plan included inspiring the Ukrainian people to defend their country with such tenacity; strengthening the resolve and solidarity of NATO and the EU; uniting the world in opposition to Moscow, including 141 countries at the United Nations; an unprecedented number of international businesses, associations, cultural institutions that have cut ties with Russia; causing the Russian economy to go into freefall; motivating tens of thousands of Russians to protest and countless more to leave the country; and increasingly turning Russia into a pariah state. If that was President Putin’s plan, well, you can say it’s working. Russia has never been so isolated; we have never been more united.
But let me reiterate one thing because it’s very important: We take these actions not because we oppose the Russian people – we do not. We regret that tens of millions of Russians will suffer because of the dangerous decisions made by a tiny circle of corrupt leaders and their cronies who have consistently put their interests above those of the Russian people, who are doing everything they can to hide their war of choice from the Russian public.
- We’ll deepen our support for Ukraine’s brave defenders and for the Ukrainian civilians suffering as a result of the deepening humanitarian crisis. We’ll continue to raise the cost of President Putin and all who carry out and enable his war of choice and the devastation that it’s causing. We’ll continue to strengthen our capacity to defend our collective security and deter further escalation by Russia, including by upholding our Article 5 commitment that an attack on one is an attack on all. NATO is a defensive Alliance. We’ve never sought and will not seek conflict with Russia. But as President Biden has said, we will defend every inch of NATO territory. No one should doubt America’s readiness or our resolve.
At the same time, we’ll keep open the door to dialogue and diplomacy while making clear to the Kremlin that unless it changes course, it will continue down the road of increasing isolation and economic pain. And we’ll support Ukraine in its talks with Russia to reach a ceasefire and the unconditional withdrawal of Russian forces, something that Foreign Minister Kuleba and I have been discussing on a daily basis. In the meantime, we are working urgently with the Government of Ukraine, the ICRC, and others to create humanitarian corridors that will allow civilians to get out of Ukraine’s besieged cities and to allow food, medicine, and other vital supplies to get in. Russia’s attack created this humanitarian crisis. Now, all countries have a responsibility to pressure the Kremlin to alleviate at least some of the misery that it has wrought.
- Of all the consequences of Moscow’s unprovoked attack, one of the most unexpected is the spark it has lit in people around the world who have come out to demonstrate for freedom, for the rights of Ukrainians. That includes valiant individuals in places where protesting the Kremlin’s war means risking arrest, beatings, or worse, as thousands of Russians and Belarusians have done. For years, we’ve seen the dangerous tide rolling back democracy and human rights and undercutting the rules-based order, fueled in no small part by Moscow. With this brutal invasion, we, our European allies and partners, and people everywhere are being reminded of just how much is at stake. Now, we see the tide of democracy rising to the moment.
Remarks at Meeting of NATO Foreign Ministers (7 April 2022) edit
- The United States continues to work methodically to collect, to preserve, to analyze evidence of atrocities and to make this information available to the appropriate bodies. We’re supporting a multinational team of experts that’s assisting a war crimes unit set up by Ukraine’s prosecutor general, with a view toward eventually pursuing criminal accountability. These efforts will also ensure that Russia cannot escape the verdict of history.
Just moments ago, as I was coming into this room, I learned that UN member states had come together once again to condemn Russia’s aggression and suspend it from the Human Rights Council. A country that’s perpetrating gross and systematic violations of human rights should not sit on a body whose job it is to protect those rights.
- I can say unequivocally from my discussions with many colleagues here in recent days, colleagues from around the globe, the revulsion at what the Russian Government is doing is palpable. There’s a greater determination than ever to stand with Ukraine, to shore up and revitalize the international order that Moscow is trying to upend, to bring to bear even greater costs on the Russian Government, to ensure that people are held accountable for their crimes.
UN Security Council meeting on Ukrainian Sovereignty and Russian Accountability (September 2022) edit
- Address to the United Nations Security Council Ministerial Meeting on Ukrainian Sovereignty and Russian Accountability (22 September 2022)
- We hear a lot about the divisions among countries at the United Nations. But recently, what is striking is the remarkable unity among member-states when it comes to Russia's war on Ukraine. Leaders from countries developing and developed, big and small, north and south have spoken in the General Assembly about the consequences of this war and the need to end it. And they've called on all of us to reaffirm our commitment to the UN Charter and its core principles, including sovereignty, territorial integrity, human rights.
Even a number of nations that maintain close ties with Moscow have said publicly that they have serious questions and concerns about President Putin's ongoing invasion.
Rather than change course, however, President Putin has doubled down — choosing not to end the war but to expand it; not to pull troops back but to call 300,000 additional troops up; not to ease tensions but to escalate them through the threat of nuclear weapons; not to work toward a diplomatic solution but to render such a solution impossible by seeking to annex more Ukrainian territory through sham referenda.
That President Putin picked this week, as most of the world gathers at the United Nations, to add fuel to the fire that he started, shows his utter contempt for the UN Charter, for the General Assembly, and for this council.
The very international order that we have gathered here to uphold is being shredded before our eyes. We cannot — we will not — allow President Putin to get away with it.
- Defending Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity is about much more than standing up for one nation's right to choose its own path, fundamental as that right is. It's also about protecting an international order where no nation can redraw the borders of another by force.
If we fail to defend this principle when the Kremlin is so flagrantly violating it, we send a message to aggressors everywhere that they can ignore it, too. We put every country at risk. We open the door to a less secure, a less peaceful world.
We see what that world looks like in the parts of Ukraine controlled by Russian forces. Wherever the Russian tide recedes, we discover the horror that's left in its wake.
- As we assemble here, Ukrainian and international investigators continue to exhume bodies outside of Izyum, a city Russian forces controlled for six months before they were driven out by a Ukrainian counteroffensive. One site contains some 440 unmarked graves. A number of the bodies unearthed there so far reportedly show signs of torture, including one victim with broken arms and a rope around his neck.
Survivors' accounts are also emerging, including a man who described being tortured by Russian forces for a dozen days, during which his interrogators repeatedly electrocuted him and, in his words, and I quote, "beat me to the point where I didn't feel anything," end quote.
These are not the acts of rogue units. They fit a clear pattern across the territory controlled by Russian forces.
This is one of the many reasons that we support a range of national and international efforts to collect and examine the mounting evidence of war crimes in Ukraine. We must hold the perpetrators accountable for these crimes.
It's also one of the reasons why more than 40 nations have come together to help the Ukrainian people defend themselves, a right that is enshrined in Article 51 of the United Nations Charter.
- The more setbacks Russian forces endure on the battlefield, the greater the pain they are inflicting on Ukrainian civilians. Russian attacks on dams, on bridges, on power stations, on hospitals, on other civilian infrastructure are increasing, constituting a brazen violation of international humanitarian law.
This week, President Putin said that Russia would not hesitate to use, and I quote, "all weapons systems available," end quote, in response to a threat to its territorial integrity, a threat that is all the more menacing given Russia's intention to annex large swaths of Ukraine in the days ahead. When that's complete, we can expect President Putin will claim any Ukrainian effort to liberate this land as an attack on so-called "Russian territory."
This from a country that in January of this year, in this place, joined other permanent members of the Security Council in signing a statement affirming that, and I quote, "nuclear war can never be won and must never be fought." Yet another example of how Russia violates the commitments it's made before this body, and yet another reason why nobody should take Russia at its word today.
- Russia's effort to annex more Ukrainian territory is another dangerous escalation, as well as a repudiation of diplomacy.
It is even more alarming when coupled with the filtration operation that Russian forces have been carrying out across parts of Ukraine that they control. Now, this is a diabolical strategy, violently uprooting thousands of Ukrainians, bus in Russians to replace them, call a vote, manipulate the results to show near unanimous support for joining the Russian Federation. This is right out of the Crimea playbook.
As with Crimea, it's imperative that every member of this council, and for that matter, every member of the United Nations reject the sham referenda and unequivocally declare that all Ukrainian territory is and will remain part of Ukraine, and no Russian claim to annex territory can take away Ukraine's right to defend its own land.
- Russia for months blocked the export of Ukrainian grain to the world, until the United Nations and Turkey secured a deal to let the grain go. And Russia continues to bomb and seize Ukrainian farms and silos, line its wheat fields with landmines, raising the cost of food for people everywhere.
And while governments around the world are teaming up with international organizations, with the private sector, with philanthropies to end this pandemic and make sure that we're better prepared for the next one, Russia is spreading misinformation and disinformation about WHO-approved vaccines — fueling vaccine hesitancy that puts people in all our countries at greater risk.
- Here is the reality: None of us chose this war. Not the Ukrainians, who knew the crushing toll it would take. Not the United States, which warned that it was coming and worked to prevent it. Not the vast majority of countries at the United Nations.
And neither did our people, or the people of virtually every UN member-state, who are feeling the war's consequences in greater food insecurity and higher energy prices.
Nor did the Russian mothers and fathers whose children are being sent off to fight and die in this war, or the Russian citizens who continue to risk their freedom to protest against it, including those who came out into the streets of Moscow after President Putin announced his mobilization to chant, "Let our children live!"
Indeed, it must be asked: How has this aggression against Ukraine by President Putin improved the lives or prospects of a single Russian citizen?
One man chose this war. One man can end it.
Because if Russia stops fighting, the war ends. If Ukraine stops fighting, Ukraine ends.
That's why we will continue to support Ukraine as it defends itself, and strengthen its hand to achieve a diplomatic solution on just terms at a negotiating table. As President Zelenskyy has said repeatedly, diplomacy is the only way to end this war. But diplomacy cannot and must not be used as a cudgel to impose on Ukraine a settlement that cuts against the UN Charter, or rewards Russia for violating it.
- President Putin is making his choice. Now it's up to all of our countries to make ours.
Tell President Putin to stop the horror that he started. Tell him to stop putting his interests above the interests of the rest of the world, including his own people. Tell him to stop debasing this council and everything it stands for.
"We the people of the United Nations determined…" That is how the preamble of the UN Charter starts. Let's not forget that "we the peoples" still get to choose the fate of this institution and our world. The stakes are clear. The choice is ours. Let's make the right choice for the world that we want and that our people so desperately deserve.
- The story (11/22/20) that informed New York Times readers that Antony Blinken would be named secretary of State didn’t even mention WestExec, the corporate consulting firm he co-founded... in a profile on Blinken (11/22/20), a team of three Times reporters explained that his extensive foreign policy credentials are expected to help calm American diplomats and global leaders alike after four years of the Trump administration’s ricocheting strategies and nationalist swaggering. Lara Jakes, Michael Crowley and David E. Sanger found space to note that Blinken had earned “admirers even among conservative Republicans in Congress,” and that he also has a lighter side that may not be immediately evident when he is seen testifying or meeting foreign diplomats. He plays in a band. He has a tight group of close friends from his days as a student at Harvard and his rise through the Washington foreign policy firmament. Yet nowhere did they reveal his role at WestExec (or mention how progressives feel about his hawkish worldview).
- Even after its own in-depth WestExec piece, the Times continued to elide that information in other reporting. A piece by White House correspondent Annie Karni (11/29/20) reported that Biden had “announced an all-female White House communications staff, with Jennifer Psaki, a veteran of the Obama administration, in the most visible role as White House press secretary.” The piece noted Psaki’s previous experience working for both Obama and John Kerry, the fact that she and many others on the team were “mothers of young children,” and that she “said she saw her job as trying to ‘rebuild trust of the American people.'” Yet it didn’t mention her role with WestExec, reported the day before by her Times colleagues, nor how that might impact Psaki’s trust-building mission.... A later piece (12/1/20) on Biden’s communications team perfunctorily noted, in a paragraph on Psaki’s past experience, that she “has served a principal at WestExec Advisors, a consulting firm founded by Antony J. Blinken,
- Secretary of State Tony Blinken has recently said that the US should “squeeze North Korea,” and cut off its access to resources, to get North Korea to the negotiating table.... How do we actually get to peace, and prevent the risk of a nuclear war? And our solution is to get to the root of the problem, and that is the unresolved Korean War. So I just want to stress the urgency of this issue....On the other hand, at North Korea’s Workers’ Party Congress last month, Kim Jong-un said they will continue to develop nuclear weapons unless there is a fundamental change in US policy. So I believe that unless something shifts, the stage is actually set for another nuclear standoff. And I believe it’s not a question of if, it’s a question of when.
- Losses on both sides were profound — U.S. secretary of state Antony Blinken, May 25 press conference with Israel’s prime minister Netanyahu in Israel, AlJazeera....
(All of the following li(n)es were uttered during the same press conference.) Yes. Losses were profound. But not on both sides. On one side, among Palestinians, of whom 253 were killed, including 66 children, and 2,000 injured, including 200 who may suffer from long-term disability. None of this would’ve happened if it wasn’t for the continuing U.S. policy of showering Israel with unconditional military, diplomatic and political support.
Casualties are often reduced to numbers. — Antony Blinken Well that depends on whether you’re looking for details or not. Let’s go behind some of these numbers Blinken is referring to, starting with Bashar Ahmad Ibrahim Samour. Bashar was just 17 years old when Israeli forces targeted him with the help of the United States’ continuing bipartisan silence of mass destruction, which currently amounts to $3.8 billion of military aid, every year. That’s almost $500,000 of U.S. taxpayer dollars spent every hour of every day on the Occupation and resulting atrocities committed by Israel on Palestinians like Bashar....
- As the prime minister mentioned we had a detailed discussion about Israel’s security needs including replenishing Iron Dome. — Antony Blinken
“Replenishing Iron Dome” indeed. Maybe the focus on Israel’s missile defense system has something to do with the fact that Israel was caught off guard by the Palestinian resistance, with their bodies and rocks in hand ready to use for self-defense, in response to Israel’s increasing attempts of ethnic cleansing in Jerusalem; the rockets that were launched by Hamas and other resistance factions after Israel refused to meet their demands that included withdrawing its military forces from the Al-Aqsa mosque and from the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood — all of which led to the latest round of hostilities.
We know that to prevent a return to violence we have to use the space created to address a larger set of underlying issues and challenges. And that begins with tackling the great humanitarian situation in Gaza and starting to rebuild. — Antony Blinken,
Bravo, Blinken! And if you have to break things down to numbers, maybe you can start by responding to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights’ (OHCHR) appeal by defunding Israel and handing over about 2.5 percent of the monies — $95 million — to them? They need it for “immediate humanitarian and early recovery responses for the coming 3 months, requesting… to address the needs of 1.1 million Palestinians, in the areas of protection, health, water and sanitation, education and food security.”
- Nearly two decades ago, the Central Intelligence Agency began its sadistic program of torture and abuse, and the Department of Defense created a prison at Guantanamo to evade U.S. law... On July 16, military prosecutors finally asked to erase information obtained through torture and abuse. Several days later, the Biden administration transferred its first detainee out of Gitmo, repatriating a Moroccan man who had been cleared for release five years ago... Secretary of State Antony Blinken audaciously claimed that it is difficult to transfer detainees until the United States receives assurances that the “rights of these people will be protected in that country.” In other words, the senior diplomat of the country that tortured and abused hundreds of captives; violated various Geneva Conventions by kidnapping individuals and turning them over to countries such as Syria and Pakistan that conduct torture and abuse; created secret prisons throughout East Europe and Southeast Asia; and used Guantanamo to circumvent U.S. laws is now concerned about the health and safety of these abused individuals.
Over the years, false statements from government officials have been treated as facts by the mainstream media. Perhaps Blinken is unaware that many U.S. captives who were turned over to third countries were actually released by those countries for lack of sufficient evidence of culpability.
- US national security adviser Jake Sullivan and secretary of state Antony Blinken spoke with their Danish counterparts on Tuesday about the suspicious leaks of the pipelines, which Sullivan described as “apparent sabotage”.... Ned Price, US state department spokesperson...[said] Blinken spoke with Denmark’s foreign minister Jeppe Kofod, adding: “The United States remains united with our allies and partners in our commitment to promoting European energy security.”
- Denmark, Germany and Poland warn of ‘sabotage’ after Nord Stream leaks, 'Financial Times, September 27, 2022
- In a patently political decision, the U.K. High Court reversed the British lower court’s denial of extradition of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to the United States on a narrow ground, despite the recent revelations of a CIA plot to kidnap and assassinate him... Assange was charged by the Trump administration with violation of the Espionage Act for revealing evidence of U.S. war crimes in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantánamo Bay.... Two days before the High Court ruling,” U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken declared at the so-called Summit for Democracy, “Media freedom plays an indispensable role in informing the public, holding governments accountable, and telling stories that otherwise would not be told. The U.S. will continue to stand up for the brave and necessary work of journalists around the world.”
If Assange is tried, convicted and imprisoned for doing what journalists routinely do, it will send a chilling message to journalists that they publish material critical of the U.S. government at their peril.
But by vigorously pursuing Assange’s extradition, the U.S. is doing precisely the opposite. The prosecution of Assange is the first time a journalist has been indicted under the Espionage Act for publishing truthful information.
- Marjorie Cohn, "British Court Trusts US to Protect Assange Even Though CIA Plotted to Kill Him", Truthout (December 15, 2021)
- Opposition to Nord Stream 2 flared on the eve of the Biden inauguration in January 2021, when Senate Republicans, led by Ted Cruz of Texas, repeatedly raised the political threat of cheap Russian natural gas during the confirmation hearing of Blinken as Secretary of State.
- Seymour Hersh, https://seymourhersh.substack.com/p/how-america-took-out-the-nord-stream "How America Took Out The Nord Stream Pipeline"] (February 8, 2023), Substack
- A unified Senate had successfully passed a law that, as Cruz told Blinken, “halted [the pipeline] in its tracks.”... Would Biden stand up to the Germans? Blinken said yes, but added that he had not discussed the specifics of the incoming President’s views. “I know his strong conviction that this is a bad idea, the Nord Stream 2,” he said. “I know that he would have us use every persuasive tool that we have to convince our friends and partners, including Germany, not to move forward with it.”
- Seymour Hersh, https://seymourhersh.substack.com/p/how-america-took-out-the-nord-stream "How America Took Out The Nord Stream Pipeline"] (February 8, 2023), Substack
- While it was never clear why Russia would seek to destroy its own lucrative pipeline, a more telling rationale for the President’s action came from Secretary of State Blinken. Asked at a press conference last September about the consequences of the worsening energy crisis in Western Europe, Blinken described the moment as a potentially good one.