1-Who is @ABlinken Biden’s nominee for the Secretary of State? A very good summary of @guardian. theguardian.com/us-news/2020/n… and priceless piece on his life and background washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/styl… Here mainly a Balkan angle. My thread
2-Antony Blinken is a seasoned diplomat involved with the US foreign policy ever since the Clinton years. He is usually described as a “pragmatic realist” and, like Biden, a “liberal internationalist”
3-From 1999 to 2001, he was a Senior Director for European and Canadian Affairs. From 2002 he went to the Senate to work as the staff director for the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee and ever since then he is Biden’s main man on foreign and security policy
5-From 2009 to 2013, Blinken served as Deputy Assistant to the President and National Security Advisor to the Vice President and was involved in crafting many foreign policy milestones of that administration. The Iran nuclear deal, on Afghanistan, Pakistan...
6-He was very much a man behind the Obama administration’s response to the Russian annexation of Crimea in 2014 and a strong supporter of the sanctions regime in response to that crisis
7-Looking for access to the future US President, European politicians were advised the following “If you don’t know Joe, then you better know Tony [Blinken]”. That’s how close he is to the new President
8-Blinken’s links with Europe are deep and long-lasting. Not only his life story (a perfect Francophone who went to school in France, played in a French Jazz band, learned how to play the guitar and soccer), but the story of his family is deeply interwoven with the European one
9-He is a son of a former US Ambassador to Hungary Donald Blinken (1994-97), NYC "giant in investment capital", and a WW2 veteran. Donald's wife Vera, Antony's stepmother, is born in Budapest and was only 5 years old when Nazi’s invaded Budapest in 1944
9- Not only did Antony’s father have to deal with issues such as Hungary’s democratization, entry into NATO, but his term was very much affected by the Balkan wars. Here a photo of Antony and his stepmother veradonaldblinken.com/wp-content/gal…
10-Blinken is involved with US foreign policy in the Balkans ever since he served as the Chief foreign policy speechwriter in the National Security Council Speechwriting Directorate from 1994 to1998
11-Here a speech written for Clinton to announce the deployment of OSCE Kosovo Verification Mission that was to oversee the implementation of the UN SC res. 1203 to end Milosevic's regime actions in Kosovo. clinton.presidentiallibraries.us/items/show/9900
12-Later in his diplomatic career he was involved in the implementation of the US policy in the Balkans. Here an example of supporting Kosovo’s membership in UNESCO in 2015
13-And has personally met many of the sitting and former Balkan leaders. Some examples: Vucic washington.mfa.gov.rs/newstext.php?s… Thaci etc.
14-Today's reactions in Serbia were fear that this appointment will bring an automatic anti-Serbian bias to the very heart of the new US administration. Other Western Balkan countries pundits welcomed the appointment thinking it will automatically favor their national goals
15-These views are naïve, flawed and deeply provincial. The appointment of Blinken, nicknamed “defender of global alliances” is likely to reinforce the European approach and policy in the Western Balkans. Hopefully also give it an additional sense of direction
16-We are living in a profoundly different World than we did in 1990s. The US is no longer, cannot be and is not ready to play the role of a lonely post-Cold War “virtuous hegemon”. Milosevic died 15 years ago the last of the 1990s wars ended 2 decades ago.
17-The main task of Bliken as Secretary of State will be to undo the damage created during the long four years of the Trump administration.
18-Challenges faced in the Balkans are a trifle in comparison to other areas of the World and the biggest task of the new US administration would be how to help/encourage the EU to resolve the outstanding issues: such as resolve Serbia-Kosovo dispute and complete EU enlargement
19-Another change with respect to the Trump administration’s Europe policy that may have an indirect effect on the Balkans strongmen, will be enforcing the European mainstream, and stop unnecessarily cozying up to autocratic leaders such as Orban and Vucic.
20-Whichever direction US foreign policy goes (for a good summary of the team, possible directions I warmly recommend this article politico.eu/article/joe-bi…) the likely outcome of Bliken's appointment will be a reinforced and united EU role in the Balkans, which is very good news

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More from @srdjancvijic

20 Nov
1-The election of the new 46th Serbian Patriarch (Full title: Archbishop of Peć, Metropolitan of Belgrade and Karlovci, and Serbian Patriarch), who are the candidates, the election process and what's at stake. My thread
2-During the period of interregnum, the church will be lead by a caretaker, most probably Hrizostom, the Metropolitan Bishop of Dabrobosna, Archbishop of Sarajevo and Exarch of all Dalmatia. A Bishop unlikely to become the Patriarch
3-How is the new patriarch elected? The Assembly of Bishops of the SPC votes. It elects 3 candidates who win most votes. Their names are written on 3 pieces of paper and placed in the Bible. The oldest of the archimandrites (superior abbot) prays over it the entire night
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