The crisis that marked Blinken’s first year

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In another example, department officials noted that the Biden administration intervened help Lithuaniathrough the US Export-Import Bank, after China launched a trade war against the small Baltic country.

The aid has been welcomed, both by smaller nations that have been caught between the United States and China under the Trump administration, and by close allies who have described tension with Washington ahead of Trump’s election. Mr Biden.

“It’s a lot easier now, because we share a lot more of our values ​​and the things we’d like to do together,” Swedish Foreign Minister Ann Linde said in January at a forum hosted by the Center for American Progress. “So for me, it’s kind of a relief.”

Yet many allies fear that everything could be turned upside down if American voters choose a new government in 2024 that echoes the Trump administration’s “America First” ideas. It’s one of the reasons Iran’s nuclear talks have struggled, given Tehran’s wariness of reviving a deal that another administration could again terminate.

And the chaotic departure from Afghanistan did little to allay concerns about American reliability.

Barbara J. Stephenson, another former US ambassador who is now vice provost for global affairs at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, called the rambling evacuation “huge disruptive” for the State Department. She said it demonstrated to adversaries like Russian President Vladimir V. Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping “the value of distracting ourselves.”

It even angered Americans who supported Mr Biden’s decision to end the war.

“We stood up for it,” said Dan Caldwell, vice president of foreign policy at Stand Together, an advocacy group funded by conservative billionaire Charles Koch. “But it was always done thinking that later there was accountability. And now, five months later, you’re still having drainage issues.

“It’s just unacceptable,” he said.

Mr Blinken said not only was he surprised by the withdrawal of President Ashraf Ghani and Afghan security forces as the Taliban advanced last August, but that “we inherited a deadline – we didn’t not inherited a plan” when he took over the department. .

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