For those who don’t follow Washington politics particularly closely, the announcement that Antony Blinken will become Joe Biden’s Secretary of State will likely prompt a basic question: who is he? Compared to most of the recent figures appointed to the post – Mike Pompeo, John Kerry, Hillary Clinton – Blinken has never pursued a high-profile political career.  

Nonetheless, he is a prototypical insider of the Washington foreign policy establishment who has been involved in helping shape US foreign policy for over two decades after serving in both the Clinton and the Obama administrations. Blinken’s appointment by Biden is a strong statement of the President-elect’s desire to restore US foreign policy to the status quo ante Trump – at least, so far as that is possible.