By Lalit K Jha
Washington, Nov 25 (PTI) United States President-elect Joe Biden said his national security advisor Jake Sullivan is a once in a generation intellect with the experience and temperament for one of the toughest jobs in the world.
“As my National Security Advisor, I choose Jake Sullivan. He’s a once-in-a-generation intellect with the experience and temperament for one of the toughest jobs in the world,” Biden told reporters on Tuesday at the transition headquarters in Wilmington, Delaware.
At 43, he is the youngest national security advisor in decades. Sullivan was National Security Advisor to Biden when the latter was the vice president. He was a top advisor to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
He helped lead the early negotiations that led to the Iran nuclear deal, helped broker the Gaza ceasefire in 2012, and played a key role in the Asia-Pacific rebalance in our administration, Biden said.
“And in this campaign for the presidency, he served as one of my most trusted advisors on both foreign and domestic policy, including helping me develop our COVID-19 strategy. Jake understands my vision that economic security is national security,” he said.
Biden said that Sullivan will help steer a foreign policy for the middle-class, for families like his growing up in Minnesota, where he was raised by parents who were educators and taught him the values of hard work, decency, service, and respect.
“What that means is to win the competition for the future, we need to keep us safe and secure, and build back better than ever,” he said.
“We need to invest in our people, sharpen our innovative edge, and unite the economic might of democracies around the world to grow the middle-class and reduce inequality — and do things like counter the predatory trade practices of our competitors and adversaries,” Biden said in an apparent reference to China.
In his remarks, Sullivan said his national security team will be vigilant in the face of enduring threats from nuclear weapons to terrorism.
“But you have also tasked us with re-imagining our national security for the unprecedented combination of crises we face at home and abroad: the pandemic, the economic crisis, the climate crisis, technological disruption, threats to democracy, racial injustice, and inequality in all forms. The work of the team before you today will contribute to progress across all of these fronts,” he said.
“You have also tasked us with putting people at the centre of our national security. The alliances we rebuild, the institutions we lead, the agreements we sign — all of them should be judged by a basic question: will this make life better, easier, safer, for working families across this country? Our foreign policy has to deliver for these families,” he said.
“And you have tasked us with helping unite America through our work, to pull people together to tackle big challenges. My wife Maggie — the love of my life — the wisest, most principled, most patriotic person I know, served as a senior adviser to Senator John McCain. She and I share this commitment to common ground deep in our bones,” he added.
Sullivan promised an open door to those who disagree. “Our whole team can learn from them and it will make us better. He previously served as Director of the Policy Planning Staff at the US Department of State and as Deputy Chief of Staff to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
During his time in government, Sullivan was a lead negotiator in the initial talks that paved the way for the Iran nuclear deal and played a key role in the US-brokered negotiations that led to a ceasefire in Gaza in 2012. He also played a key role in shaping the Asia-Pacific rebalance strategy at both the State Department and the White House.
In the years following his service in the Obama-Biden administration, Sullivan was a Senior Fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, where he helped conceive and design a bipartisan task force project on a foreign policy for the middle-class.
He also held teaching posts at Yale Law School, Dartmouth College, and the University of New Hampshire. He co-founded and co-chaired the advisory board for National Security Action, a non-profit national security advocacy organisation, and served on the advisory boards of a number of organisations involved in foreign policy and national security.
Sullivan was also a senior policy adviser on Clinton's presidential campaign in 2016.
He holds a BA in political science and international studies from Yale College; a MPhil in International Relations from Oxford, where he was a Rhodes Scholar; and a JD from Yale Law School. PTI LKJ HDA