Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s first full day on the job was Wednesday. He said at the State Department, “I know the State Department that I'm walking into today is not the same one that I left four years ago. A lot has changed. The world has changed. The department has changed. And we need only to look around to see that. We at State have a role to play in this. I believe it starts with rebuilding morale and trust. This is a priority for me. Because we need a strong department for the United States to be strong in the world. So we got our work cut out for us. But I am confident we will succeed.”
He last worked in that building during the Obama administration. He returns to find 1,000 fewer employees. Many of them had deep expertise. So Blinken will have to restaff the department as he confronts serious problems: Iran untethered from the nuclear agreement, an emboldened Russia, a strengthened China, a pandemic and climate change creating instability everywhere, and ongoing wars in Afghanistan, Syria and Yemen. The U.S. also needs to restore trust with its allies.