At an event marking the 10-year anniversary of the University of Chicago’s Institute of Politics, founding Director David Axelrod noted that another anniversary also was taking place.
It’s been two years since President Joe Biden’s inauguration, and Axelrod asked his guest, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, what has been accomplished in that tumultuous time.
“Two years in, what it’s safe to say, from my perspective at least, is that we’re in a better place in the world than we were,” Blinken said at the event, held Jan. 20 at the David Rubenstein Forum. “The first instructions that I got from President Biden [when] taking the job were, ‘Get out there, re-energize, rejuvenate, re-engage our alliances or partnerships or working in international organizations.’”
The U.S. needs international partners to help address complex issues, including the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change and the fentanyl crisis, Blinken said. “We can’t deal effectively with a single one of these issues unless we’re actually finding ways to cooperate and coordinate and work with other countries,” Blinken said.
Turning attention to the war in Ukraine, Axelrod brought up a dispute over German tanks for the country and asked: “How much time do you have there before the coalition frays? Putin is obviously playing a waiting game, and the Russians have great tolerance for suffering, and he seems intent to try and wait this out.”
Blinken said that the international coalition support for Ukraine has “grown consistently stronger. … We’ve seen dozens of countries come together to try to make sure that Ukraine is getting what it needs when it needs it to defend itself, to push back against Russian aggression. … We’re up to almost $30 billion in military support, about $60 billion in total support. The Europeans have done much the same.”
He also said the Russian military has suffered horrific losses. “Meanwhile, the sanctions, the export controls that we’ve imposed on Russia are dramatically, dramatically undercutting its ability over time not only to continue the war, but to advance Russia’s economy, to allow it to pursue energy extraction. It’s going to have an increasingly profound and heavy effect on Russia going forward.”