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The Parisian youth of the future US Secretary of State


Joe Biden’s closest foreign policy adviser, once the administration is in place, in January 2021, will be a diplomat who speaks impeccable French almost without an accent, who has dated Jean-Jacques Servan-Schreiber, who knows who is Alain Peyrefitte and who even played football. Not in American football, not in soccer! Difficult to be more Francophile.

Antony Blinken, the future Secretary of State of the United States, moved in 1971 from New York to live in Paris, when he was 9 years old, after his parents’ divorce. Judith, her mother, remarried Samuel Pisar, a great lawyer of Polish origin, who was a time adviser to JFK before settling in Paris. At home – an apartment on avenue Foch – little Blinken frequented the entire American and French jet set.

VGE, Deneuve, Bernstein…

Samuel Pisar was consulted by presidents Valéry Giscard d’Estaing and François Mitterrand, and he had as clients Catherine Deneuve, Jane Fonda, Elizabeth Taylor, Christo … As for Judith, who had directed the dance company of Merce Cunningham and counted among her connections Leonard Bernstein, Pierre Boulez and Mark Rothko, she continued to promote the arts by becoming president of the American Center in Paris, a cultural institution.

Fan des Beatles

Antony Blinken studied at the Jeannine-Manuel bilingual school. But he also has a lot of extracurricular activities. He is interested in cinema and organizes a film festival. It was in Paris that this fan of the Beatles discovered a passion for music. He plays guitar and tries his hand at jazz, before switching to rock. Back in Washington, he continued and performed – with a certain talent – in a group where he composed and sang his own songs in English. Two songs are available on the Spotify platform under Ablinken, his artist name. Their titles: “Patience” and “Facade Interest”, which applies fairly well to a Secretary of State, pointed out the facetious minds.

Diplomate junior

It was also in Paris that he took his first steps as a diplomat. Upon his confirmation in 2014 to become number two in the State Department, Antony Blinken mentioned, “I found myself engaged, at a very young age, to playing junior diplomats, trying to explain the United States. United with my comrades ”at the end of the Vietnam War. “He was very aware of being an American and believed in the values ​​of his country, but he also understood how US politics affect the rest of the world because he had witnessed how others see it. ‘America,’ tweeted Robert Malley, her high school boyfriend.

Defender of multilateralism

It was in Paris, finally, that he discovered the experience of his father-in-law, sent at 13 to a concentration camp. Samuel Pisar indeed survived Majdanek, Dachau and Auschwitz. Tony, as he’s known, “wanted to know,” the lawyer said in an interview a few years ago at Washington Post : “He realized what happened to me when I was his age, and I think that impressed him and gave him another dimension, another vision of the world. This is undoubtedly what pushed him towards politics – even if he hesitated to embrace an artistic career – and which gave him his current convictions: Antony Blinken has always been a convinced European and a defender of multilateralism . Europe “should be a vital partner,” he said recently.

Blinken and the PS

And, even back in the United States, he maintained ties with France. Student at Harvard, Blinken wrote, for the review of the university, an article on the victory of the French socialists in the legislative elections of 1981, which he concludes with these words: the right “painted a grim picture of socialist France, which was more of a fake than a masterpiece. The electorate did not believe it. Left […] won a legitimate chance to rule. Let’s see what will happen ”.

“Think like the other”

Six years ago, he returned to visit the Jeannine-Manuel school and, in a speech then given to Unesco, he declared: “My comrades and I, we were taught, in the words of our founder Jeannine. Manuel, to “think like the other”, to see through the eyes of others. This allowed us to learn to respect our differences, while recognizing everything we had in common: art and culture, our universal values ​​of civility, freedom, and dignity. “” Congratulations, Mr. Blinken! »Wrote the school, on the announcement of his appointment, on its Facebook site. “We are proud of our former student. ”

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