Biden UN Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield: "America Is Back. Multilateralism Is Back. Diplomacy Is Back." | Video | RealClearPolitics

Biden UN Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield: "America Is Back. Multilateralism Is Back. Diplomacy Is Back."

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President-elect Joe Biden announced he will nominate former U.S. ambassador to Libya and Obama official Linda Thomas-Greenfield for U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations at an event on Tuesday where he introduced key members of his foreign policy and national security teams.

"My fellow career diplomats and public servants around the world," Thomas-Greenfield said. "I want to say to you America is back, multilateralism is back, diplomacy is back. Mr. President-Elect I have often heard you say how all politics is personal and that is how you build relationships of trust and bridge disagreements and find common ground."

Thomas-Greenfield touted her unique approach to diplomacy as a former ambassador, callling it "Gumbo diplomacy.


"In my 35 years in the foreign service across four continents I put a Cajun spin on it," she said. "I called it Gumbo diplomacy, wherever I was posted around the world I would invite people of different backgrounds and beliefs to help me make a rule and chop onions for the holy trinity and make homemade gumbo. It was my way of breaking down barriers, connecting with people and starting to see each other on a human level, a bit of lagniappe is what we say in Louisiana."

THOMAS-GREENFIELD: Good afternoon. Mr. President-Elect, Madam Vice President-Elect, I am humbled and honored by the trust that you have placed in me to become a member of your cabinet as ambassador to the United Nations. In the years that I have worked in government I am always struck by how only in America would be where we are today where life can be hard and cruel but there's hope in the struggle, there is promise in our dreams where you learn to believe in yourself and that anything is possible.

Like both of you, I learned from my family. Mr. President-Elect, I'd like to thank you for those generous words that you said about me, my parents had very little back in Louisiana where I grew up but they gave me and my siblings everything they had and I know how proud they would be of this day. On this day I am also missing my mentor, Ambassador Ed Perkins who served as the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations under President George H.W. Bush and President Clinton and who was also from Louisiana. He told me constantly, Linda, don't undersell yourself and he would always do everything possible to lift me up.

He passed away last week but I know he is here with us today and on this day I am thinking about the American people, my fellow career diplomats and public servants around the world. I want to say to you America is back, multilateralism is back, diplomacy is back. Mr. President-Elect I have often heard you say how all politics is personal and that is how you build relationships of trust and bridge disagreements and find common ground.

And in my 35 years in the foreign service across four continents I put a Cajun spin on it. I called it Gumbo diplomacy, wherever I was posted around the world I would invite people of different backgrounds and beliefs to help me make a rule and chop onions for the holy trinity and make homemade gumbo. It was my way of breaking down barriers, connecting with people and starting to see each other on a human level, a bit of lagniappe is what we say in Louisiana.

That is the charge in front of us today. The challenges we face a global pandemic, a global economy, a global climate change crisis, mass migration and extreme poverty, social justice are unrelenting and interconnected but they are not unresolvable if America is leading the way. Thank you.
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