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US Secretary of State Antony Blinken (left) and South Korean Foreign Minister Park Jin hold a joint press conference after their talks in Seoul on Nov. 9, 2023.

Kyodo via Reuters

Blinken comes home, Biden gears up for Xi

US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken wrapped up a tour of Asian nations last week, as the United States worked to shore up support for its positions on issues including Russia’s war in Ukraine, China’s increased belligerence toward Taiwan, and the Israel-Hamas war in the Middle East.

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Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas meets with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Ramallah in the West Bank on Nov. 5, 2023.

Thaer Ganaim apaimages via Reuters

Israel-Hamas war, 31 days in

A month in, and there’s no end in sight for the Israel-Hamas war. At least 1,400 Israeli civilians are dead, and 240 remain hostages, while some 9,500 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza. Protests around the world are calling for an end to the fighting, but there is no sign that a cease-fire is in the cards for either side.

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US secretary of state, Antony Blinken, meets with Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the Kirya in Tel Aviv on Thursday Oct 12, 2023 during a visit to show solidarity with Israel.

Eyepress via Reuters

Biden and Blinken work to contain the Gaza war

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is meeting with Israeli officials in Tel Aviv today. Before his trip, the State Department said he was going to Israel to “reiterate US support for Israel’s right to defend itself against terrorism … work to secure the immediate release of hostages, increase the pace and volume of humanitarian assistance entering Gaza for distribution to Palestinian civilians, and prevent the conflict from spreading.”

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US Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks to members of the media before leaving Cairo, Egypt, on Sunday.

Jacquelyn Martin/Pool via REUTERS

World powers weigh in on Israel-Hamas War

As the crisis in Israel and Gaza deepens, various world powers are weighing in and offering to help mediate, some for their own geopolitical interests.

Washington repeatedly offered unwavering support to Israel following the Hamas attacks, but it is now also trying to address the humanitarian crisis in Gaza. In a phone call Saturday with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas – whose authority extends primarily to the West Bank – President Joe Biden pledged his full support for "urgently needed humanitarian assistance to Palestinian people, especially in Gaza."

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Secretary of State Antony Blinken plays guitar at the State Department, September 27, 2023.


What we’re listening to: US tries out Hoochie Coochie diplomacy

To be honest, if you told us that the US secretary of state, a 61-year-old white guy, was gonna grab a Stratocaster and belt out some Delta Blues in public, we’d have braced for a much more awkward outcome than this.

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