wait a few weeks for a call, Blinken, Austin and Sullivan all held early calls with their Israeli counterparts. If any longtime U.S. partner should be wary of a “snub,” it’s probably the Egyptians.

  • The Biden administration has already raised concerns about human rights abuses by the Egyptian government, in a clear break from Trump’s “my favorite dictator” approach to Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. However, the State Department still approved a big arms deal with Egypt this week.

Why it matters: The calls give some sense of Biden’s early priorities.

  • Excluding Israel, there have been fewer calls to the Middle East (seven total to Iraq, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the UAE) than to Southeast Asia (eight calls to Indonesia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam).
  • The administration’s focus on the Indo-Pacific was further underlined by Blinken’s participation Thursday in discussions with his counterparts from the “Quad” strategic dialogue: Australia, India and Japan.
  • Blinken also met virtually Thursday with officials from France, Germany and the U.K. to discuss issues including Iran, the administration’s one genuine priority in the Middle East.

Worth noting: There have been relatively few calls thus far to Latin America or Africa. Leaders in both regions are hoping for more attention from Biden than they received from Trump.

What to watch: Biden will address the Munich Security Conference on Friday and also take part in the virtual G7 summit, two of his first “international” engagements as president.