You can usually judge the direction of a presidency as the President-Elect begins to name his cabinet. With Trump, it was obvious. He nominated individuals with a history of hostility toward the very departments they were selected for. You knew chaos was on the horizon. With Biden, it looks like the direction his presidency will be just as easy to predict if his pick for Secretary of State, Tony Blinken, is any indication.
The Secretary of State is supposed to be the nation’s top diplomat. In actuality however, it ought to be called the Secretary of War, as they are responsible for trying and often succeeding to cox the country into war in every administration in recent memory. Pompeo wanted Trump to invade Iran, Clinton got Obama to bomb Libya and Syria, Colin Powell tried to convince the world that invading Iraq was a good idea. Madeleine Albright in Kosovo, Bosnia and Iraq, James Baker in Iraq, on and on it goes.
Tony Blinken, Joe Biden’s long-time aide has been chosen to be the next Secretary of War. I mean State. Blinken brings a wealth of experience to the post, but unfortunately that experience comes is the form of bad decisions and the type of interventionalist mindset that Trump exploited to help beat Hillary in 2016.
Blinken helped design Obama’s intervention in Libya which turned into a tense civil war that left tens of thousands dead and allowed slavery to take hold in the country. Blinken wanted stronger American action against Syria’s Bashar Assad as well which now sits as another failed state.
Acting as an aide to Biden while he sat in the Senate, Blinken supported the invasion of Iraq and is generally regarded as the man who persuaded Biden to vote yes. Unlike Biden, Blinken has not shown any regret in the United State’s invasion of Iraq. Why should he? Apparently, it get’s you promoted.
Furthermore, he was a major proponent of backing the Saudi-led, U.S. backed, mass atrocities in Yemen, and has regarded such proxy wars as the new model for US interventionism going forward.
When Democrats lost to Donald Trump in 2016, Tony Blinken went into the private sector and cashed in. He launched WestExec Advisors with fellow Obama national-security chiefs in 2018. Their clients are reported to have worked in tech and defense. An Israeli surveillance startup, a major U.S. defense company, Google billionaire Eric Schmidt, and Fortune 100 companies went to them, too.
Mr. Blinken seems to be the Democratic embodiment of the Military Industrial Complex. There will no doubt be a chorus of Biden backers who will try to convince me that the new Secretary of State has changed, like Biden supposedly has. I won’t bite. This is the guy after all, that as deputy Secretary of State under Obama, expanded America’s drone bombing campaign from two countries to seven.
Over the course of the election, I heard countless people say that there is no going back to the way things were, but that seems to be exactly what’s happening. We are going to revisit the same foreign policy mistakes that gave us Trump in the first place.
Is this the decency we want to return to? A return to American Leadership on the global stage usually means someone is going to get a cruise missile up their ass. Sure, the U.S. might be able to re-sign the Paris Climate Accords and the Iran Nuclear deal, but why does it have to end there?
I have about as much faith in Tony Blinken being the Secretary of State as I do in anyone else who preceded him over the last thirty years. It’s great we don’t have to worry starting the big wars that Republicans love best, it’s the many small wars that Democrats start that I’m now worried about.