It looks like Joe Biden will announce Anthony Blinken as Secretary of State, Jake Sullivan as National Security Advisor, and Linda Thomas-Greenfield as Ambassador to the United Nations. I think CNN was first with the scoop, other outlets are confirming it, and well-connected foreign policy people are tweeting as if this is the case.
It is a joy to hear the names of people who have long experience in these areas. All three will be able to hit the ground running. They have big jobs to do. The State Department will need to be rebuilt and alliances mended. Thomas-Greenfield is a career State Department official, so her appointment will be a signal to the department that competence is once again prized.
Apparently Daniel Larison was not happy with the pick.. since he had skywalker “Nooooooo!!!”
But he didn’t explain why. And now I’m curious.
Also linda Thomas-greenfield is UN ambassador to the UN.
I can guess Larison’s concern: He feels that these people, particularly Blinken and Sullivan, are part of “The Blob,” that group of foreign-policy people who are all too willing to perpetuate the forever wars.
On the other hand, they know what they’re doing and who’s who. That will be invaluable in reconstructing the State Department and the National Security Council, which will be a big part of their jobs initially.
I share Larison’s concern to some degree, but I figure that we can argue about that later. I’m celebrating competence now.
@cain: Just like I said in the OP.
Apparently, this link:https://nonzero.org/post/biden-forpol-team-1-blinken
Would be curious what people thought about it.
I had thought that it would be Rice at State, but Blinken makes a lot of sense. He has every insider Democratic Foreign policy credential. He and Biden are tight. And he was very involved in Iran, Syria, and in the sanctions on Russia for seizing Crimea – those things in themselves can send a signal as to what to expect going forward.
oh ok, larison retweeted something that caught my eye – see above.
Yes you did, sorry I must have moved past it without reading it. Thanks! :)
@cain: Robert Wright is not one of my go-to people.
This made me smile:
Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)
But-but- I was assured by the right-wing that Hunter Biden would be given a cabinet nomination! Are you telling me that was bullshit?! //
@Goku (aka Amerikan Baka): Lots more cabinet nominations to go!
Cathie from Canada
Cue the Republicans starting to trash these excellent people in three…two…one…
@cain: ::eye-roll:: But then I tend toward the liberal interventionist wing of the Democrats myself, so I look forward to being yelled at by Cole and others as a warmonger. But like others, I am glad that someone with real competence is being named. Joe is making the right moves so far.
@Cheryl Rofer: I just hope she shows up tomorrow. I read something that made it sound like there has been no confirmation that she will show up.
He’s really analyzing the Iraq War thing quite a bit. I think America has lost so much credibility – we are not going in with the same stature that we had before.
Especially since we have not gotten rid of the rot that infests our body politic.
That clip with Grover is cute.
@WaterGirl: Is Emily Murphy going to show up? So many of Trump’s minions don’t.
@cain: You are quite a worrier, aren’t you?
Here’s something I tweeted:
the last 4 years have sensitized me more about colonialism than I’ve ever had in the past. If we are going to interfere in anything it needs to be very specific with a clear disengagement plan.
Some of us are still kind of pissed that Nixon decided to interfere with the India/Pakistan conflict by moving the fleet into the Bay of Bengal. I get it that India was buddy buddy with the Soviet Union but a unified India would have been a good ally later. But oh well, such as it is.
I’m not really worried – they haven’t done anything yet! I’m not into speculating that much. I assume that good people have been selected and it will always be a mixed bag regardless. I’m easy to please, honest :)
I just started following him again, not sure when I lost touch with his work or why (prolly laziness) but he’s always worth a read.
This is assuming they’re allowed to do their work by Republicans. Good chance of that? Or will there be a revolving door of acting heads?
@Cheryl Rofer: Trump is going to throw her under the bus just like he will everyone else until there’s no one left to blame. Narcissists gonna narcissist.
He’s been a fun read in general. He hasn’t had much to tweet about during the Trump era.
So Blinken gets the nod?
[Sees self out]
Thanks Cheryl. I haven’t kept up with these people so their names and so forth aren’t familiar to me. But I have every confidence that Biden and his team know what they’re doing. As long as they don’t bring back Larry Summers and Geithner and Duncan he’ll probably do fine. ;-)
In other news, it looks like Carl is hoping to start the civil war in the Donnie Party:
I like Larison a lot, but he’s always been negative about pretty much everybody. He bitched about GWB and Obama and was scathing about Twitler in the early days when I kind of checked out of reading him.
Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)
This is a red flag for me, imo, about NonZero, which I’ve never heard of. How do we even know that the referendum in Crimea was legitimately conducted? Putin’s government isn’t exactly known for it’s commitment to free and fair elections. Besides, it was territory that was illegally seized from the sovereign state of Ukraine
Not approving a secretary of defense or SoS should be considered an act of treason. If McConnell wants to fight that then Biden should use his bully pulpit and a lawsuit and have the SCOTUS weigh in.
McConnell doesn’t get to pick his cabinet – Biden does.
Well, I would say that is obvious. I also think that unilateral actions are almost always uncalled for. Ultimately though, I think things come down to whether we are going to be isolationist or part of the world. I prefer engagement.
@Another Scott: Well, finally someone in the press or media sphere has the courage to name names. These cowards have hidden long enough.
Maybe we should start calling them the Donner party. They’re all going to end up eating each other.
I laughed. For real.
Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)
Hope springs eternal! //
Sure – and I hope at least one of them is telling Nigeria’s govt to fuck off and stop having their police beat up on their own people as well as some other countries that are doing similar things.
Mike in NC
Why is Henry Kissinger still alive?
@Mike in NC: Evil endures.
@Mike in NC: God doesn’t want him and the Devil has standards.
That can’t be the right verb form. But what is? “Narcissists gonna narciss”?
Hm… narciss, narcerate?
Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)
A lot of that same rot is infesting many other nations in the world; it’s not a uniquely American problem. Look at the UK, what almost happened in France in 2017, in Poland, Brazil, Turkey, etc
Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)
From that NonZero website, I’d be real interested to get Adam’s take on this:
Somehow I don’t think we have to worry about Blinken, and Biden, having that conversation…
Tillerson was horrible, but Pompeo is actively evil.
West of the Rockies
Not McConnell or Cruz. That surprises mea bit. I’d have thought they’d privately have called him a shart eater.
@cain: Why don’t we wait until Biden is president and his team is in place before we start drawing our lines in the sand? But I will say that an isolationist Democratic foreign policy sure as hell wouldn’t do anything for of about Nigeria.
Major Major Major Major
I’m far from expert in foreign policy and these nominees are certainly not household names. But what strikes me about their resumes is that they are institutionalists in the best sense of the word. They know how things are supposed to operate. There is a tremendous amount of rebuilding to be done after the wrecking ball that is the Trump administration and it’s not just rebuilding relationships. The very structures have to be repaired. I think a lot of Republicans realize this and will not cause problems.
Also, since they were in government only four years ago, it won’t be that hard to get them through a security check. I wonder if this is going to be the pattern for Biden’s appointments – no governors or politicians or business people, but professionals. That seems to me like a wise course, but then I’m an elitist. I believe in expertise.
@cain: Part of what annoys me about the “Drones, drones, drones” crowd is their insistence that they are the only ones who can learn from the observation of the effects of previous decisions. Every one else is a mindless automaton who can only repeat a script they received in the deep, misty past.
Also, their refusal to understand that present options are constrained by the world as it exists. I remember David Neiwert at Orcinus saying that the most dangerous thing any one has ever believed in politics is that it is time for a blank slate. It is a sign to immediately run and work hard towards their defeat.
@Omnes Omnibus: [I agree with what I think is your position, Omnes.] There are many, many things worse than a renewal of American Hegemony (as bad as that can be). Like: a renewal of Russian Hegemony. Or rising Chinese Hegemony. Or, y’know, chaos and anarchy, with our allies learning/remembering to arm against each other (e.g. JP vs. SK).
Yea: I also would like to emulate Canada more and do more humanitarian work and less blowing up schools and weddings. But if I gotta choose between blowing schools and weddings, and Putin running the world, I know where I’ll end up.
Ooh, that will be nice! Hope it’s viewable somewhere.
I hope so. We need serious professionals in all roles. We have a lot of work to do to rebuild relationships and institutions.
Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)
Got a question for you Omnes. Does Wisconsin and Minnesota have a rivalry, culturally speaking? Ohio and Michigan have a “rivalry” of sorts
@cain: It’d also be nice to get the local kill-and-go squads under slightly better control before we hare off tut tutting internationally. At least make it a concurrent effort. Our moral high ground is more than usually swamped at the moment.
And there’s a bit of a next-gen, under-the-radar vibe with these people. The nutters are all poised for: “Susan Rice?! Witch! Burn her!” And now it’s: “Blinken?! Bur—wait, who the hell is that?” I’m sure the insiders know who these people are, but the spittle-flecked Facebook hordes don’t, and it’ll take them a while to get up to speed.
There’s lots of internal repair to be done, too, I would bet.
I agree (with less info) with your take on encouraging people within the State Dept, and I think it is way way way important. Makes me an evil former Beltway insider in some circles, oh well. But before we can make progress on being a force for democracy, human rights, etc again we have to scrub the walls of the White House and also comfort the people who kept doing their jobs through this nightmare. Help them pick up again.
@Chris T.: gotta be “narcissists gonna Narcissus”
If they use drones as their main issue and also remain 100% fans of Weke Leeks I have issues with that too.
Not just because of the creep living in that embassy, also because they didn’t block any names of people in the Middle East who frankly risk being killed for cooperating with us. I opposed AUMF, Afg., Iraq. Anyhow.
Foreign Policy is in Biden’s wheelhouse big time, and I am so glad he is rolling out these plans.
any proof of life posts from Adam yet?
@Mike in NC: D&D teaches us that when a very powerful evil wizard get’s close to death, sometimes they undergo a process of necromancy and rituals that recreate themselves as an immortal and undead litch.
Best theory I got.
@Goku (aka Amerikan Baka): Minnesota has more immigrants from the Scandinavian countries. Wisconsin got a lot of Germans. Obviously both groups settled in the respective states but there’s a definite feel difference between them. But notice there were a lot of breweries founded in Wisconsin over Minnesota. Plus sausage and cheese are big there as well. Lotsa Deutschlanders there.
Shorter me: not that I have noticed.
I just noticed that Blinken’s Twitter handle is @ABlinken. So, just his name, or a play on “Abe Lincoln”?
That is all.
Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)
Was wondering the same thing myself. Just shot him an email to see how he’s doing and will report back when he replies
@Redshift: His full first name is Anthony. So could have just been his name from an era when that was the nym expectation. But it would be irresponsible to not speculate that it’s a deliberate wink and nod.
@West of the Rockies: McConnell is too smart, and Cruz too cowardly, to take any chance of their true feelings getting back to PoSOTUS.
I want our foreign service to all be professionals with no rich donors getting ambassador ships ever again. I mean I want it to be a law, so someone like Trump can’t install corrupt or rude cronies again.
But why a wink and a nod at a Republican’s name?
The speculation on Twitter and elsewhere is that Michèle Flouroy is expected to be named Secretary of Defense.
Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)
Thanks for the answer. I’ve got the feeling that Wisconsinites and and Minnesotans would be confused with each other by outsiders who didn’t know much beyond the surface level of those states
@cain: There is no way shape or form that India and Pakistan were going to re-unify post 1949. That is absurdly wishful thinking.
Just watching “The Great Hack” about Cambridge Analytica, Facebook and the use of psyops to influence Brexit, elections in the US, and elections around the world. Holy shit. Has anyone else seen this documentary? It gives me chills to see how they were able to pinpoint and target “persuadables” in swing states that cost Hillary the election. I don’t think it would have mattered if she had spent her whole campaign in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania.
It doesn’t give me a lot of confidence that Facebook is still helping to create individual realities for each user – it’s clear from the documentary that when citizens don’t have a shared reality, democracy is a very fragile thing.
I’m glad Biden is picking his cabinet and hope his government pays close attention to this issue because we’re not done with these attempts yet. Not while billionaires like the Mercers are still out there bankrolling strategies to dismantle society and rebuild it in ways that serve just them.
All I want is for us to get all the way out of MBS’s war in Yemen.
@Goku (aka Amerikan Baka): Yes.
Damn. I googled it. He is 97.
Agreeable to see Biden carving his own niche and not going with names closely associated with Obama by default.
I agree. We have a huge bench in this country. And one of the biggest tasks for the new SOS is to rebuild our diplomatic corps. We need someone with that skillset.
Honestly I’m hoping to see a big national security role for Fiona Hill, who was absolutely badass in the Impeachment hearings last fall. But that’s based on nothing except being impressed with her poise and gravitas in the national spotlight.
Mai Naem mobile
I am glad Biden got somebody who’s an old hand at this stuff. I just wish he could have found somebody who was not involved with private equity. Blinken has all the pedigree of somebody who’s going to get QANON’d. He went to Dalton(the school where Jeffrey Epstein taught) and his father was/is an old money investment banker in New Yawk City. He spent time in France as a child(okay, thats not as bad as Obama in Indonesia.) Fun fact – His uncle Alan ran for the Senate in Idaho and got beaten by Wide Stance Senator Larry Craig.
Interesting observation, that, but I keep thinking that Blinken sounds like the name of one of Santa’s reindeer. But then, why would Rudolph be leading the Orange Antisanta’s sleigh? And then I think maybe I need to go outside more.
Edited for speling.
@Mike in NC:
He’s 97. He had heart surgery 38 yrs ago, I’d bet he doesn’t have a lot longer to go. But the replies below your question, Yarrow and VBV are probably the real answer.
@Mai Naem mobile
Fretting about what Qanon will/might/could do or say ought not be a consideration at all. Granting them such agency or credibility is tantamount to surrender.
Especially not Q-anon. But the GOP is going to character assassinate every single one of Biden’s appointees regardless of who they are. So why worry about it. Pick who you think is best and move on. As long as the don’t have any enormous vulnerabilities that the media are going to obsess over.
Probably also a very good move to be getting their names out now, while national attention is focused elsewhere on Trump’s denial and Covid and the holidays. So whatever bullshit they do start flinging around will be old and stale by Jan 20. Media scandals sort of have their own life cycle. I’m sure the Biden people are very astute about that.
@Joey Maloney: Judging by the image with this article, you can pretty well guess what Moscow Mitch and the Shiatgibbon actually think of each other.
They understand omerta.
@Geoduck: They both look like the other is a bucket of fresh diarrhea they were just handed.
David ?Booooooo!? Koch
Word on the street is Biden will tap Michael Moore as CIA director
@Mai Naem mobile: The more QAnon the better. I want them saying every one of Biden’s appointees is one of the lizard people.
@David ?Booooooo!? Koch: Good one! I’m still laughing. Unless there’s another Michael Moore I’ve never heard of who has been “undersecretary for the CIA” or whatever the equivalent of that is.
It’s definitely a blight on Obama’s record. But you know the world is a series of greys and drones and what not was a way to get the mission accomplished without putting troops into the theater and putting them into harm.
As Command-n-Chief, he’s probably obligated to follow that path when fighting ISIS.
That said, we will be known as the nation that left the Kurds to fend for themselves. No nation is going to trust us going forward.
McConnell would make a pretty good Lich. He’s got all the attributes of one.
For some reason I see Glenn Kessler quoted.
He’s not even reliably wrong, so I’m not sure what that brings to the table.
I don’t give two shits about private expressions of disdain. We are long past that.
But as you note, I am happy if this sparks a GOP Civil War.
And I give Bernstein points for going beyond the usual Beltway bullshit with respect to anonymous sources.
With respect to the main topic of the thread. I am not a foreign policy wonk, but am happy to see general approval of Biden’s choices.
I don’t think I mentioned unification in my post. I suspect that India would have gone in and taken over the capital – I dont know what else would have past that. It could simply be that India would have gotten more concessions out of Pakistan – eg giving up their claims on Kashmir. The defeat would have been humiliating to them so they’ll likely might find an opportunity to go after India again.
Nothing that I’ve heard was unification ever a goal at any time. There is on unify the subcontinent movement even now.
Mai Naem mobile
@NotMax: I don’t give a crap about what Qanon thinks. I just happened to notice the Dalton School in his Wikipedia page. It just kind of still shocks me that a creepy like Epstein taught at such an exclusive school.
@Cheryl Rofer: I used to love Bloggingheads and was a big fan of Bob’s in the early 00’s, but I bailed on it after he had an Intelligent Design person on to “debate.” He also bent over backwards to appease conservative/racist trolls in the comments section.
I don’t think it is going to spark anything. I bet everyone in the GOP senate knows who doesn’t like Trump. It’s only Trump that doesn’t know.
I’m more interested to know what Trump plans to do with that information in this short time.
The best part is once Biden is seated as President – how these people are going to try to reform their image. We should not let them get away with that.
@cain: The GOP needs to be destroyed after this fucking farce. I do not see a way forward with that party as such a menace
Another poster here strongly hints at a reference for the name.
I had to hunt down the children’s poem by Eugene Field, which begins…
Wynken, Blynken, and Nod one night
sailed off in a wooden shoe —
Sailed on a river of crystal light,
into a sea of dew.
The drones crowd disappeared during Dolt45’s years.
And, now, they wanna come back, with credibility??
Phuck Outta Here?
Where is he????
I don’t think that these people have any interest in trying to reform their image; nor do they care what we think about them.
About the only thing that we can do is try to encourage efforts to ensure the electoral defeat of these morons wherever possible.
Thanks, I had forgotten about that one. The world makes sense again.
Blinken makes me think of the classic server room sign –
ACHTUNG! ALLES LOOKENSPEEPERS!
Das computermachine ist nicht fuer gefingerpoken und mitten grabben.
Ist easy schnappen der springen werk, blowenfusen und poppencorken mit spitzensparken.
Ist nicht fuer gewerken bei das dumpkopfen.
Das rubbernecken sichtseeren keepen das cotten-pickenen hans in das pockets muss; relaxen und watchen das blinkenlichten.
Wasn’t this a U2 album?
I should understand this. But for some reason, I don’t.
I don’t know if this is from anything in particular, but it reminds me of the comical pseudo-foreign language of comedian Sid Caesar.
Some of it I did not get, but kinda maybe:
Rubbernecking sight seers should keep their cotton-picking hands in their pockets; relax and watch the blinking lights…
@Amir Khalid: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blinkenlights
@Stuart Frasier: My dad had this hanging in our computer room all while I was growing up. It might still be there.
@Chetan Murthy: The mock English one might be even funnier –“do not disturben the brainstorming von here working intelligencies. … Also: please keep still and only watchen astaunished the blinkenlights.” Obviously a direct translation.
Exactly. Fuck them.
There go two miscreants
@Joey Maloney: And for a change they would both be correct!
@Goku (aka Amerikan Baka):
Macron seems to be going soft-fascist right now and I’m not sure what happened.
What annoys me about them, now, is their blatant double standards. When Greenwald was going on about Obama and the drone war, I rolled my eyes at the claim that Obama was worse than Bush but granted that they were pursuing a legitimate line of criticism. I was extremely reluctant to just dismiss it.
But I figured Greenwald was just anti-power–he opposed Bush being militaristic, he opposed Obama being militaristic, he’d go back to opposing Republican aggression whenever they got back in.
But no. Trump got in, actually escalated the drone war, and Greenwald kept on bashing Trump’s critics! He’s carrying water for the administration! It’s embarrassing to see.
@UncleEbeneezer: Agree. I wouldn’t call myself a big fan, but at one time I thought well of him, and he’s drifted off to a place I don’t recognize.
@Brachiator: Fun fact. Carly Simon and her sister Lucy formed a folkie duo in the 60’s and performed a song based on that poem. Lovely song. ETA their name was The Simon Sisters.
@Goku (aka Amerikan Baka): raised Minnesotan and did graduate school in Wisconsin here, with relatives in Michigan. There’s a bit of a rivalry between MN-WI, but IMAO not as nasty-spirited as between Ohio-Michigan. I think that there’s more cross-border activity between MN-WI; for instance in the late 1980s-early 1990s Minnesota and Wisconsin had a reciprocal tuition compact for the state universities. A lot of my high school classes would send people to the University of Wisconsin system because Wisconsin had more campuses in smaller towns, and Minnesota tended to concentrate more people at the Twin Cities campuses (Minneapolis West Bank and East Bank for a lot of majors, St. Paul got the agricultural majors from what I remember, and there were about 50K students at the Twin Cities campuses in the late 1980s-early 1990s). A typical freshman intro course at U of M would have more people than smaller high schools’ whole graduating class, And then people from the Twin Cities would have vacation places in Wisconsin, other people lived in Wisconsin and commuted to the Twin Cities for work, etc.
The military industrial donors must be in high celebration of this pick. More wars and conflicts not less.
“Nor does Blinken have second thoughts about the US and its allies having flooded Syria with weapons that turned a doomed insurrection into a raging but futile civil war, leading to countless deaths and creating countless refugees (a policy that, as an Obama administration staffer, he played an important role in shaping). Blinken says, along with Kagan, that the problem with our Syria policy was that we didn’t deploy even more force (in what, remember, was an explicit attempt to depose the government of a sovereign nation). Blinken and Kagan also express opposition to withdrawing US troops from Syria.” Non Zero
@rikyrah: People reported last night that they have been in email or phone contact with Adam. I suspect he’s working right now and given what line of work he specialises in, we should all be thrilled that he is doing so because he has a ton to offer the new administration. Other than that, it’s fight club rules.
I drilled down on a few of the links in that nonzero piece and they don’t well support some of article text with the links. Always good to randomly spot check links.
In my book, the negotiations with Iran that led to the JCPOA are a very big deal. There was a lot of political pressure against a deal, including from an Israel that actively interfered in American politics (against its long-term self-interests, IMO). Significant net political capital and time was expended, to reduce the risk of nuclear war, the kind of war that can end up killing billions (from starvation).
I can’t help but remember the standing ovation turn out that Hillary got on her first day as SOS. The damage by W’s admin was a four year repair job. This will be worse and Trumpism has probably left an even more demoralized State Department in it’s wake. The Benghazi hearings were designed to de-legitimize all of the work that the State Department did under Hillary and Obama. The Village hates it when there are serious people doing serious work when they could be glad-handing at state dinners. They are going to nitpick over every boring, competent pick Joe makes. More-so if they have any connection to ‘warmonger Killary and Bill’.
From his Wikipage:
From 2002 to 2008, [Blinken] he served as the Democratic Staff Director for the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee. During the Clinton Administration, Blinken served in the State Department and in senior positions on the National Security Council staff
smedley the uncertain
@Stuart Frasier: Dates even further back to Radio (remember them) days when real radios glowed in the dark and indeed were full of spitzen sparken. I know, I was there… Got the burns to prove it.
@traumaturdo: Fuck off and die. (In the interest of time, you may omit the fucking off and just go die. Asshole.)