In a speech introducing his national security team made up of Obama-era officials, Joe Biden glossed over their past misadventures to boast of their qualifications and woke credentials – adding they are “ready to lead the world.”
Biden announced a host of top national security picks on Monday, naming Antony Blinken for Secretary of State, Alejandro Mayorkas for Secretary of Homeland Security, Avril Haines for Director of National Intelligence, Linda Thomas-Greenfield for UN Ambassador, Jake Sullivan as National Security Advisor, and John Kerry as climate czar.
“America is back. Ready to lead the world, not retreat from it,” Biden declared on Tuesday, flanked by running mate Kamala Harris and his new security team. Biden’s six security specialists all served in the Obama administration in some capacity, and Biden’s speech suggested that his administration would pick up where Barack Obama left off.
Biden promised a departure from President Donald Trump’s “America First” brand of isolationism, vowing to assert US dominance “both in the Pacific as well as the Atlantic. All across the world.”
Biden’s picks all cut their teeth during Barack Obama’s two terms in the White House. However, in a move reflective of his party’s recent ‘woke’ turn, Biden chose to highlight their racial and gender identities when introducing them.
“We’re going to have the first woman lead the intelligence community,” he boasted. “The first Latino, an immigrant, to lead the Department of Homeland Security, and a groundbreaking diplomat at the United Nations,” he added, the latter a reference to Thomas-Greenfield, who is black.
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This identity politics, coupled with appeals to his nominees’ credentials, was the order of the day for Biden. Prospective State Secretary Tony Blinken, for example, was introduced as a man who “strengthened America’s alliances” and led “diplomatic efforts in the fight against ISIS,” and as a man who comes from a family of “immigrants and refugees and a Holocaust survivor.”
Blinken’s concrete achievements, had Biden highlighted them, would have sounded less groundbreaking. Blinken advocated for the Iraq War and the bombing of Libya and Yemen, and still calls for a return to arming rebels in Syria. He orchestrated the bombing of Serbia in 1999, called for the US to arm Ukraine against Russia, and is ambiguous on China, alternately demanding that the democratic world unite to confront Beijing, and earning praise from Chinese state media.
Similarly, Alejandro Mayorkas was described as both a consummate professional who would rid the Homeland Security Department of the “chaos, dysfunction and absolute cruelty” of the Trump administration, and “an immigrant, a Latino who knows we are a nation of laws and values.” However, while Mayorkas has been lauded by liberals for championing a path to citizenship for immigrants, he also occupied the number two spot at the department as the Obama administration detained and caged children, and deported more immigrants than any other administration in US history.
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The conflict between reality and Biden’s brand of icy professionalism in woke wrapping continued when he introduced Avril Haines as the “first woman ever” to lead the intelligence community and a “fierce advocate for telling the truth.”
Though Biden assured the public that “people will be able to take her word,” Haines aided in the covering up of the CIA’s hacking of Senate servers in 2014, as the Intelligence Committee was compiling a report into the agency’s use of torture. Haines also helped craft Barack Obama’s controversial drone warfare policy, which resulted in the deaths of hundreds of civilians in multiple countries, including at least one American citizen.
Biden’s cabinet has been hailed by liberals online, who cheered its “competence” and “diversity.”
This is so rare and so deeply, thrillingly true. https://t.co/ggSOZIOuST
— Samantha Power (@SamanthaJPower) November 24, 2020
All signs point to Biden’s cabinet shaping up to be the most diverse in history.
— Charlotte Clymer 🏳️🌈 (@cmclymer) November 23, 2020
What we witnessed today in announcement of Biden’s Cabinet choices reflect nothing less than the return of professionalism and public service to American government and the compassion, commitment, and conscience that drive it.
— Aaron David Miller (@aarondmiller2) November 24, 2020
The mainstream media too has largely echoed Biden’s words, praising the apparent president-elect’s diverse cabinet as “something very historical,” in the words of the Associated Press. Whether the media will remain enthralled by Biden’s paean to wokeness and internationalism or resume its Trump-era confrontationalism is for now, an open question.
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