Mon, 11/23/2020 – 12:29
Another former Obama Administration player, Avril Haines, who notably served as the first female deputy Director of the CIA, and later as Obama’s Deputy Director of National Intelligence, will serve as Biden’s Director of National Intelligence. In that role, Haines will share responsibility for the president’s daily intelligence briefings.
Former Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs in the US Department of State Linda Thomas-Greenfield, also a longtime Obama administration official, is likely to become the new US ambassador to the United Nations.
In another major “first”, Alejandro Mayorkas will serve as the first latino Secretary of Homeland Security, after serving in a deputy role during the Obama Administration. Mayorkas isn’t widely known to the public, but he did play a key role in one Obama-era scandal, when he was implicated for exerting “improper influence” over granting immigration benefits to politically connected individuals.
Perhaps the most high-profile choice might surprise many Americans: Antony Blinken, a top advisor who has advised Biden on foreign policy since 2002, will serve as Secretary of State (he also once served as a deputy secretary of state during the Obama-Biden days). We have discussed ‘deep state’ Blinken in detail previously, and for those hoping for an end to endless wars, Blinken says not so fast:
“Large scale, open-ended deployment of large standing US forces in conflict zones with no clear strategy should end and will end under his watch…. But we also need to distinguish between, for example, these endless wars with the large scale open ended deployment of US forces with, for example, discreet, small-scale sustainable operations, maybe led by special forces, to support local actors… In ending the endless wars I think we have to be careful to not paint with too broad a brush stroke.”
Additionally, while Blinken has been a critic of Trump’s tariffs on China and has previously stated that full decoupling from China is unrealistic, he has also made hawkish statements about the need for a more comprehensive US response to Beijing. Indeed, he has specifically spoken about the need to utilize the tool of the recent Hong Kong Autonomy Act (HKAA) to impose sanctions as needed.
Finally, Jake Sullivan, an established Democratic player and former chief of staff to Secretary of State Clinton, will serve as Biden’s National Security Advisor.
All six of Biden’s national security picks held senior roles in the Obama administration,
The biggest unanswered question so far is whether Janet Yellen (former Fed chair) or Lael Brainard (a member of the Fed’s board of governors) will be selected to serve as Secretary of the Treasury over Elizabeth Warren. Though, at this point, with the central bank pivoting toward pursuing racial and economic equality, whether the truly ‘progressive’ candidate gets in or not is almost a moot point.
Clearly, as Axios’ Margaret Talev notes: The list is a deliberate effort to package nominees in a way that suggests diversity – a “first” for women and Latinos, a Black woman, and a white man.
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Author: Tyler Durden