The Key Point About Joe Biden's National Security Picks: It's Truly The Biden Show

This shared consensus on foreign policy is a big change from the Trump and Obama teams.

11/26/2020 8:53:00 AM

This shared consensus on foreign policy is a big change from the Trump and Obama teams.

This shared consensus on foreign policy is a big change from the Trump and Obama teams ― and an opportunity to reform U.S. global relations.

, Biden will manage America’s role in the world with a team that is already deeply committed to his perspective ― which could help him get far more done in a job that already has outsize influence over global affairs.News about Biden’s choices began to spread on Sunday night, when Bloomberg revealed that he would tap Antony Blinken as secretary of state and Axios reported that Linda Thomas-Greenfield would be his ambassador to the United Nations. Less than 24 hours later, Biden’s team confirmed that reporting and unveiled more appointments, notably Jake Sullivan as national security adviser and Avril Haines as director of national intelligence. Reporters, commentators and foreign policy activists scrambled to highlight various parts of the appointees’ pasts to predict how they will behave once in office.

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Most of the resulting commentary missed that nearly all of the picks share a crucial characteristic: years of working with Biden, who has his own complex views on international relations and a track record of both achievements andmiscalculations. The former vice president is a firm believer in U.S. leadership on the world stage, seeing a role for America in tackling a range of global challenges that may seem remote to some stateside, but he is also cautious about dramatic interventions or attempts to force major changes abroad.

Whether the issue is changing American policy toencourage diplomacybetween the Israelis and the Palestinians, reining in U.S. counterterror operations that have killed thousands of civilians overseas, or reducing international troop deployments, Washington’s national security apparatus will soon be guided by the preferences of Biden and people who hew closely to his thinking.

That poses risks like groupthink and a disregard for dissenting views. But it’s also an opportunity, particularly welcome for those who were horrified by how Trump amplified historic problems in U.S. foreign policy like excessivereliance on the military-industrial complex

and who want Biden to be creative and interrogate established thinking.The outgoing president’s initial foreign policy team seemed to hardly understand the system they were taking over, much less share a vision for it. Halie Soifer, a former State Department official under Presidents Obama and George W. Bush who has also advised Vice President-elect Kamala Harris and senators close to Biden, noted the difference between the team in waiting and Trump’s relationship with his first secretary of state, Rex Tillerson.

“They met for the first time in the interview. It’s just such an incredible contrast: Those two men did not know each other. ... Rex Tillerson probably still doesn’t know what Donald Trump’s worldview is,” said Soifer, now the executive director of the Jewish Democratic Council of America. “With Biden and Blinken, they’re almost family at this point. They are incredibly close. And similar things could be said about Jake Sullivan.”

A Team Of AlliesObama became president after less than four years as a senator, which had been his first position that required work on foreign policy. He gathered national security advisers fast and had a deep bench of Democratic talent to choose from, but the figures he elevated were primarily associated with others in the party ― like his primary rival Hillary Clinton, who became his first secretary of state, or John Kerry, the Democratic presidential nominee before Obama and his top diplomat in his second term.

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As Obama confronted crises abroad, the feeling that there were different, sometimes competing centers of power at the White House, the State Department, the Pentagon and elsewhere never fully abated. The question of who best represented the president or who could swing his views was frequently debated both publicly and privately.

Under Trump, who saw diplomacy as a question of how nicely foreigners treated him and was even less familiar with the world of national security experts, the fractures among important agencies working on global affairs became even starker. Trump’s penchant for sudden hires and fires based on a dizzying mix of personal and ideological reasons exacerbated the sense that no one really knew who was in charge or what the U.S. was trying to do.

Kevin Lamarque/ReutersPresident Donald Trump had little familiarity with his first secretary of state, Rex Tillerson (left), before he appointed him. Trump eventually fired him via tweet.Biden’s Washington will operate very differently.At Foggy Bottom, for instance, Blinken will have a clear mandate. “There is no doubt not only that he has the ear of the president but that he has been a part of shaping Biden’s worldview and policies. He just intuitively knows where Biden stands on every issue that matters,” Soifer said.

Former officials expect coherence and team spirit to grow even stronger between Biden and his top advisers after having secured such a hard-won election victory.John Brennan, a former CIA director, believes that will be the case for chief intelligence official-to-be Haines, who, like Blinken, previously worked with Biden in the Senate. “She enjoys the complete trust and confidence of Joe Biden, who will look to Avril to restore integrity and honesty at the helm of the intelligence community,”

Brennan saidin a statement.And international observers welcome the sense of predictability and competence that many believe has been missing for four years. Read more: HuffPost »

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What’s the big deal about shared consensus. Thats what leadership is all about, consideration of all views and then acting accordingly. A world apart from considering no views, making bizarre decisions based on no facts and then denying making those decisions. Doubt intensifies 🤔 The dude literally IS the Obama team, what could possibly make a 'big change' in his mind about foreign policy after all these years

it's unclear from which facts author makes its conclusions. one more «eternal glory to chairman Joe» Biden please bring us back to civility. This nation needs to find its purpose to lead in technology, energy, climate, education, human rights, economy, health care and Innovation. We’ve been stragglers for too long.

kuku27 Good, professionalized Lol. No one believe that Biden's cabinet: