Started by Dr. Naomi Hunter, Nov 07, 2020, 09:41:06 PM
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Quote from: Dr. Naomi Hunter on Nov 07, 2020, 10:21:26 PMControversial Data-Mining Firm Palantir Vanishes From Biden Adviser's Biography After She Joins CampaignWithin a few days of joining the Biden campaign, the biography of former top intelligence official Avril Haines no longer listed her work for Palantir.https://theintercept.com/2020/06/26/biden-adviser-avril-haines-palantir/?utm_medium=email&utm_source=The Intercept Newsletter
Quote from: Dr. Naomi Hunter on Nov 07, 2020, 09:41:06 PMhttps://original.antiwar.com/danny_sjursen/2020/08/27/i-pity-the-fool-mr-max-boot-on-joe-bidens-foreign-policy-a-team/'I Pity The Fool': Mr. Max Boot on Joe Biden's Foreign Policy 'A-Team'by Maj. Danny Sjursen, USA (ret.) Posted on August 28, 2020 "Dream with me.Imagine an America where even marginal accountability reigned. A land of appropriate consequences for war-criminal cheerleaders. A country where going 0 for 4 on "freedom" wars – Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria – got pundits and policymakers sent down to the minors. Heck, one might make some strategic moves in a town like that.Alas, we live in the world as it is: whence one of the nation's leading newspapers – the Bezos'-billionaire-owned Washington Post – would dare deign to hire such a fedora-topped neocon-retread-shell as Max Boot as columnist. Then, surely symptomatic of the upside-down society wrought by Trump-derangement syndrome, the Post recently had the gall to proudly publish that warmonger's latest screed: "Trump relies on grifters and misfits. Biden is bringing the A Team."In his latest broadside, Boot offers his best Mr. T impression to celebrate Uncle Joe's "A-Team" – and overall propensity to "surround himself with good people," all of them supposedly "effective operatives." He saves special praise for the "veterans of high-level government service" on Biden's foreign policy team.Here again, we should look to the language. I, for one, find the prospect of Washington "operatives" running war and peace less than reassuring. But before digging into the shortcomings inherent in each of the four figures he highlighted, here's a brief reminder of why Max and his opinions should've "got the boot" long ago:Let's start with my own introduction to this king of the chickenhawks: his then celebrated 2002 book, The Savage Wars of Peace: Small Wars and the Rise of American Power – in which Max played unapologetic neo-imperial visionary and recruiting sergeant for an American reboot of a European colonial constabulary. He even, un-ironically I might add, lifted the title from the English chronicler of empire, Rudyard Kipling's poem, "White Man's Burden."He once worked with an infamous Bush-doctrine, Iraq War, architect-outfit: the Project for a New American Century (PNAC) think tank.Ever the faux-historian, Max drew all the wrong conclusions and lessons from the Vietnam War, in his more recent 2018 book, The Road Not Taken: Edward Lansdale and the American Tragedy in Vietnam. Old David Petraeus – surprise, surprise – found this work "wonderful," although, according to a real subject scholar, its endnotes "contain few, if any, materials from Vietnamese sources." The Road Not Taken belongs squarely in the – popular with mil-civ-counterinsurgents crowd – school of we could've, would've, should've "won" in Vietnam (and, by extension, Iraq, Afghanistan, et. al.) "if only" [insert implausible alternative tactic excuse here].Oh, and he's supported every war for the past half century – including some he thinks should've but weren't fought – and has hardly met a regime he wouldn't like to change.Now, for the core members of Biden's ostensible A-team of always-an-Obama-bridesmaid deputies, and just a few reasons to doubt each's competence, character, and Trump-corrective capacities:The presumed A-Team leader, Obama's Deputy Secretary of State and Deputy National Security Adviser, Tony Blinken:Though, admittedly – like Biden – more right than most in that administration on the Afghan surge folly, he played nice and helped craft a compromise policy, which, he later bragged "helped competing Afghan political blocs avoid civil war, and achieve the first ever peaceful democratic transition in that country's history." How's that turned out?Blinken was a key architect and muddled messenger for Obama's ever-shifting, never-plausible, and utterly ill-advised Syria regime-change-lite policy.After leaving office, he teamed up with Michèle Flournoy (another unnamed Biden-top-prospect) at the consulting-firm (and Obama-alumni agency) WestExec Advisors – which helped Silicon Valley pitch defense contracts to the Pentagon. Blinken was also a partner at the private equity firm Pine Island Capital Partners. Tony's a human revolving-door of interest-conflicts!A resident Russiagater, "arm-Ukraine" enthusiast, and Israeli hard-right apologist on Biden's campaign advisory team, he categorically declared that his boss "would not tie military assistance to Israel to things like annexation or other decisions by the Israeli government with which we might disagree." Good to know that international legal constraints and common decency are already off the Biden-table in Palestine – no doubt, Bibi Netanyahu took notice.Then there's Obama's ex-director of policy planning at the State Department, Jake Sullivan:He was a senior policy adviser for hyper-hawk Hillary Clinton's failed 2016 campaign. There was even chatter back then that he'd been a frontrunner for national security adviser upon her anointment.Before becoming Vice President Biden's national security guru in 2013, he was considered uber-close (pun-intended) to Secretary Clinton – at her aside on trips to 112 countries, and even reviewing chapters for her book Hard Choices in his spare time. A Vox profile dubbed Sullivan "the man behind hawkish Hillary Clinton's foreign policy." Think Libya; think Syria.Out of office, and after Clinton's defeat, he joined Macro Advisory Partners and represented Uber in its negotiations with labor unions. Incidentally, he's wedded to Maggie Goodlander, a former senior policy advisor to that militarist-marriage of Senators John McCain and Joe Lieberman. Perhaps that's why Anne-Marie Slaughter, who ran the State Department's policy planning office in Obama's first term, called Jake "the consummate insider."Next on Boot's list is career diplomat and – sure to excite old Max – George W. Bush's former undersecretary of state for political affairs, Nicholas Burns:During the Bush II years he – like its greatest Democratic Party cheerleader, Joe Biden – supported the 2003 Iraq invasion.What's more, NATO added seven new members and provocatively expanded towards Russia's very borders in his tenure as alliance ambassador.He left the foreign service in 2008, but graciously stayed on as special envoy to finalize the Indo-U.S. nuclear deal – that pact being proof-positive that nonproliferation has always been selectively applied by Washington..Nick happens to be on the board, or affiliated with, an impressive range of hawkish Washington hot-spots, such as: The Atlantic Council, Aspen Institute, Rockefeller Brothers Fund, and the Cohen Group – this last one a lobbying organization for arms manufacturers. He also gave paid speeches at Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, State Street, Citibank, and Honeywell.Lest it seem Boot only touted a Biden boy's club, there's also the former first female deputy CIA director – though Trump ironically one-upped her boss Barack by placing Gina Haspel at the Agency's helm – Ms. Avril Haines:Well, about the only thing you have to know about this A-Teamer is that she chose not to discipline any of the CIA agents implicated in the senate's tell-all torture report, then was part of the team redacting their landmark indictment.As for her supposed Trump-corrective chops: Haines supported Gina Haspel's nomination as CIA director, even though she'd been directly implicated in CIA torture.Plus, as a reminder of the duality of (wo)man, she is a fellow at Columbia University's Human Rights Institute and consulted for the "Trump-favorite" data firm Palantir, which emerged from the CIA itself.So really, here's a crew of Hillary-hawks and Obama-bureaucrats without many truly fresh ideas among them. They don't want to crash the system that birthed Trump and an age of endless wars – they are that system. The only really redeeming quality of the bunch: some helped craft the eminently reasonable Iran-nuclear deal. Count me less than enthused.Unlike Might Max and his chickenhawk crew, time was that I fought and lived beside a real life special forces A-team (Operational Detachment-Alpha) in the villages of Kandahar, Afghanistan. Mr. Boot fetishizes folks he hardly knows; I know and respect them enough to reject the disrespect of romantic-caricature. The fellas my cavalry troop shared an outpost, raised a local militia, and seized towns with, were some brave bastards – they were also flawed and fallible. We failed together in style: tactical casualties of an impossible mission dreamed up by the likes of Max Boot, and – at the time – futilely prolonged by many members of Biden's A-Team then on the Obama squad.Boot was the big (bad) ideas guy, Biden's posse – Tony Blinken, Avril Haines, Jake Sullivan, Nicholas Burns, and even Michèle Flournoy – these are "company men," polite imperialists just smart enough to run the machine, and just dumb enough not to question its putrid products. Max reminds us – not incorrectly – that if "more people in [Trump's] White House knew what they were doing, at least 172,000 Americans might not be dead."Yet, in a classic crime of omission, he lets Biden's shadow squad off the hook for their own morbid-complicity: had they not supported and shepherded an Obama Afghan surge that even their boss sensed was hopeless, 1,729 U.S. troops – during Barack's tenure – might not be dead. They included three of my own scouts, who – like our unit – were only unexpectedly routed to Afghanistan because Biden's boss chose to surge in the "good war" there:Gustavo A. Rios-Ordonez, 25, of Ohio – a Colombian national attempting to gain his US citizenship via military service, and father to two young daughters.Nicholas C. D. Hensley, 28, of Alabama – a father of three on his third combat tour.Chazray C. Clark, 24, of Michigan – who left behind a wife and stepson.Those young men – and two dozen others wounded in action that year – were proud members of my ill-fated team. They deserved better than the Biden-bunch that Boot bragged are "seasoned professionals, ready to govern on Day One." So too do some 8,600 of their brothers and sisters still stuck in Afghanistan, and many more sure to serve in whichever harebrained scheme Uncle Joe's side of the duopoly dreams up.It hardly needs saying, but most of The Donald's defense deputies haven't been stellar. Actually, most were establishment Republican or neocon retreads – or born-again war criminals like Eliot Abrams – themselves. Trump's a monster and so are his misfit managers, blah blah blah. But let's not pretend Biden's band waiting in the wings shall be our salvation. Nor delude ourselves that Boot's promise they'll be "cleaning up after a Republican president," will amount to any real cleanse of Washington's militarist system.Mr. Boot pings Trump from the right, but he also ought heed warning from the that classic lefty Cornel West – who advised we "tell the truth" about "Brother Biden." An Uncle Joe administration with an "A-Team?" Give me a break.I wouldn't fill a kickball squad with this crew..."_____________________________________________________________________________https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/us-election-joe-biden-foreign-policy-teamUS elections 2020: A who's who of Joe Biden's foreign policy teamDemocratic nominee's advisers consist of many former Obama-era officials, some who helped craft the Iran nuclear deal, drone strikes programmes and sanctions on Syria and LibyaColin Kahl (L), Antony Blinken (C), and Michele Flournoy are all advisers to Biden's presidential campaign (AFP/File photo)By Umar A Farooqin WashingtonPublished date: 2 November 2020 18:16 UTC | Last update: 4 days 14 hours agoAs a two-term vice-president under President Barack Obama, Joe Biden played a leading role in the US's often contradictory policies concerning Iraq, Iran, Egypt, Syria and Libya.So ever since the former Delaware senator announced his decision to run for president in April 2019, it's no surprise that the 77-year-old has been rather coy over his foreign policy plans should he win the race for the White House.Trying to strike a balance between some Democrats who crave a resumption of Obama-era policies and a new wave of progressives who want to correct the party's glaring failures in the Middle East, the campaign has been quiet over how it plans to address major foreign policy challenges in the region.Biden has said he plans to pursue drastically different positions from President Donald Trump, pledging to reassess US-Saudi relations and re-enter the Iran nuclear deal. But how does he plan to go about it? There are few details offered by his campaign team.Biden's critics say that throughout his political career he has appeared to lack an overarching vision for foreign policy and has instead proposed ad hoc solutions to problems as they arise.In 2003 when he was chair of the Foreign Relations Committee, he voted for the invasion of Iraq. Then in 2007 Biden opposed the surge in troops as the country descended into civil war.Robert Gates, a life-long Republican who served as Obama's first defence secretary, wrote a scathing review of the White House hopeful in his 2014 memoir, saying "he has been wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue over the past four decades".Heading into the 2020 election, Gates's damning assessment has raised an awkward question: would Biden's foreign policy be any better than that of Trump?In an attempt to lay out his worldview to undecided voters, Biden wrote an article in Foreign Affairs earlier this year stating: "The Biden foreign policy agenda will place the United States back at the head of the table, in a position to work with its allies and partners to mobilize collective action on global threats.""As a nation, we have to prove to the world that the United States is prepared to lead again."As Foreign Policy magazine noted in July, his campaign has assembled a team of more than 2,000 informal foreign policy and national security advisors, including 20 working groups.The progressive wing of the Democratic Party has slammed the massive foreign policy team, calling for advisers to be brought in that don't "have a track record" for "disastrous military interventions"."It is time to reject a foreign policy based on patronage of authoritarians, regime change, failed military interventions and world policing," an open letter signed by 400 delegates from the Democratic National Convention said."The people of the United States are tired of squandering our resources on perpetual war and occupation that result in carnage, breed global resentment and drain our treasury of funds needed to address environmental sustainability, health care, housing and education at home."Middle East Eye reached out to several of the people who have been officially or unofficially offering advice to Biden's campaign for this story, but many did not respond to requests for comment.Mildred Elizabeth Sanders, a professor of government and foreign affairs at Cornell University, said that if elected it was unclear if Biden would forgo policies of regime change, drone strikes in the Middle East and supporting autocrats."So far, aside from the Paris agreement, there isn't much evidence of a foreign policy conversion among Biden and his advisers," Sanders told Middle East Eye. "We can only hope."Here's a who's who of Biden's foreign policy advisers:Antony BlinkenBiden's foremost foreign policy aide is Antony Blinken, who worked for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and has been at the former vice president's side for nearly two decades.Blinken was an adviser to Biden in 2002 when as a Delaware senator he voted for the Iraq war, a decision that has cast a dark shadow over Biden's track record on foreign policy.Later, he joined Biden in the White House where he served as deputy national security adviser for Obama.Washington insiders have speculated that if Biden gets elected, Blinken would probably hold one of the administration's senior positions, either as secretary of state or as national security adviser.In recent months, the 52-year-old has repeatedly spoken to the media about Iran, stressing that Washington wouldn't re-enter the 2015 Iran nuclear deal until Tehran returns to compliance."Iran would have to come back into full compliance and unless until it did, obviously, all sanctions would remain in place."He has also reiterated the campaign's pro-Israel stance, denouncing the Palestinian-led Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement which seeks to pressure Israel through non-violent means to end its abuses against Palestinians."You've probably heard the vice president say this. He opposes any effort to delegitimise or unfairly single out Israel, whether it's at the United Nations or through the BDS movement."Jake SullivanJake Sullivan served as national security adviser to Biden and helped establish back-channel talks with Iran that led to the Iran nuclear deal. Sullivan later became a protégé of Hillary Clinton during her failed presidential campaign in 2016.Since Trump walked away from the Iran nuclear deal, the 43-year-old has been an advocate for returning to the accord but also lessening the US's military footprint in the Middle East.In an article in Foreign Affairs, Sullivan said that the US under a Biden administration should reestablish nuclear diplomacy with Iran, as doing so is the only way to reduce tensions and allow for withdrawing troops from the region."In choosing to abrogate the nuclear deal and bring the United States to the edge of war with Iran, Trump all but guaranteed that whatever his rhetoric on endless wars, the US presence would become even more heavily militarized."A new administration should aim to test the opposite premise: whether by restoring nuclear diplomacy, lowering regional tensions, and forging new arrangements, it can manage the Iranian challenge with fewer forces in the region."According to the Jerusalem Post, Sullivan's role goes beyond Iran by playing a role in shaping the Democratic Party's foreign policy platform after being appointed in January by Democratic National Committee chairman Tom Perez.Colin KahlColin Kahl previously served as Biden's national security adviser and is now serving as an informal adviser to his campaign.While he has become the go-to person for the campaign on issues related to Iran, he has also been outspoken on the issue of arms sales to Gulf Arab countries.He told the Financial Times earlier this year that a Biden administration would scrutinise all arms sales to partners in the region, saying both Saudi Arabia and the UAE had lost a lot of friends on Capitol Hill."Both Saudi Arabia and especially the UAE are sufficiently pragmatic to understand that they have to recalibrate their policies, or they very much run a risk of losing bipartisan support," he said.Elizabeth RosenbergElizabeth Rosenberg served as a senior adviser at the Treasury Department under Obama and is now giving "outside informal counsel exclusively to the Biden campaign for President", according to her bio for the Center for a New American Security (CNAS).During her tenure at the White House, she pushed for the implementation of sanctions on Iran, Syria and Libya.In a paper she co-authored for the CNAS in 2016, which was written as a guide for the new president to follow, Rosenberg aggressively pushed for sanctions on Iran, while also lifting others under the 2015 nuclear deal.Avril HainesAvril Haines is a former deputy director of the CIA and is expected to lead the foreign policy side of Biden's transition team if he wins.Her appointment by the campaign caused a split between liberals and progressives in the party.Haines helped craft Obama's policies on drone warfare as well as the administration's tough approach to North Korea which Biden has promised to revive.She is praised by liberals who point out that she promoted restricting the administration's drone campaign and also advocated for the release of Guantanamo detainees. Still, she was responsible for crafting the contentious drone policy alongside former CIA director John Brennan, which led to the deaths of hundreds of innocent civilians.Others note that she helped redact the Senate Torture Report and spared CIA employees for spying on Senate torture investigators. She also supported Gina Haspel for CIA director. Haspel had been directly implicated in the infamous torture programme.Michele FlournoyMichele Flournoy, who served as undersecretary of defence for policy in the Obama administration, has emerged as a possible secretary of defence if Biden gets elected.She was widely thought to be Hillary Clinton's pick for secretary of defence in 2016 and remains a likely pick in a Biden administration."The next five years will be pivotal for US national security," Flournoy wrote in an op-ed that she co-authored last month for the Defense One website."The coronavirus pandemic lays bare the fragility of our health security," she wrote."Climate change threatens generations of Americans. We must build a new American foreign policy fitted to the global challenges we face."Last Edit by Larry