Projected President-elect Joe Biden's top cabinet selections, deeply tied to the defence industry, will likely ensure US troops get stuck in more intractable military conflicts, analysts told Sputnik.

On Tuesday, Biden announced his selection of Antony Blinken as secretary of state, Jake Sullivan as national security adviser, Avril Haines as director of national intelligence and Alejandro Mayorkas to lead the Department of Homeland Security.

Biden's picks are all Obama-era officials with whom the former vice president has worked side by side and who supported the foreign policies of then-president Barack Obama and ex-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, including intervention in Libya, a controversial approach to militants in Syria, the drawn-out withdrawal from Iraq, and others.


Biden has repeatedly vowed to end US involvement in "forever wars" like those in Iraq and Afghanistan. However, experts say his first cabinet picks make clear he may fall into the trap of igniting the very types of wars he has discredited.

"I would argue surrounding yourself with Tony Blinken, who supported the Iraq war, and Jake Sullivan, Hillary Clinton's adviser - Clinton also supported the Iraq War - sends the opposite message that he isn't in fact committed to ending 'forever wars' because he's surrounding himself with the exact same people who championed one of these 'forever wars'", Paris-based analyst Mariamne Everett told Sputnik.

Everett argued that the poor handling of the US exit from Iraq during the Obama administration led to even more chaos than the initial occupation and insurgency.

In addition, Blinken looked certain to further cement his lifelong support for Israel, making it highly unlikely to regain the confidence of the Palestinians, which incumbent President Donald Trump totally forfeited, Everett observed.

Finally, apart from backing the arming of extremists in Syria, Blinken has also supported the Iraq war, the intervention in Libya, and the Saudi campaign in Yemen.


Reports have surfaced claiming that Biden is considering tapping Pentagon veteran Michelle Flournoy as the first woman in US history to serve as secretary of defence.

Historian and political commentator Dan Lazare said all of these named and potential picks champion unregulated military spending, much to the delight of giant corporations

"Blinken, Sullivan, and Flournoy... are not only hawks but incompetent hawks whose policies resulted in hundreds of thousands of deaths and the destruction of entire societies, yet didn't advance US interests one bit", Lazare told Sputnik.

None of these historic failures had damaged their reputations or earnings in the slightest, Lazare continued. "They were rewarded with cushy defence-related jobs at places like WestExec Advisors, Booz Allen Hamilton, and the Boston Consulting Group. Now... they're back in office thanks to the Washington revolving door", Lazare added.

Biden's picks, he said, will undoubtedly make the same mistakes over again with the same dreadful consequences. "The whole thing is appalling", Lazare concluded.

Though when he initially entered office, Obama indeed promised to step away from George Bush's "global war on terror" approach and replace it with his doctrine of "retrenchment", including restoring strong ties with traditional US allies, it turned out that he did not abandon waging wars. In 2016, President Trump even called Obama and Clinton the "co-founders" of Daesh*, criticising their policies towards Iraq and Syria.

Picking Obama-era officials for key posts in the administration, along with promoting a new slogan of "America is back!", has fueled speculation that Biden's foreign policy will make a significant shift from Trump's "offshore balancing" to an approach that will very much resemble the foreign policy strategies of Obama, namely, collective diplomacy and military interventions.

Biden Pick for Top Diplomat Likely to Escalate US Interference in Syria - Ex-UK Envoy

© REUTERS / Henry Romero
Projected President-elect Joe Biden's administration is likely to involve the United States in more Middle East conflicts under a Department of State led by Antony Blinken, who has openly regretted Washington's failure to topple the government in Damascus, former UK ambassador to Syria Peter Ford told Sputnik.

On Tuesday, Biden announced his selection of Blinken as secretary of state and Jake Sullivan as national security adviser, along with other cabinet posts.

The developments come as Russia has expressed concerns over processes unfolding in Syrian territories under US control. On Wednesday, Russian Permanent Representative to the United Nations Vassily Nebenzia said separatist tendencies provoked by the external occupation are blocking attempts to restore Syria's territorial integrity.

"Blinken is on record deeply regretting that [former President Barack] Obama nixed plans for the United States to go wading into the Syrian quagmire even more than it did already, and condemning [President Donald] Trump's worthy but feeble attempts to withdraw US troops from Syria", Ford said. "The scene is set for more counter-productive US belligerence and interference in the Middle East".

Trump came under fire in both parties for trying to swiftly drawdown troops in Syria, although he authorised a few hundred personnel to stay behind to seize the country's oil.

Ford also said Blinken believes rejoining the Iran nuclear agreement will put the United States in a stronger position to tackle Tehran over its "destabilising behaviour." "If this is the mindset and the objective he brings to the table with Iran, the recalibration of relations with Iran is dead in the water", he predicted.

Contrary to Blinken's assessments, Ford added, Iran had consistently played a constructive role in blocking the expansion of terrorist elements in Syria. Ford said the bigger problem is the US "destabilising" behaviour in the region "involving serial regime change manoeuvres".

Ford is also worried about the policies that Sullivan, a former Hillary Clinton adviser, would join with Blinken in disastrously implementing.

"Neither of these appointments bodes well for peace in the Middle East, or probably anywhere else. Both appointees are classic products of the Washington conveyor belt of true believers in American exceptionalism and 'leadership' (i.e. domination)", he said.

"Neither has ever stood for a policy or a principle that was not fashionable with the Washington establishment at the time", Ford concluded.