Biden introduced his cabinet after gushing at length about his “unrelenting belief in the promise of America,” piling on the clichés as he trotted out his hand-picked pack of Obama administration second-stringers he previously worked with as vice president.
“We can’t solve all the world’s problems alone. We need to be working with other countries,” Secretary of State pick Antony Blinken declared, underlining the bland statement by pleading that “we need their cooperation, we need their partnership.” He underlined his pledge to meddle more in foreign affairs with a heartstring-tugging World War Two anecdote of a family member being rescued by a US tank knowing only the phrase “God bless America” – a cliché most film directors would reject as too on-the-nose.
Department of Homeland Security pick Alejandro Mayorkas echoed Blinken’s promise to “work day and night in service of this nation,” though aside from a brief reference to his parents’ heroic struggle to “escape communism” he didn’t have any cinematic bones to throw the American population.
Avril Haines, the proposed Director of National Intelligence who’d be the first female to hold the role, vowed to use her position “to help advance our security, our prosperity and our values.” A celebration of her glass-ceiling-shattering nomination came all the way from Israel, however. Sources close to Mossad director Yossi Cohen told the Jerusalem Post that Cohen was thrilled to see the US intelligence community be led by a woman.
But Linda Thomas-Greenfield, Biden’s nominee for US ambassador to the UN, had perhaps the most disturbing words for the international community. Addressing “my fellow career diplomats around the world,” the long-serving politician said, “America is back, multilateralism is back, diplomacy is back.” This is not quite as warm and fuzzy of a promise as it sounds, given the hawkish nature of the Obama presidency and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s unprecedented efforts in that administration to turn the State Department into another tentacle of the Pentagon.
National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan promised to “be vigilant in the face of enduring threats, from nuclear weapons to terrorism,” pledging to work “relentlessly” to “keep our country and our people safe, to advance our national interests, and to defend our values.”
Failed 2004 presidential candidate, Obama administration Secretary of State and incoming climate czar John Kerry promised to bring the world together to deal with environmental issues, warning that “no one should…doubt the determination of the country that went to the moon, cured supposedly incurable diseases, and beat back global tyranny to win World War II.”
“This kind of crisis demands that kind of leadership again, and President Biden will provide it,” Kerry continued, declaring the same Biden administration that promised ‘nothing will fundamentally change’ would not only measure up to heroic wartime presidents but simultaneously trust in both God and science, lift the fallen middle class up out of the ditch the Covid-19 shutdowns plunged it into, “leave a healing planet for future generations,” and “strengthen the security of every nation in the world.”
Vice president-elect Kamala Harris underlined the return to Obama-era foreign policy with a promise that the US would “reassemble and renew America’s alliances [and] rebuild and strengthen the national security and foreign policy institutions that keep us safe and advance our nation’s interests.” Her words served as an uncanny echo of former Pentagon chief James Mattis’ denunciation of Trump’s foreign policy in a Foreign Affairs piece published Monday: Mattis wrote that a Biden administration must “eliminate ‘America First’ from [the US national security strategy’s] contents.”
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