Despite the election overtures of the progressives, a presidency of Joe Biden seems to mean a return to normalcy in the most traditional American way: by placing the military-industrial complex in charge of the defense of the country.
Joe Biden’s campaign message centered almost entirely on Donald Trump and Biden’s supposed ability to “unify” a polarized electorate and “Restore the Soul of America.” Since taking the victory last week, Biden’s potential administration has started to take shape and the reality behind the rhetoric has started to emerge.
In terms of defense, restore “soul” apparently means putting arms manufacturers back at the helm of the Pentagon.
Biden announced his Defense Department landing team on Tuesday. Of those 23 policy experts, a third have received funding from arms manufacturers, according to a report released this week by Antiwar.com.
A hawks knot
Leading the team is Kathleen Hicks, Under Secretary of Defense in the Obama administration, and employee of the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), a think tank funded by many NATO governments, oil companies and weapons manufacturers Northrop Grumman, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon and General Atomics. The latter company produces the Predator drones used by the Obama administration to kill hundreds of civilians in at least four countries in the Middle East.
Hicks was a vocal opponent of President Donald Trump’s plan to withdraw a number of US troops from Germany, saying in August that such a move “Benefit our adversaries.”
Two other members of Biden’s Pentagon team, Andrew Hunter and Melissa Dalton, work for CSIS and served under Obama in the Department of Defense.
Susanna Blume and Ely Ratner, who work for the Center for a New American Security (CNAS), are also on the team. Another hawkish think tank, CNAS, is funded by Google, Facebook, Raytheon, Northrop Grumman and Lockheed Martin. Three other members of the team – Stacie Pettyjohn, Christine Wormuth, and Terri Tanielian – were recently hired by the RAND company, which draws funds from the U.S. military, NATO, several Gulf states and hundreds of state and business sources.
Michele Flournoy is widely expected to lead the Pentagon under Biden. Flournoy would be the first woman in history to head the Defense Department, but her appointment would only appear revolutionary. Flournoy is the co-founder of CNAS and served in the Pentagon under Obama and Bill Clinton. As Under-Secretary of Defense for Policy under Obama, Flournoy helped create the 2010 troop wave in Afghanistan, a deployment of 100,000 US troops that doubled the US death toll and did little measurable progress towards ending the war.
‘Forever War’ returns
President Trump, who campaigned to stop the United States’ “Wars Forever” in the Middle East and remains the first US president in 40 years not to start a new conflict, has nevertheless also provided the Pentagon with hawkish officials. Recently ousted Defense Secretary Mark Esper was one of Raytheon’s main lobbyists, while his predecessor, Patrick Shanahan, worked for Boeing. Trump’s appointment this week of National Counterterrorism Center Director Christopher Miller as Acting Defense Secretary, along with Combat Veteran Col. Douglas MacGregor as Senior Advisor, seemed on the line. not to reverse this trend, given MacGregor’s vocal opposition to the wars in the American Middle East.
Still, Miller and MacGregor might not have been in office for a long time, if Trump’s legal challenges to Biden’s apparent victory fail. If that happens, Biden’s progressive voters could wake up abruptly when the former vice president returns to the White House.
Many of these progressives were supporters of Bernie Sanders during the Democratic primaries, while others likely held their noses and voted for Biden as opposed to Trump. Representatives Barbara Lee (Calif.) And Mark Pocan (Wisconsin), two notable progressives, wrote to Biden on Tuesday asking him not to appoint a defense secretary linked to the arms industry.
Lee and Pocan quoted President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s farewell speech in 1961, in which he warned against “Disastrous ascent” of “Military-industrial complex”.
Given Biden’s penchant for Flournoy, whom he appealed in 2016 to lead the Pentagon under a potential Hillary Clinton administration, the former vice president doesn’t seem concerned with reducing the industry’s influence. armament.
The industry is apparently also rooted in Joe. As Donald Trump edged out Biden on election night, shares of Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics and the Carlyle Group all fell. It wasn’t until the count in the swing states stopped and resumed, giving Biden the advantage, that they came back up.
If a Biden administration keeps its second candidate Kamala Harris’s post-election promise to resume regime change operations in Syria, these companies and their supporters in the Pentagon are poised to kill.
However, anti-war leftists, progressives and supporters of Bernie Sanders might soon realize that voting for a Democrat who supported the Iraq war, instead of a Republican who called him“The worst mistake ever made in the history of our country,” could simply benefit the military-industrial complex more than “The Soul of America”.
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