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Is Joe Biden Missing a Team of Rivals?

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22.09.2021

AnalIn former U.S. President Barack Obama’s administration, one senior official assigned himself the role of The Iliad’s Cassandra, warning against grand designs that would, he felt, come to grief. That was then-U.S. Vice President Joe Biden. Biden told Obama the counterinsurgency strategy his generals were recommending in Afghanistan was doomed to fail and the plan to seize al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden was too risky to try. He was right on the first one and wrong on the second. Cassandra may have given some lousy advice as well; that comes with the territory.

Who, today, is Joe Biden’s Joe Biden? The answer, plainly, is no one.

When Biden chose Antony Blinken as U.S. secretary of state and Jake Sullivan as national security advisor, I wrote he had assembled the kind of national security team that “national security professionals have been yearning for since the Bush era.” The president I had in mind, George H.W. Bush, had placed around him two genuine peers with long experience in global affairs: then-U.S. Secretary of State James Baker and then-U.S. National Security Advisor Brent Scowcroft. I believed Blinken and Sullivan fit this same mold.

AnalIn former U.S. President Barack Obama’s administration, one senior official assigned himself the role of The Iliad’s Cassandra, warning against grand designs that would, he felt, come to grief. That was then-U.S. Vice President Joe Biden. Biden told Obama the counterinsurgency strategy his generals were recommending in Afghanistan was doomed to fail and the plan to seize al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden was too risky to try. He was right on the first one and wrong on the second. Cassandra may have given some lousy advice as well; that comes with the territory.

Who, today, is Joe Biden’s Joe Biden? The answer, plainly, is no one.

When Biden chose Antony Blinken as U.S. secretary of state and Jake Sullivan as national security advisor, I wrote he had assembled the kind of national security team that “national security professionals have been yearning for........

© Foreign Policy


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