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Biden’s Foreign-Policy Team Takes Shape
Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks to the press in Washington, Aug. 10, 2016.
Brendan Smialowski/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

Biden’s Foreign-Policy Team Takes Shape

Walter Russell Mead

The news that President-elect Joe Biden is expected to nominate Antony Blinken as secretary of state and to appoint Jake Sullivan as national security adviser speaks volumes about the next era in U.S. foreign policy.

For one thing, it illustrates that the Biden presidency will not be a third term for the Obama foreign-policy team. Mr. Blinken has a decadeslong history with Mr. Biden, and, like Mr. Sullivan, served Vice President Biden as his national security adviser during the Obama years. As a former chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and a hands-on vice president, Mr. Biden comes to the White House with more foreign-policy experience than any post-World War II president besides Dwight Eisenhower and George H.W. Bush. America’s new foreign policy will have Mr. Biden’s fingerprints all over it; the president-elect knows what he wants and is choosing a team he believes can deliver it.

The second, related point the appointments make is that Joe Biden has turned to what Obama adviser Ben Rhodes famously called “the Blob”—experienced foreign-policy insiders who work comfortably within the key assumptions that have guided U.S. foreign policy since the late 1940s. The members of the new Biden team have worked with many of their peers and counterparts abroad. Mr. Blinken and the likely new defense secretary, Michèle Flournoy, worked together during the Trump years at WestExec Advisors, a corporate consulting firm they helped found whose blue-chip client list and ties to Silicon Valley attracted progressives’ ire. This is not the Squad’s dream team, but the president-elect seems untroubled by that perception.

Read the full article in the The Wall Street Journal

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