Biden has chosen employees with ties to the arms industry –...

Joe Biden has nominated Tony Blinken for the post of Foreign Minister. Through the consulting firm WestExec Advisors, Blinken has worked closely with the US arms industry and the US military. Photo: AP / NTB

Incumbent President Joe Biden is criticized for choosing employees who, through board positions, lobbying companies and think tanks, have close ties to the US arms industry.

The criticism, which comes from the left wing of the Democratic Party, is directed at Tony Blinken, among others, whom Biden has nominated for the post of foreign minister.

Blinken was Deputy Secretary of State under President Barack Obama, and when Donald moved into the White House, he co-founded with Obama’s former Deputy Secretary of Defense Michèle Flournoy the consulting firm WestExec Advisors.

WestExec Advisors keeps the client list secret, but according to The American Prospect, they work not only for several of the United States’ largest arms manufacturers, but also for foreign defense industries, including Israeli Windward.

Michele Flournoy, who is considered one of the favorites for the post of Secretary of Defense in Joe Biden’s administration, has close ties to the US arms industry. Here she’s in conversation with General John Paxton in 2010. Photo: AP / NTB

CIA top

Among the many defense and intelligence leaders who have worked for WestExec Advisors are former Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert Work, former US Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro and CIA Deputy Chief Avril Haines.

Haines was central when Obama chose to step up the use of drones to liquidate alleged terrorists, often with heavy civilian casualties. She is now nominated by Biden for the post of Director of National Intelligence, chief executive of the United States’ 17 intelligence agencies.

Joe Biden wants former CIA deputy Avril Haines as the top leader of the United States’ 17 intelligence agencies. She has also worked for Tony Blinken’s consulting company WestExec Advisor. Photo: AP / NTB

Weapon manufacturers

Both Blinken and Flournoy have served on the boards of several think tanks and consulting companies that work closely with the arms industry, the US military and the intelligence services.

Flournoy also co-founded the think tank Center for a New American Security (CNAS), which has received tens of millions of kroner from the defense industry.

In a report in 2018, CNAS argued, among other things, that the US Air Force needed at least 164 B21 bombers. What the report did not mention was that the aircraft is produced by the think tank’s largest contributor Northrop Grumman.

Eager for warfare

The future US Vice President Kamala Harris worked closely with Flournoy and CNAS in the election campaign, and she has taken several of her advisers from the think tank.

For years, CNAS has been eager for continued US warfare abroad, possible use of military force against Iran, a tougher line against Russia and China, and “significantly increased” transfers to US defense and intelligence.

Flournoy will now be one of Biden’s favorites for the post of defense minister.

Jake Sullivan has been nominated for the post of National Security Adviser for Joe Biden. He has a background as a foreign policy adviser to Hillary Clinton and was a security policy adviser when Biden was vice president. He then began working for the consulting firm Macro Advisory Partners, led by a former British intelligence chief. Photo: Carolyn Kaster / AP

Strategic insight

Biden has also nominated another veteran of the Obama administration, Jake Sullivan, to the post as his national security adviser.

Sullivan has been Hillary Clinton’s foreign policy adviser and was security adviser when Biden was vice president. He then started working for the consulting company Macro Advisory Partners, where the former head of the British intelligence organization MI6, John Sawers, is chairman.

Macro Advisory Partners has close ties to several countries’ intelligence services and offers “strategic insight” and political and security advice to its clients, but will not disclose who these are.

Criticism of Biden’s choice of staff comes not only from the Left in the Democratic Party, but also from others who dislike the widespread interplay between politics and business in Washington, not least the arms industry’s major influence on American foreign policy.

The military-industrial complex

Sixty years ago, then-President Dwight D. Eisenhower dealt with this conspiracy in his farewell speech, in which he introduced the term “the military-industrial complex.”

Eisenhower warned against the “unjustified influence” of the arms industry over US policy, stating that it posed a “catastrophic increase in misplaced power.”

A recent poll suggests that many Americans today share Eisenhower’s concern.

68 percent of those polled believe the Senate should say no if Biden nominates lobbyists and people with strong business interests for positions in his government, the survey conducted by The Data for Progress shows.

Published: 29.11.20 kl. 11:25

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