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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 11/30/20

Some Liberals and Arms-Control Experts Are Cheering for War Profiteers to Be in Biden's Cabinet

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From Common Dreams

What does all this praising and access-drooling amount to?

Michele Flournoy
Michele Flournoy
(Image by Center for a New American Security from flickr)
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No matter who ends up winning Senate confirmation for top positions on President Biden's "national security" team, an ominous dynamic is already underway. Some foreign-policy specialists with progressive reputations are voicing support and evasive praise for prospective Cabinet members -- as though spinning through revolving doors to broker lucrative Pentagon contracts -- is not a conflict of interest, and as though advocating for an aggressive U.S. military posture is fine.

Rationalizations are plentiful, but the results are dangerous. It's an insidious process -- helping to set low standards for the incoming administration. Enablers now extol potential Cabinet picks who've combined pushing for continuous war and hugely expensive new weapons systems with getting rich as dealmakers for the military-industrial complex.

As journalists have brought to light, brought to light, Antony Blinken and Michà le Flournoy shamelessly teamed up to cash in while rotating through high positions at the State Department and Pentagon. At the same time, Blinken (the Biden nominee to be Secretary of State) and Flournoy (in the running for Secretary of Defense) have backed nonstop U.S. warfare.

Meanwhile, Flournoy is grimly notable for urging potentially catastrophic military brinkmanship with China. Like her unabashed pursuit of wealth from the weapons industry, her dangerously aggressive approach toward China is anything but a secret. Yet, in her current quest to run the Pentagon, she has received unequivocal support from numerous individuals who are respected in progressive circles, including those with avowed dedication to beating swords into plowshares.

From the top of the influential and well-heeled Ploughshares Fund, Joe Cirincione and Tom Collina have jumped onto the Flournoy bandwagon. Days ago, Cirincione proudly tweeted news coverage of the "Open Letter on Our Support for Michà le Flournoy to Be the Next Secretary of Defense," which he had signed along with Collina and 27 other "nuclear experts."

Other signatories of the open letter included Rachel Bronson, the president and CEO of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, as well as the Arms Control Association's board chair Tom Countryman and executive director Daryl Kimball. Former Defense Secretary William Perry also signed.

Cirincione's tweet, touting the pro-Flournoy open letter, ran into pushback from longtime peace activist Marcy Winograd, who tweeted back: "Joe, pls read her essay, 'How to Prevent a War in Asia,' which should be retitled 'How to Start a War in Asia.' Did you know she wants to continue to send 'defensive' weapons to Saudi Arabia while we 'pivot' to SCS [South China Sea] & more war games next to 2 nuclear powers?"

The reply from Cirincione offered little more than wishful thinking about Flournoy. "I disagree with many of the positions she has taken in the past," he wrote. "She is, however, the best qualified candidate for the position; the one most likely to implement serious changes should President Biden order them. Dems have also moved away from the Clinton policies she favored."

While Flournoy has awaited word on whether she'll get the nod from Biden for the Pentagon job, Tony Blinken -- the man with whom she co-founded the influence-peddling outfit WestExec Advisors -- is already the nominee for Secretary of State. Oddly, two of Blinken's most high-profile progressive boosters for the job have worked in key roles for Bernie Sanders, a leader second to none in challenging corporate greed.

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Norman Solomon is cofounder and national coordinator of He was a Bernie Sanders delegate from California to the 2016 Democratic National Convention and is currently a coordinator of the relaunched Bernie Delegates Network. (more...)

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