Biden loads his administration with Obama’s old warriors

 

They’re Baaackkk!

Career advisors are kind of like old soldiers — only they never fade away.

Last week I posted

Biden Snubs Erdogan, Refuses To Answer Phone Call In Rare NATO Cold Shoulder

and wondered how this would portend for our upcoming foreign policy since the so called Obama/Biden policy was such a smashing success.

Biden, however, has vowed to ‘stand up’ to Erdogan, and already it appears the Turkish president is being left out in the cold, as he’s being reportedly snubbed by the Biden camp. “With just seven days until Joe Biden assumes office, the US president-elect is yet to respond to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s offer of a phone call, an unusual snub for a powerful Nato ally,” Middle East Eye reports Thursday

 

Mustang put his fingers to the keyboard and gives us this –

Do any of these names sound familiar?  Wendy Sherman, brokered the Iran deal for Obama; Victoria Nuland, leading envoy to Europe and State Department spokesperson; Amanda Sloat, Obama’s expert in trans-Atlantic affairs and US-Turkey relations; Andrea Taylor, Obama’s advisor on Russia; Jon Finer, Biden’s former speech writer and advisor to the NSC under Barack Obama; Brett McGurk, Middle East Advisor for Bush, Obama, Trump; Sasha Baker, former advisor to Elizabeth Warren (known for her far left ideas); Elizabeth Cameron, Obama’s advisor in Global Health Security; Juan Gonzalez, Biden’s former Latin American advisor; and Sumona Guha, Obama’s advisor on Middle Eastern affairs.  

Well, they’re all back in Biden’s lineup because (a) Obama’s foreign policy was such a grand success, (b) because they need the work, and (c) because these unelected officials never, ever go away.  A few important posts remain unfilled so there is still room for Susan Rice, Jaimie Gorelick, and Samantha Power.

Reams of opinion-centered articles could be written about any of these people, but for now — let’s take a look at Brett McGurk, a man who served two Republican and one Democratic presidents.  He’s no light-weight.  He is well-educated and no doubt earmarked for wondrous things in the future.  He served three clerkships for notable jurists, including William Rehnquist.  He was an associate at Kirkland and Ellis as an appellate attorney, and he taught law courses at the University of Virginia School of Law.

 

Secretary Kerry Speaks With Deputy Assistant Secretary McGurk

 

According to his biography, McGurk “helped lead negotiations with Turkey to open Incirlik Airbase for counter-ISIL missions.”The phrase “helped lead” is honorific, of course.On international councils, the person who makes coffee is helping to lead.A coalitionist, by the way is a global community organizer.He was still working in this capacity under President Trump, whom McGurk said in 2017 had dramatically accelerated the US-led campaign against ISIL.McGurk is credited with “helping to organize Arab and Kurdish fighters” in defeating ISIS [Note 4].Within the Trump administration, he “led talks with Russia and Jordan” to establish a ceasefire zone in southwest Syria.Or, he drew a map of sorts and labeled it in the Cyrillic alphabet.Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, however, publicly credited McGurk for doing a great job in Baghdad.

In 2012, after his nomination to become the US Ambassador to Iraq, replacing James Jeffrey, a series of emails were leaked to the press that suggested McGurk was having an extra-marital affair with Wall Street Journal reporter Gina Chon.Critics (likely Democrats) claimed that his illicit affair called into question is ability to serve as a US Ambassador; those who supported him argued that it was merely a temporary lapse in judgment. McGurk and Chon subsequently married, but Chon was fired from WSJ, allegedly for sharing articles with McGurk before publication.

When President Trump announced the US troop withdrawal from Syria, McGurk resigned his post “in protest.”The highly publicized resignation prompted President Trump to wonder, “Who is this McGurk fellow?”Within a month, McGurk openly criticized the president’s decision in The Washington Post (and on Twitter) because it was “made without deliberation, consultation with allies and Congress, or an appreciation for the facts.”

Of course, Brett McGurk has never had to personally inform a mother or wife that her husband was killed in a non-declared war in the middle of a desert no one really cares about — so one might understand why he was angry at President Trump for daring to make a presidential decision without consulting him first.On the other side of this coin, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice offered her highest appreciation for McGurk’s skill as a professional diplomat.

More recently, McGurk served at NBC and MSNBC as a senior foreign affairs analyst and, in this capacity, regularly speaks to public audience about nation security strategy, war, diplomacy, and high-level decision-making.Of course, no one who responds to his obvious charm and charismatic personality seems to understand that war constitutes a failure in diplomacy — which brings one to wonder, which of those two is he MOST expert in?

McGurk’s nomination to serve Biden on the National Security Council was heralded in the press as sending a “strong signal to Turkey” — although no one on the NSC staff or at foggy bottom seem to know what Turkish President is likely to do.And, as our friend Bunkerville pointed out the other day, President-elect Biden refused to accept a phone call from Erdogan, and if not a diplomatic faux pas, it is at least culturally insulting.If Erdogan was looking for a signal, he received one — but the question remains, what will Erdogan do with the snub?

Mutual snubbing has been the norm between Biden and Erdogan since 2016, when then Vice President Biden made a trip to Turkey and was officially greeted by the deputy mayor of Ankara, rather than a high-ranking diplomat.Under the Trump administration, relations between the US and Turkey improved and many of the so-called flash-points of strained relations were put aside.Now they’re back with Biden assuming the presidency.According to Michael Rubin, a former Pentagon official and resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, “The only thing holding the [US-Turkey] relationship together for the last several years has been Trump’s personal relationship with Erdogan.With Trump removed, Erdogan should be very worried.”

Americans should be worried, as well — particularly those who are tired of the Middle Eastern Wars of attrition.I don’t see U. S. Marines landing in Turkey to beat the heathen into compliance with Biden’s foreign policy, but there is a good possibility that the Middle Eastern sandbox will get deeper when Iran (whom Biden favors over Turkey) reaps the benefits of a decidedly leftist, poorly contrived foreign policy.And the man leading that charge will no doubt be Brett McGurk — who as one knows, is an “expert” in war and organizing armies.

Indeedy — the swamp is just fine and we can be doubly proud of our American voters; another good job.

Endnotes:

[1] The current senior advisory committee includes Ken Dubertein, Caroline Kennedy, William Delahunt, David Axelrod, Richard Berke, Sara Bianchi, Heather Campion, Torie Clarke, Manny Diaz, Joseph Kennedy III, Susan Molinari, Philip Sharp, Olympia Snowe, Elsie Stefanik, and Christine Todd Whitman.

[2] There are over 5,000 members of the CFR, including senior politicians, more than a dozen former secretaries of state, CIA directors, bankers, lawyers, and senior media personalities.Janet Napolitano is a member of the board, along with Fareed Zakaria.

[3] Today, Allen runs the Brooking Institute, a left-leaning think tank.

[4] One has to wonder how someone without any advanced military training is able to claim expertise in military strategy or tactics, so one suspects this credit is an undeserved laurel intended to improve the resume of a third deputy assistant to the under-secretary of (fill in the blank.)Quite often in government, the term “senior policy advisor,,” , etc., is a title with no clear delineation of responsibility.

 

Mustang also blogs at Fix Bayonets and Thoughts From Afar

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