"It is my goal to make the London Center, the premier foreign policy institute in the country, one that is shaping
the debate on international affairs and influencing decisions emerging from the Congress."
There was an ad, a public service announcement, on TV in the 70s that featured a man and a boy - ostensibly a grandfather and grandson - in a small boat, fishing. The boy asks what the word prejudice means and the grandfather says that prejudice is when you react to someone because of their religion or color. The boy says he’s not prejudice, that Jimmy is his Jewish friend. And the Grandfather responds that he is prejudiced, that he sees Jimmy his Jewish friend, not his friend.
In any case, what about these probable cabinet choices?
I did see that there is concern that there are not enough Latinos being picked by the Biden team. Or Asians.
The cri de couer coming from the media is that there needs to be more diversity.
If there is any sanity behind the idea of diversity it is to be found in the thesis that any organization will benefit from having people with different perspectives all working together to achieve the goals of that organization. The assertion is that assembling people with widely divergent experiences and perspectives will allow for more creative approaches to problem solving. This has been further expanded into the idea that having diversity, people with different ancestry, religions, and sexual preferences, will result in a better "product,” whatever that might be, whether a real good or service, a plan, etc.
This is an interesting thesis. Ask yourself this question: if you’re having open heart surgery tomorrow, do you want the surgical team to be made up of people chosen because they all passed through the medical schools which operate under the same standards, and completed residency programs that also are subject to the same standards? Or do you first want to make sure that there’s a mix of religions, nationalities and ethnicities in the operating room? Do you care if there’s diverse team, bringing different perspectives on surgery? Or do you really want them all to have pretty much the same perspective on surgery and how things are going to proceed and you really don’t want anyone chosen for anything other than their skills associated with open heart surgery?
Still, what we see in the picks for the cabinet to date, and what we are likely to see as we move forward, is diversity where it won’t benefit the nation, and conformity where we should have diversity.
No matter whether you have Lloyd Austin or Michelle Flournoy (or Jim Mattis) as Secretary of Defense, you are going to find that the ideas coming out of the Office of the Secretary of Defense are going to focus on a balanced force, each service getting roughly the same share of the budget that it received last year, the overseas disposition of US forces will remain essentially the same as it was over the past several years (despite efforts from the Trump White House to change those dispositions), that major procurement programs, short of some sort of extreme budgetary scandal, will remain essentially the same, and that there’ll be no major changes in policy except perhaps a reduction in presence operations in the Western Pacific and a lessening of our current posture vis-a-vis Iran.
US presence in Afghanistan will be plussed up, we will maintain or plus up forces in Africa, and the new Secretaries of Defense and State will look for new places to insert Special Operations Command.
The same sort of thing will apply in each department: the Biden appointees will find that the career workers in those departments will welcome them - as opposed to how they felt about Trump appointees, each of those departments will work to not only expand their budgets but also expand their reach into the American economy, rebuilding the regulations taken apart by Trump, and each will look to developing a greater penetration of American society.
In short, the one thing you can say about the Biden appointees is that there will be no diversity of thought. Sure some will be men, some will be women, there will be a host of folks with different ethnic backgrounds and sexual preferences, but what you will find is that they will share a host of things in common: most will have had a good deal of time in government in and around Washington; they will have had time working for the Democratic Party and for various left of center think tanks; most will have some connection with various government contractors - especially those working for DOD, the Intelligence Community, DHS, and the Department of Energy. Many will have spent time at various universities as part of the academic staff. The list of universities will be heavily weighed in the direction of the Ivy League. There will be a large number of lawyers. Many will either know each other or have friends in common. Most will send their children to private schools.
All will be believers in big government, central planning, and the use of virtually every organ of government to achieve broader, societal objectives. All will welcome greater global government (with themselves, of course, in the upper tiers of that movement). All will signal their greater virtue on the basis of this or that “diverse” facet of their own.
A smart friend of mine sent me an observation from a Prague newspaper that:
"The danger to America is not Joseph Biden, but a citizenry capable of entrusting a man like him with the Presidency… Blaming the prince of the fools should not blind anyone to the vast confederacy of fools that made him their prince.”
A number of years ago there was some guy who said that he looked forward to the day that his kids, and others, would be judged not by the color of their skin (today he would add a host of other discriminators) but by the content of their character. In short each would be judged on merit, each would simply be “an American” and they would have to stand or fall on their character and abilities. From his perspective, appointing someone because they were of a certain ethnicity, or skin color or religion or sex - well, that was just foolish and wrong. But, from what I can read, the Mainstream Media, and the Democratic Party, and particularly those putting together the list of folks for the Biden White House, would say that that guy was a fool. And wrong.
I know what I think; you judge.
About Pete O'Brien
Peter O’Brien has more than 30 years of successful leadership and planning experience in a wide range of organizations afloat and ashore on three continents. Mr. O’Brien’s Navy career included ten years at sea, more than a dozen years stationed overseas and multiple ...