the westminster news
Published by the students of Westminster School
By James Beit ’22
The air of change has arrived, and with it, a new president and cabinet. Yet President Joe Biden’s cabinet can be considered more the same than different. While the cabinet is truly revolutionary, being the most diverse one in the history of the United States, its policies will be as hawkish and warmongering as we have seen under previous administrations.
Biden’s pick for Secretary of State is none other than Antony Blinken, who served under the Obama Administration as Deputy Secretary of State and Nation Security Advisor. He is most notable for supporting the Iraq war and advocating for arms sales to Saudi Arabia’s war with Houthis in Yemen. This is notable as the war in Yemen has proven to be among the bloodiest long-lasting conflicts, and remains the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. It is also important to note that both sides in the conflict have committed numerous human rights violations and war crimes. Certainly, Antony Blinken will continue to support an aggressive and robust American military presence in countries all over the world.
Next, it is the legendary replacement for Jeremy Powell. I know Wall Street Bets loved his stimulus and money printing abilities. Frankly, if you have made money in the modern-day stock market, it’s most likely because of him. To replace him is the old favorite Janet Yellen. She has previously been Chair of the Federal Reserve and is known as a “dove.” She believes in Keynesian economics and will most likely continue to provide economic stimulus, perhaps in greater numbers than ever before. There are fears of significant single-digit inflation for this year. The actual number we will not know for a long time; however, modern-day guesses sit at 2%, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). If the Federal Reserve takes the right actions, it can be limited; nonetheless, this will come at the cost of the economy since it is a delicate balancing act and a great challenge. Yellen & Co will be handed an economy on fire.
Then we have the Secretary of Defense, Lloyd Austin. An African American born in Alabama and raised in Georgia. He graduated from West Point as a second lieutenant. He has received much decoration for his participation in the Iraq war and his service as a four-star general. During the Trump administration, he served on the board of military defense companies, most notably Raytheon. In his time, he has also made significant contributions to preventing suicide and improving the army’s mental health.
Merrick Garland, Obama’s attempted Supreme Court pick and while it never came to a vote because of republicans in the senate, he will be serving as Attorney General. He is known as a moderate when it comes to his court cases and is notable for his ruling on the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995, an act of domestic terrorism killing 168 people. When it comes to criminal cases, he leans towards the prosecution in a majority of cases.
Alejandro Mayorkas is the new Secretary of Homeland Security. His primary work before his nomination was his stay as Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security under Obama. In his previous job, he spent most of his time dealing with the Zika and Ebola virus epidemics and negotiating agreements with China and Israel regarding cybersecurity.
Then we get to Willam Burns, the new Director of the CIA. A lifetime diplomat and member of the foreign service, he is known for solving “tough” foreign policy decisions. He will be a key player in negotiating the Iran nuclear deal. It will be interesting to see the future of American policy in the Middle East. Hopefully, we will not approach another war with Iran in the near future as we did under the Trump Administration.
If anything, the rest of Biden’s cabinet represents a return to normal. Overall much of the “Old Guard” of the Bush and Obama administrations have returned to see action. They represent the spearhead of a new experienced hawkish foreign policy. As opposed to Trump’s failed interventionism, we have powerful people who pose a serious threat to America’s enemies.