On the faces of it, President Joe Biden couldn’t be off to a better start on the national security front, with an A Team of deeply experienced foreign policy and intelligence veterans.
Biden knows a thing or two, as well, because he’s seen a thing or two.
Then again, the world comes at you fast in the White House. We’ve learned that even the most highly experienced, highly educated and supposedly thoughtful officials can make horrible, world-changing decisions. (Iraq, anyone? Vietnam?)
But for the moment, SpyTalk’s in that honeymoon phase. We’re bullish on Avril Haines as director of national intelligence, Bill Burns as CIA director (backed up by deputy David Cohen, who pioneered tracking terrorist and criminal finances at Treasury in the Obama administration) and the five-tool Jake Sullivan and Jon Finer running the White House National Security Council.
The very, very able Antony Blinken is helming State at a time when the United States desperately needs a skilled diplomat to pick up and hone its soft-power weapons. His deputy Wendy Sherman, a Marine Corps brat, congressional veteran and diplomat who played a key role in the Iran nuclear negotiations, will be a positive force throughout the department and on the Hill, among other places.
And the bench is full of all-stars and comers, too.
Welcome aboard. We wish you the best. We need you to, well, be best.
But as the man sang, we’ll be watching you.