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Parody of a Statesman: Antony Blinken, Secretary of War

by | Jul 8, 2024

Parody of a Statesman: Antony Blinken, Secretary of War

by | Jul 8, 2024

eu us energy council ministerial meeting, brussels

For Halloween last year, the United States’ highest ranked diplomat, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, dressed his son and daughter up as Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelensky and the Ukrainian flag, respectively. At a White House event on that day, Blinken’s children were photographed soliciting candy from President Joe Biden. Meanwhile, Zelensky himself had been doing his usual media circuit, appearing progressively more desperate to extract a fresh supply of “candy” from U.S. taxpayers by way of their nonrepresentative elected officials, most of whom, it would seem, have little if any interest in what their voting constituents have to say. In one poignant performance, the embattled Ukrainian commander-in-chief and former professional dancer lamented that the crisis in Israel was drawing attention away from Ukraine. In another widely disseminated video clip, Zelensky implored the audience that, if they could not give him more money, then they should at least extend him some credit, which he promised Ukraine would pay back.

It seemed as though the end was nigh for Zelensky, who was looking more and more like would-have-been Venezuelan “president” Juan Guaidó. When, during one of the primary debates, former Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy characterized Zelensky as a “Nazi” and a “comedian in cargo pants,” he boldly articulated an impolite sentiment shared by at least some of the people who have grown weary of seeing the Ukrainian president parade around in mud-green garb and hobnobbing with the likes of Sean Penn, Greta Thunberg, Ursula von der Leyen, and every politician under the sun on the military-industrial complex gravy train. And yet, Zelensky clings on to power, having canceled what was supposed to be the 2024 presidential election with the full blessing of both halves of the War Party duopoly.

In a more recent performance, on May 14, 2024, Secretary Blinken belted out Neil Young’s ballad “Rockin’ in the Free World” at a basement bar in Kiev. Blinken displayed his prowess on the electric guitar while doing his best to demonstrate that he personally relates to the people of Ukraine, who have endured uncertainty regarding their future and prospects for a return to any semblance of normal life since the Russian invasion on February 24, 2022. Dead people have obviously lost all of their freedom, so Blinken’s audience comprised a select group among the survivors savoring their tenuous existence, and the fact that they are not currently being pursued, as many unfortunate draft dodgers are, by the conscription police—at least not for now. The government of Ukraine has lowered the requirements for and lifted restrictions on the military conscription of unwilling citizens, while postponing the presidential election indefinitely, on the grounds that “We are at war.” Martial law remains in place, with Ukrainians living in what is tantamount to a dictatorship under Zelensky, notwithstanding Blinken’s heartfelt crooning about freedom and democracy.

Before becoming secretary of state, while an advisor to Biden’s campaign, Antony Blinken appears to have earned the esteem of whoever would come to run the Biden administration by setting in motion the composition of the now-discredited letter signed by fifty-one members of the “intelligence community” expressing doubts about the authenticity of the Hunter Biden laptop. The computer in question, discovered before the 2020 election, contained a surprising array of photos of Hunter and, more importantly, what looked to be texts documenting shady backroom deals between foreign governments—Ukraine and China—and the Biden family. The FBI eventually acknowledged that the contents of the Hunter Biden laptop were genuine, not a “Trump campaign product,” as Nina Jankowicz, later slated to be Biden’s czarina of the Disinformation Governance Board, had so colorfully characterized it prior to the 2020 election. Ironically, the Steele dossier, which served as the basis for allegations of collusion between the Russian government and the Trump campaign, had itself been a Clinton campaign product.

In the light of this history, Blinken’s appointment as secretary of state can be viewed as his reward for helping to maintain the markedly anti-Russia bias of U.S. citizens, including politicians, stoked for years by the media through the now-debunked Russiagate narrative, and which inclines self-styled liberals to support the prolongation rather than the resolution of the conflict in Ukraine.

Under ordinary circumstances, when two nation states are in conflict, the less powerful of the two tends to be more receptive to attempts to resolve the matter through peaceful negotiation, such as Russian President Vladimir Putin’s recent proposal, which was immediately and categorically rejected in a knee-jerk response by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, of all people. In the case of Ukraine, which has been artificially bolstered through a seemingly endless infusion of arms by the U.S. military behemoth, the war has no foreseeable limit—beyond the sacrifice of every able-bodied person in the land. (The case bears similarities to the artificial maintenance of the current U.S. president as head of state through the infusion of pharmaceutical products, even as rigor mortis appears to be setting in.) Reality in fact imposes limits, and they will be reached, sooner or later.

Those Ukrainians who comprehend the qualitative power disparity between nations in possession of nuclear warheads and those devoid of such means have declined to volunteer to serve in the U.S.-maintained meatgrinder war, which is precisely why a policy of forced conscription was imposed. What good is a quasi-infinite supply of weapons, if no one is willing to fire them? Alas, any Ukrainian who has had enough of media-darling Zelensky’s panhandling from every wealthy nation on the planet is out of luck, for he remains in power, martial law firmly in place, and has indicated that he will stay there for so long as “it” takes, whatever his overlords construe that to mean.

It’s not just the U.S. government funding the war in which Ukrainian citizens are being chewed up and spit out by the insatiable war machine as military industry profits soar. NATO officials have naturally seized the opportunity to justify the existence of their institution, the source of their gainful employment, just as they have been scrambling to do since the fall of the Berlin Wall: Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Libya, Ukraine—there’s always something for NATO to destroy! That the North Atlantic Treaty Organization was established to counteract the danger of a communist takeover of the world by the now non-existent USSR is brushed aside as somehow irrelevant by its ardent supporters and beneficiaries alike.

As the world becomes progressively more bellicose, following the infelicitous example of the U.S. military state, stentorian calls to shore up and consolidate military capacities have been heard from figures such as European Union Commission President Ursula von der Leyden, with similar jingoistic rhetoric issued also by the president of France, Emmanuel Macron. On its face, this is a puzzling development, given the twenty-year catastrophe better known as the Global War on Terror, which in no way served democracy or freedom, but instead destroyed and/or severely degraded the lives of millions of human beings. In keeping with the United States’ muscular but myopic and amnesiac approach to foreign policy, leaders of the European Union agreed in February 2024 to provide yet another $54 billion of “aid” to Ukraine, with NATO throwing in another $40 billion more recently. There’s a lot of profit to be gained, and all of the usual suspects want their piece of the pie, no matter how many hapless Ukrainians will have to die. That European, British and American leaders have no interest in resolving the conflict is nowhere better illustrated than by the “Summit on Peace in Ukraine,” held in Switzerland in June 2024, to which Russia, one of the two parties to the dispute, was not invited.

Barring nuclear holocaust, the dispute between Ukraine and Russia can only end at a negotiation table, an outcome which any competent diplomat would have worked relentlessly from the beginning to realize rather than frustrate. Instead, Antony Blinken spends his time making public appearances and issuing one-sentence slogans for spam distribution across social media platforms in an effort to appease the citizens footing the bill for the human misery and massacre to which his failure as a diplomat has led. Unable or unwilling to process the obvious implications of a war between a nuclear power and a nonnuclear power (spoiler alert: the former will win, if only through a Pyrrhic victory), Blinken daftly persists in pretending that democracy is at stake, even as Ukrainians are enslaved to fight the U.S. proxy war. The thousands of young Ukrainian men being sacrificed are just the price that must be paid. Freedom is free, but weapons are not.

It should come as no surprise that the same “diplomat” talks out of both sides of his mouth in claiming to sympathize with both the Israeli government and the Palestinians, as though furnishing some of the very weapons being used to murder thousands of civilians is easily counterbalanced with promoting the “humanitarian” treatment of those being incessantly terrorized, so long as the survivors of razed neighborhoods are provided with a bit of food and water now and then. The Blinken-Biden approach to this vexed conflict can be summed up in a piece of commonsense folk wisdom: “If you try to be all things to everyone, you’ll end by being nothing to anyone.”

Notwithstanding the frankly frightening recent public appearances of “the leader of the free world” (at the G7 meetings and elsewhere, including the disastrous debate), President Biden’s progressively deteriorating poll numbers over the course of the past several months have probably had something to do with his repeated assertion that there would be no “pause” or “ceasefire” in Israel. From the protests on campuses all over the United States, it has become clear that the antiwar left has reawakened, after eight years of slumber under Barack Obama, to abandon Biden. From the beginning, Biden materially supported Israel’s modus operandi of firing missiles at schools and mosques, homes, hospitals, and refugee camps, in an ardent quest to “Finish Hamas,” even as they embedded themselves among nonviolent civilians. When four Israeli hostages were rescued on June 8, 2024, Biden & Co. celebrated the news while downplaying, when not entirely omitting, the unsavory truth that two hundred Palestinians were killed in the process. Some people are more equal than others.

Antony Blinken has appeared occasionally to issue sincere acknowledgments of the humanity of the Palestinian people, while nonetheless insisting on the right of Israel to self-defense, as though slaughtering thousands of children has made anyone safe. The circus acts of such pseudo-diplomats would be amusing, if they were not so pathetic—and if the consequences for real, live, sentient human beings were not so devastating. All of foreign policy is not, as figures such as Blinken appear to believe, merely a matter of theater. No, the worst part of all of the shameless performances and photo-ops is that they entirely ignore the human reality of the wars being prolonged and provoked by the U.S. military state, as though bombing victims were mere fictions, and the soldiers coerced to fight were the currency of elites to expend.

The peace plan for Gaza recently drawn up by the Biden administration (certainly not Biden himself, who often appears to be unaware of where he is) could have been proposed back in October 2023, and, conjoined with a firm refusal to arm the killers, might well have saved the lives of some 40,000 persons—nearly half of which have been children—and prevented the wounding of many times more Palestinians. The U.S. government instead continues to condone Israel’s decision to follow the post-9/11 template of annihilating many multiple times the number of the criminals sought, dismissing all of the innocent victims as “collateral damage.”

Blinken’s atrocious failures in the Ukraine and Israel conflicts notwithstanding, I confess to have experienced a tinge of sympathy for him the day he was caught on film wincing as President Biden answered a reporter’s question about his previous characterization of Chinese president Xi Jinping. Biden replied, in an unedited and brash—dare I say?—Trump-like fashion, “Look, he is. He is a dictator…” Mind you, this proclamation occurred immediately subsequent to what had been billed Biden’s “historic” White House meeting with the Chinese leader, supposedly intended to ease tensions between the two nations.

Surely, given the diminished mental acuity of his boss, Blinken’s job is extraordinarily difficult to execute, as is that of Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, who is constantly in the position of concocting extemporaneous word salad responses to incisive questions posed by White House journalists. (The press secretary dismissed some of the recent videoclips showcasing a zombie-like Biden on the world’s stage as “cheap fakes”.) But Blinken’s willingness to serve not as a diplomat but as a promoter of endless war, his refusal to work diligently toward peaceful solutions to conflict, is inexcusable.

Blinken apologists may counter that every previous secretary of state during his lifetime, too, served not the cause of diplomacy and peace but the war machine. In other words, Blinken has dutifully adopted some of his most prominent predecessors as mentors.

While serving as the CIA director under President Trump, Mike Pompeo reportedly went so far as to pursue the murder of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, denounced as a traitor and a spy, for exposing the ignoble comportment, including war crimes, of the U.S. government. Pompeo’s reward? Appointment as secretary of state, in which position Pompeo aggressively pushed for war with Iran.

Under President Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton persuaded her boss to bomb Libya, chanting “Gaddafi must go!” beforehand, and later cackling “We came, we saw, he died!” when the Libyan president was sodomized with a bayonet and murdered by an angry mob. Libya, which once boasted the best education and healthcare systems in Africa, is today a failed state, a place where people have been literally enslaved. With regard to Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, Secretary Clinton reportedly inquired during a November 23, 2010, meeting over which she presided, “Can’t we just drone this guy?

Moving a bit further back, Condoleezza Rice had already served in the administration of President George H.W. Bush, who initiated the forever wars in the Middle East with his Operation Desert Storm. In the aftermath of the 1991 Gulf War, Bush Sr. bragged that he had “kicked” the “Vietnam syndrome,” that is, the disinclination of Americans to become embroiled in foreign wars in the years following the U.S. military’s retreat from Saigon. Rice came later to serve as national security advisor to President George W. Bush, during which tenure she went on a war-marketing blitz media circuit in which she repeatedly intoned, “We don’t want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud.” Rice was rewarded for her war promotion efforts with an appointment as secretary of state.

Under President Bill Clinton, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright rallied to make the 1999 NATO bombing of Kosovo happen. In a conversation with General Colin Powell (relayed in his memoir), Albright once asked, “What’s the point of having this superb military you’re always talking about, if we can’t use it?

Under President George W. Bush, Secretary of State Colin Powell expressed caution about invading Iraq when the idea was first proposed by Cheney & Co. But Powell abruptly changed his tune (for reasons which remain unclear to this day) and ended up being one of the most vocal supporters of the ill-fated 2003 invasion. Powell’s most notorious moment, and for which he has earned a place in the annals of history, was his attempt to persuade the UN General Assembly to support the second U.S. war on Iraq. In his presentation, Powell laid out all of the pretexts later debunked as bogus: the imminent threats of Saddam Hussein’s “mobile chemical labs” and the purchase of “yellow cake” from Niger, supposedly demonstrating the existence of a robust WMD program, among other ersatz evidence buttressing the claim that war had become a last resort. When it became clear that the United Nations would not support the invasion, Powell withdrew his resolution, and the war proceeded unimpeded, at which point Powell and others pivoted to insist that the war was permitted under previous U.N. resolutions allegedly violated by Saddam Hussein.

Last, but certainly not least, we would be remiss to omit the case of Henry Kissinger, the godfather of all warmongering secretaries of state, who served under Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford, first as national security advisor and then as secretary of state. Kissinger’s savage policies for southeast Asia culminated in the deaths of millions of human beings, not only in Vietnam, but also in Laos and Cambodia, the societies of which have not to this day recovered from what was done to them by the United States government in the name of democracy. Among those sacrificed were some 57,000 U.S. soldiers and the many veterans who returned home but whose lives were wrecked by their harrowing experiences in Vietnam.

Never one to insist on causation where correlation will suffice, I nonetheless feel compelled to observe that nearly all of these secretaries of state have derived a good part, if not all, of their personal wealth from having served on the boards of, or even established, defense-contracting and consulting firms. In Blinken’s case, in 2017, after a stint as deputy secretary of state (having previously served as deputy national security advisor, also under Obama), he and Michèle Flournoy, among other former employees of the federal government, launched WestExec Advisors, from which he derived $1.2 million. Blinken (along with Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin) has also been a partner of private equity firm Pine Island, which has invested heavily in military industries. When The New York Times, in an ever-more rare moment of critical journalism, dared to publish an editorial questioning Blinken’s seeming conflicts of interest, this was brushed aside by members of the War Party, who proceeded to approve his appointment as secretary of state.

Perhaps, then, in view of the long series of war promoters who have served as “top diplomat” for the United States, rather than take Antony Blinken to task, singling him out for criticism, the official title of his position should simply be emended from secretary of state to secretary of war, so as to reflect the reality of what such persons actually do.

Laurie Calhoun

Laurie Calhoun

Laurie Calhoun is a Senior Fellow for The Libertarian Institute. She is the author of Questioning the COVID Company Line: Critical Thinking in Hysterical Times,We Kill Because We Can: From Soldiering to Assassination in the Drone Age, War and Delusion: A Critical Examination, Theodicy: A Metaphilosophical Investigation, You Can Leave, Laminated Souls, and Philosophy Unmasked: A Skeptic's Critique. In 2015, she began traveling around the world while writing. In 2020, she returned to the United States, where she remained until 2023 as a result of the COVID-19 travel restrictions imposed by governments nearly everywhere.

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