Biden’s China-related appointments represent a Democratic Party dream team of consummate insiders with a Beltway accent, fluent in the business of politics and the politics of business.
The placement of Anthony Blinken as Secretary of State, Kurt Campbell and Laura Rosenberger at the National Security Council, Jake Sullivan as national security adviser, Lloyd Austin heading the Pentagon and William Burns leading the Central Intelligence Agency is a manifestation of Biden’s centrist worldview. It’s an old-school business-as-usual approach, a congenial crowd comfortable with both the security establishment and corporate giants, especially energy, tech and defense contractors.
More ideologically hawkish candidates, such as Michele Flournoy for the Pentagon, and Mike Morell, formerly of the CIA, met with internal Democratic Party resistance and did not secure the jobs they vied for. Flournoy may have over-extended herself in the private sector, including affiliations with WestExec, Booz Hamilton, Boston Consulting and Pine Island Capital. Pine Island, a private equity firm, has emerged as another boutique power nexus to watch. Both Blinken and Flournoy were partners there, and its outsized influence in the new administration includes newly-appointed Pentagon chief Austin.