Before Senate Approves Blinken as Secretary of State, These Questions Must Be Asked
Roots Action & Institute for Public Accuracy
(January 19, 2021) — We’ve got an email set up and ready to go to your two senators recommending some serious questions they should ask.
Blinken should be asked about his role in helping start wars in Iraq, Syria, and Libya.
Which h of those wars does he now regret? What would he do to prevent similar catastrophes going forward?
The trend of the past dozen years is away from ground wars in favor of air wars. This often means more killing, more injuring, and more making people homeless, but with an even higher percentage of all that suffering concentrated on the non-US side.
We need to know whether Blinken favors continuing this trend and how he claims to defend it morally and legally.
Much of the US public has been wanting an end to endless wars, and President-elect Biden has promised it. Blinken has suggested that endless wars shouldn’t really be ended. We need to know which of these wars, if any, he supports actually ending every US role in: Yemen? Afghanistan? Syria? Iraq? Somalia?
Blinken cofounded WestExec Advisors, a company that helps war profiteers get contracts, and serves as a revolving door for unscrupulous individuals who get rich from private money for what they do and whom they get to know in their public jobs. WestExec has paid Blinken nearly $1.2 million for advising corporations, including seven that have recently lobbied the State Department, including Facebook, Boeing, and Blackstone.
Blinken has stakes in WestExec worth $6 million. Blinken has said he will sell his stakes within 90 days and seek authorization in matters involving former clients during his first year, hardly eliminating conflicts of interest. Blinken has also been a partner in Pine Island Capital Partners, which has promised investors profitable government contracts through revolving door connections.
What is Blinken’s view on profiting from war? What about profiting from government service? How do past and future profits influence his public actions?
Such questions need to be asked, and your senators should be willing to ask them in public.
The State Department helps weapons companies, including Boeing, win foreign contracts, and approves those sales. Does Blinken believe the State Department should serve as a marketing arm for weapons dealers? Does he believe it should approve weapons sales to foreign governments? What about horribly oppressive foreign governments? Does he support the Stop Arming Human Rights Abusers Act introduced by Congresswoman Ilhan Omar?
Does he believe it was a good decision to approve arming Saudi Arabia with Boeing planes leading up to and during the war on Yemen?
The US and Russian governments are heavily armed with nuclear weapons. Blinken has encouraged hostility toward Russia. While in the pay of tech companies, Blinken has promoted blaming election problems on Russia.
What will Blinken do to scale back the new Cold War, rejoin disarmament agreements, and move us away from nuclear apocalypse?
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• Norman Solomon: “Neera Tanden and Antony Blinken Personify the ‘Moderate’ Rot at the Top of the Democratic Party”
• David Swanson: “Top 10 Reasons to Reject Blinken”
• Daily Poster: “Biden’s Revolving Door”
• New York Times: “Washington Has Been Lucrative for Some on Biden’s Team”
• David Sirota: “Potential Biden Officials’ Firm Is Promising Big Profits Off Those Connections”
• David Swanson: “20 Dictators Currently Supported by the US”
Top 10 Questions for Antony Blinken
(December 30, 2020) — Before Antony Blinken can become Secretary of State, Senators must approve. And before that, they must ask questions. Here are some suggestions for what they should ask.
1. Second to the war on Iraq, which of the disasters you’ve helped facilitate do you most regret, Libya, Syria, Ukraine, or something else? And what have you learned that would improve your record going forward?
2. You once supported dividing Iraq into three nations. I’ve asked an Iraqi friend to draw up a plan to divide the United States up into three nations. Without yet seeing the plan, what is your initial reaction, and which state do you most hope to not end up with?
3. The trend from the Bush years to the Obama years to the Trump years is now one of moving away from ground wars in favor of air wars. This often means more killing, more injuring, more making people homeless, but an even higher percentage of that suffering on the non-US side. How would you defend this trend if you were teaching children about morality?
4. Much of the US public has been clamoring for an end to endless wars. President-Elect Biden has promised an end to endless wars. You’ve suggested that the endless wars shouldn’t really be actually ended. We’ve seen both President Obama and President Trump take credit for ending wars without ending them, but surely that legerdemain cannot succeed forever. Which of these wars do you support immediately and actually in the ordinary sense of the word ending: Yemen? Afghanistan? Syria? Iraq? Somalia?
5. You cofounded WestExec Advisors, a company that helps war profiteers get contracts, and serves as a revolving door for unscrupulous individuals who get rich from private money for what they do and whom they get to know in their public jobs. Is war profiteering acceptable? How would you perform your job differently in government if you anticipated being hired by a peace organization afterward?
6. The US government arms 96% of the world’s most oppressive governments by its own definition. Is there any government on earth other than North Korea or Cuba that should not be sold or given deadly weapons? Do you support Congresswoman Omar’s bill to stop arming human rights abusers?
7. Should the State Department function as a marketing firm for US weapons companies? What percentage of the State Department’s work should be devoted to selling weapons? Can you name a recent war that has not had US weapons on both sides?
8. The US and Russian governments are loaded up with nuclear weapons. The Doomsday Clock is closer to midnight than ever before. What will you do to scale back the new Cold War, re-join disarmament agreements, and move us away from nuclear apocalypse?
9. Some of my colleagues will not be satisfied until you’re as hostile toward China as toward Russia. What will you do to help them relax and think more wisely about playing around with the future of life on earth?
10. What would be one example of a situation in which you would choose to become a whistleblower?
Add more questions for Antony Blinken as comments on this page.
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