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WRM Elsewhere
A Conversation with Tony Blinken

Our very own Walter Russell Mead sat down with Deputy Secretary of State Tony Blinken on Wednesday at the Council on Foreign Relations to discuss the challenges facing foreign policy makers today. You can watch their exchange below.

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  • Anthony

    Multilateral Diplomacy in the Modern World interview provides Secretary Anthony Blinken a CFR forum to articulate Administration’s 71/2 year efforts globally (and within UN). The 52 minutes are not an easy session for the Secretary though WRM exercises questioning restraint (time considerations perhaps).

  • WigWag

    God help us if Hillary Clinton wins the presidency. If she does, many of the nitwits in Obama’s foreign policy shop will be thrown out on the garbage pile; cretins like John Kerry, Susan Rice and Ben Rhodes will all be marking time at one irrelevant think tank or another. But not Tony Blinken; he cut his teeth in the Clinton Administration. After listening to his vacuous talk, its frightening to think that a Clinton victory likely means a promotion for him. The man is a weasel.

    Professor Mead asked Blinken a couple of moderately tough questions but for the most part he lobbed softballs. Here’s what pundits like the good professor don’t get; it doesn’t matter whether they’re Republicans or Democrats or liberals or conservatives; our bipartisan foreign policy elites fail not just because their ideas are blinkered, but because by virtue of their social class they are ill-equipped to understand what’s best for America. If by some miracle, they do stumble into an understanding of what a successful foreign policy would look like, they are ill-equipped to develop or implement a strategy to carry it out.

    Nobody epitomizes this sad state of affairs more than Tony Blinken. Like so many of our elites, he emerged from the womb a pampered, protected and privileged priss. Blinker’s father was a financier; one of America’s first and most successful venture capitalist. His mother was a doyenne of the arts; she was a close friend of Leonard Bernstein, John Lennon, Mark Rothko and Christo.

    Blinker’s mother and father divorced when he was young and he moved during his early teenage years to Paris with his mother and his stepfather, a holocaust survivor who had spent time in Auschwitz. His stepfather, a world-renown lawyer introduced young Blinken to all the best jazz clubs in Paris.

    Blinken moved back to New York City to attend high school; he went to Dalton on the Upper East Side. For those who are unfamiliar with it, Dalton is one of the four most elite private schools in New York catering to the sons and daughters of the rich and famous (the other three are Trinity, Fieldston and Friends Academy); it is almost impossible to graduate from one of these schools with your humility intact, though the students do learn how to fake humility.

    From there, of course it was on to Harvard and the Columbia University Law School followed by a first job in the Administration of Bill Clinton.

    Here’s the thing, Professor Mead; Blinken’s pedigree makes it virtually impossible for him to be an effective public servant. He is too educated, too isolated, too self impressed and too oblivious to be anything other than what he is; an incompetent bonehead.

    Of course, it’s not just Blinken. Our entire country is run by people exactly like Tony Blinken. Some are Democrats; some are Republicans. Guess what? It doesn’t make a damn bit of difference. They are all destroying our country.

    As for you, Professor Mead; you asked some pretty good questions, but you shied away from asking a couple of tough but obvious questions.

    Here are the questions that you should have asked:

    “Tony, your stepfather was in Auschwitz and Dachau. Considering the number of people gassed to death in the Camps, how do you live with yourself working for an Administration that did nothing to prevent Bashar al-Assad from gassing Syrian men, women and children to death? How do you reconcile your stepfather’s experience with the fact that Assad is continuing to pass his citizens down to this day?”

    “Tony, your stepfather was a victim of a plot by a mad man to exterminate the Jewish people. While he survived, almost everyone in his family was killed. Today, Iran threatens to wipe out the Jews and they have the knowledge to develop nuclear weapons which could accomplish the task. Did you consider resigning from the Administration when President Obama decided to ally the United States with Iran and pave the way for their eventually development of a nuclear weapon?”

    You did okay with your questions, Professor Mead, but to ask the tough questions would have taken guts.

    • ljgude

      I went to Columbia so I know these people and I think your word ‘weasel’ catches Blinken perfectly. He sets up a straw man argument by characterizing the people who supported Trump as wanting to pull up the drawbridge when all they are asking for is that existing immigrations laws be enforced. It isn’t a choice between isolationism and building bridges, but a choice between putting a border control post on the bridge or open slather. (Which as you say neither Republican nor Democrat members of the Davoise are prepared to even consider.) And he is just being dishonest when he claims that they want to disengage with the world. They just want to stop being sold down the river in crony capitalist trade deals that he and his classmates in the private sector put together to screw ordinary Americans and enrich themselves. Your comments vis a vis Iran are right on the money. Obama has acted precisely against The American Interest in relation to Iran and Islamists in general. I don’t blame WRM for not asking questions that tough in the ‘collegial’ atmosphere of the CFR and it is probably as well that civility still prevails in those venues. It is nice to see the illegitimi exposed in polite circumstances where we can observe the exquisite cut of their new clothes.

      • WigWag

        I agree with you completely; Blinken does what Obama specializes in; setting up binary choices that have no relationship to reality. It’s not about free trade or no trade; it’s about setting up a trading system that works for everyone; not just wealthy elites. It’s not about shutting down immigration completely or advocating open borders; it’s about setting up an immigration system that works not only for immigrants but also for average Americans. In Syria, its not about a massive ground invasion as in Iraq or Afghanistan or doing nothing at all, its about thoughtful intervention strategies that are prudent but effective.

        In his talk, Blinken did exactly what the pundit class and the rest of the American clerisy does to Trump all the time; they don’t report on Trump’s positions, they report on a caricature of Trump’s positions.

        What usually goes unsaid is that Tony Blinken, the entire Democratic and Republican foreign policy establishment, most of America’s pusillanimous pundits, academics at all the “best” universities and the editors, publishers and writers for the American Interest, all share one thing in common; a massive interest in maintaining the status quo. The status quo enriches them, it makes them influential, it ensures their continued employment, it salves their guilty consciences and it affirms their cultural values.

        The fact that the same status quo that they find so benevolent is literally destroying the prospects for millions of their fellow citizens matters not an iota to this greedy crowd. Tens of millions of square miles in America have literally been turned into a wasteland because of the crony capitalism that you mention ljgude, But as long as they live within a ten minute drive of a Whole Foods, the Tony Blinken’s of the world couldn’t care less.

        Their crowd needs to be stopped.

        • FriendlyGoat

          “It’s not about free trade or no trade; it’s about setting up a trading system that works for everyone; not just wealthy elites.”
          This is hard when virtually no one but wealthy elites own or manage the companies who do the international trading and lobby for the provisions in agreements.

          • WigWag

            It’s also hard when the Democratic candidate for President was paid hundreds of thousands of dollars for speaking to those companies and the elites who run them.

          • FriendlyGoat

            Totally irrelevant in the long-term past or the long-term future. GHW Bush negotiated NAFTA. TPP and TTIP are in the Obama era. Something else will be in 10 years.

      • Jim__L

        Why does our State Department believe that unilateral disarmament is the proper response to China’s trade war against us?

      • Andrew Allison

        I propose illegitimati as a noun to describe these completely out-of-touch elitists.

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