Posted 256 days ago
This article is pretty depressing, as it shows that a large part of Biden’s team plays into the National Security apparatus that keeps chugging along spending and spending taxpayer dollars.
He clearly shows how Antony Blinken (Secretary of State), Jake Sullivan (National Security Adviser), and Avril Haines (Director of National Intelligence), have all moved between government roles and private consulting/contracting firms over the past years. Brownlee makes the obvious connection: what incentives do these people have to actually stop defense spending.
Meanwhile, US office seekers and business leaders realize immediate benefits from supporting the war on terrorism – and accessing its rents.
If they are working in governments that are actively pursuing “defense” spending, and then profiting off of consulting services for companies related to “defense” spending, why would they every stop?
The response that I could potentially think of is that they see defense spending as a critical issue. Assuming they don’t have any negative ulterior motives (for amassing wealth), they could legitimately see their roles both in government and private contracting as essential to the security and safety of the nation, and potentially the globe more broadly.
But this puts a lot of trust in these people. I think that there is a growing sentiment in the US to leave global conflicts, whether US troop-based or drone-based, and to reduce spending on the military at large. A good step could be to pursue a polity that bars politicians from working in any company that has government contracts (or at lease participating in any part of the company that does so) for 8 years. This would ensure that the governing party would have changed and there wouldn’t be so many connections that seem way too dubious. The latter should also be true: you cannot run for office coming straight from a defense company (for profit) that makes money through federal contracts.
This way, we could separate money-making from policy-making. There would be nothing wrong with a person working for a non-profit (even if they make a handsome salary), as that is an entirely different category. I think this needs to be addressed.