Robert Gates, who served as defense secretary during the Obama-Biden administration, warned that Joe Biden had “been wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue over the past four decades.” Now it looks like Biden is on course to make many more mistakes, starting with his selection of veterans from the totally misguided Obama-era foreign policy establishment to serve on his national security team. Biden’s choice of Jake Sullivan as his national security advisor is a prime example of Biden’s colossal misjudgment.
Sullivan had served in the Obama-Biden administration as national security advisor to then-Vice President Biden and director of policy planning at the State Department, as well as deputy chief of staff to then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Introducing Sullivan and others he named to his national security team on November 24th, Biden effusively praised Sullivan as a “once-in-a-generation intellect with the experience and temperament for one of the toughest jobs in the world.”
This so-called “once-in-a-generation intellect” was a lead negotiator in the initial secret talks with the Iranian regime that paved the way for the disastrous Iran nuclear deal. Sullivan also played a major role in shaping Obama’s failed interventionist policies involving Libya and Syria, which opened the door to the spread of ISIS and other Islamist terrorists throughout the Middle East and parts of Africa.
Sullivan was with Hillary Clinton when she launched her farcical “reset” with Russia in March 2009. Sullivan liked the idea. “It was actually Vice President Biden who first used the word ‘reset’ in his speech at the Munich Security Conference a few weeks earlier, but it was left to Secretary Clinton and Foreign Minister Lavrov to work out what exactly that meant,” Sullivan said. What “reset” turned into was a springboard for the Obama administration to appease Russia without getting anything in return. For example, Obama’s decided in September 2009 to unilaterally abandon the George W. Bush administration’s plans to deploy a U.S. missile defense system in Eastern Europe, which had angered Russia.
While serving with Clinton at the State Department, Sullivan reportedly sent 215 messages deemed classified over the former Secretary of State’s unsecured private e-mail system, including e-mails containing information classified at the highest level of “top secret.” Will anyone be checking to see whether Sullivan, in his new job, will be communicating with Clinton and sharing top secret information with her over her current e-mail system?
After serving as a senior policy adviser to Hillary Clinton’s losing 2016 presidential election campaign, Sullivan played the role of principal critic of the Trump administration’s foreign policies. He became a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, which is financed in part by Chinese Communist-connected Zhang Yichen. While serving as the CEO of a large Chinese state-owned investment company and a member of an advisory group to the Chinese Communist Party, Zhang Yichen is also a trustee of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace where Sullivan was a senior fellow. So it is no surprise that Sullivan used his perch at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace to shamelessly criticize President Trump’s pro-Israel policies during an interview with a Chinese government-controlled media outlet.
Sullivan slammed President Trump’s decision to relocate the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. He falsely claimed that the decision “created turbulence and turmoil” in the region. “It’s hard to find a good argument for this decision with respect to advancing the cause of peace in the Middle East,” Sullivan added. To the contrary, what followed was the normalization of relations amongst Israel and three Arab countries who are willing to prioritize working together to confront the Iranian regime’s threats over differences regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Sullivan is still holding on for dear life to the fundamentally flawed Iran nuclear deal, which he is anxious for the United States to rejoin.
Biden’s “once-in-a-generation intellect” saw no problem that the Clinton campaign he advised was involved with the widely discredited Steele dossier. “There’s nothing about it that from my perspective is concerning,” Sullivan said back in 2018. In 2016, during the presidential campaign, Sullivan, acting as a loyal Democratic Party apparatchik, was spreading disinformation to reporters that Trump’s campaign could have ties to Russia.
Tom Rogan, a commentary writer on foreign policy for the Washington Examiner, hit the nail on the head in describing what to expect from Jake Sullivan. “I believe his selection will be received favorably in Moscow, Tehran, and Beijing for all the wrong reasons,” Rogan wrote. “Sullivan was a key architect of the Obama administration’s too-deferential foreign policy structures. Which is to say, its willingness to play softball in the 2013-2015 nuclear negotiations which culminated with the 2015 JCPOA nuclear deal, its appeasement of China, and its failure to counter exponential increases in Russian aggression.” Rogan added that Sullivan “is more comfortable with addressing American enemies with words than confrontation, and with building alliances on the back of requests rather than reciprocity-driven action.”
In other words, Obama’s lead from behind, blame America first approach to foreign policy and national security will be making a tragic comeback.