A Journal of the Plague Year 2020–chapter 174

Wednesday, November 25

In comparison with the parade-of-nonentities Trump cabinet, the partially announced Biden cabinet reminds me of JFK’s crowd: the best and the brightest. 

But which is actually better for the American public? A group of air-headed, self-dealing jerks like Jared Kushner and Steven Mnuchin? Or a group of knowledgeable, perhaps too self-assured Ivy Leaguers like Secretary of State nominee Antony Blinken and possible Pentagon chief Michèle A. Flournoy? It was, after all, a similarly impressive JFK team—including Defense chief Robert McNamara and Secretary of State Dean Rusk—that got us into the Vietnam War with its 2.5 million dead.

Sometimes, there’s something to be said for ignorance and incompetence.

The Biden crowd, with the likes of John Kerry, is likely to be better for the environment than the Trumpists with their strip-mine mindset. Alejandro Mayorkas will bring a needed Latino perspective to the Department of Homeland Security.

But back to the foreign-affairs team: Flournoy, it must be said, seems to enjoy war. She favored the George W. Bush-brainstormed invasion of Iraq, U.S. military intervention in Libya, a doubling of U.S. troops in Afghanistan, and a military buildup in the South China Sea meant to put the fear into China. Avril Haines, who will become director of national intelligence, helped shape the Obama administration’s program of targeted assassinations.

Honestly, where do the Democrats find these war-loving women?

Dinner: pre-Thanksgiving lentil soup and a salad.

Entertainment: Episodes from the Swedish Wallander series on Kanopy, plus Season 4 episodes of As Time Goes By.