Nicholas Burns, who joined the Biden campaign as a foreign policy advisor this week, was an avid supporter of the Iraq War during his time in the George W. Bush administration.
CNN reported Monday that Burns — who was the Under-Secretary of Political Affairs at the U.S. State Department during Bush 43’s administration — had joined Biden’s 2020 campaign for the presidency to drive the former vice president’s foreign policy agenda. Burns also served on the National Security Council in both the Bill Clinton and George H. Bush administrations, and is a professor at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, according to his LinkedIn profile.
According to The Intercept, Burns is a senior counselor at the Cohen Group, which the outlet describes as “a global lobbying and influence firm” that “represents weapon-makers and other companies with interests in the U.S. and overseas.”
However, what may be perhaps the biggest foreign policy notch on Burns’ belt is his support for George W. Bush’s war in Iraq that is viewed as the biggest contributor to the destabilization of the Middle East.
“The Iraq war was a war of choice … I supported the war, in my mind … we decapitated the government … we ran everything,” Burns said in 2015, though he acknowledged that the war “was a pretty serious blunder.”
Biden has since apologized for once supporting the Iraq War when he served as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee prior to becoming vice president. However, his hiring of Burns as a foreign policy advisor suggests that he hasn’t yet learned any meaningful lesson for supporting the ill-fated war that led to approximately half a million Iraqi deaths and the deaths of more than 4,400 U.S. troops.
It could also be speculated that Biden’s hiring of Burns to help shape his foreign policy is a signal to the military-industrial complex that he would accommodate their views in his administration, should be win the 2020 election.
In his memoir, former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates wrote of Biden that while he was “a man of integrity, incapable of hiding what he really thinks, and one of those rare people you know you could turn to for help in a personal crisis,” the former vice president was also “wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue over the past four decades.”
On Thursday, a Monmouth University poll of Iowa voters found that Biden was still the top choice of likely Iowa Democratic primary voters following the second round of Democratic presidential debates, despite Biden’s lackluster performance.
(Featured image: David Lienemann/official White House photo/Public Domain)
Carl Gibson is a politics contributor for Grit Post. His work has previously been published in The Guardian, The Washington Post, The Houston Chronicle, Al-Jazeera America, and NPR, among others. Follow him on Twitter @crgibs or send him an email at carl at gritpost dot com.