While many of them could be more progressive, given that Biden himself is largely a moderate making moderate nods to the progressive wing of the Democratic Party in his appointments, I have largely been not too dissatisfied with appointments made so far by President-Elect Biden. My only surprise is that a bunch of people set their pants on fire over the appointment of Neera Tanden as OMB director while barely a squeak has been heard about the appointment to NEC Chair of total Goldman Sachs flunky, Brian Deese. Actually, I do not think there even should be an NEC, which essentially replaced the CEA as the policy shop, with it usually being run by Wall Street types who are not even professional economists.
But now Biden has appointed somebody I find really objectionable and even worrisome. This is Victoria Nuland as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State in charge of policy, a pretty important post. She has been the State Dept previously, where she engaged in all sorts of obnoxiously and dangerous neocon activities. I mostly think Biden has pretty good instincts on foreign policy, not a hawk, and pretty knowledgeable. But Nuland has been associated with pushing support for Sunni extremists against Assad in Syria and encouraging overly vigorously various actions in various places that I do not or have not approved of. It may be that she is a sign of being anti-Putin, which she certainly is, in contrast to Trump, of course. But appointing her may be overdoing it. There will need to be some negotiations over strategic nuclear arms, and I know there are other areas where the US and Russia have common interests, even if indeed the US needs to hold Putin’s feet to the fire on many issues. But Biden did not need to appoint somebody so over the top and hawkish as Nuland to achieve that.