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Summer of the Hawks


Wishful thinking is still the rule among Biden’s foreign policy team, as the slaughter in Ukraine continues

National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan and Secretary of State Antony Blinken in the Oval Office at the White House on June 22. / Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images.

It’s been weeks since we looked into the adventures of the Biden administration’s foreign policy cluster, led by Tony Blinken, Jake Sullivan, and Victoria Nuland. How has the trio of war hawks spent the summer?

Sullivan, the national security adviser, recently brought an American delegation to the second international peace summit earlier this month at Jeddah in Saudi Arabia. The summit was led by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, known as MBS, who in June announced a merger between his state-backed golf tour and the PGA. Four years earlier MBS was accused of ordering the assassination and dismemberment of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, for perceived disloyalty to the state.

As unlikely as it sounds, there was such a peace summit and its stars did include MBS, Sullivan, and President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine. What was missing was a representative of Russia, which was not invited to the summit. It included just a handful of heads of state from the fewer than fifty nations that sent delegates. The conference lasted two days, and attracted what could only be described as little international attention.

Reuters reported that Zelensky’s goal was to get international support for “the principles” that that he will consider as a basis for the settlement of the war, including “the withdrawal of all Russian troops and the return of all Ukrainian territory.” Russia’s formal response to the non-event came not from President Vladimir Putin but from Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergei Ryabkov. He called the summit “a reflection of the West’s attempt to continue futile, doomed efforts” to mobilize the Global South behind Zelensky.

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