Thank you Heather.

Secretary Blinken has certainly paved a path of enlightenment.

Why does it seem we are living in a different nation as the GOP ? If only they would listen to reality and not their own censored echo chamber.

Together we could achieve so much more.

Be safe. Be well.

Expand full comment

Why is it that when commentators mention the 14th section 3, they don't emphasize the "aid and comfort" phrase? We don't have to have a conviction in any court we have the timeline of the 6th. His speech sends the protestors to the Capital. We have testimony stating Trump didn't want to do anything about protestors while they trashed the Capitol and fought the police. Then when he does decide he's accomplished his goal, he sends them home and they go without protest. Add the sedition convictions of the Proud Boys and you're done.

Does this apply to the president? Article II Section 2 "The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States.."

Section 3

No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice-President, or HOLD ANY OFFICE, civil OR MILITARY, under the United States, or under any State, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, OR GIVEN AID OR COMFORT TO THE ENEMIES THEREOF. But Congress may by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability.

With that, we can perhaps take down the Senators and Representatives who stood to try and enact the false elector scheme. (Senator Ted Cruz, Senator Josh Hawley, Representative Paul Gosar, Representative Jody Hice, Representative Majorie Taylor Green, Representative Mo Brooks Jr., Representative Scott Perry, and Representative Louie Gohmert - there were others but they didn't continue their support after the Congress returned to session). I think this is the right link. But it's all in the Congressional Record to include the specific objections to swing states and the rejection of objections that didn't have a Senator to support the objection.


Expand full comment

This is an extraordinarily concise and shaking summation of the US and world situation. I have to marvel at the ability of qualified politicians to convey complex ideas to citizens (if they're paying the slightest bit of attention). Scarily like the leadup to WW II.

--- Democracies are under threat, Blinken said. “Challenged from the inside by elected leaders who exploit resentments and stoke fears; erode independent judiciaries and the media; enrich cronies; crack down on civil society and political opposition. And challenged from the outside, by autocrats who spread disinformation, who weaponize corruption, who meddle in elections.”

Expand full comment

Anthony Blinken does not stand alone. He is backed by the hard work and professionalism of the civil and foreign service workers who staff the Department of State.

Quoted below is the text from the Project 2025 section on the reorganization of the Department of State. It is crystal clear on the stated intentions of the Republicans to purge the the Department and gut it of any professionals who are not willing to obey orders and fall in line behind whatever whims the President has. Acting UNCONFIRMED political appointees will be in place on Day 1, no person in leadership at the beginning of Day one should be there by the close, the Department will be gutted of professional staff with any differing or dissenting views, another layer of political appointees will be inserted to ensure that there is no dissent.

US foreign policy evolves and is refined and implemented by the career professionals at State. I find this sentence particularly chilling. "The secretary must find a way to make clear

to career officials that despite prior history and modes of operation, they need

not be adversaries of a conservative President, Secretary of State, or the team of

political appointees." That they "need not" says it all: fall in line or else.

This plan will ensure that if the Republicans win and thereafter Democrats retake the presidency the Department of State will have been hollowed out with much of its professional staff replaced by Republican loyalists so it will impede any reversals of policy.


Focusing the State Department on the needs and goals of the next President

will require the President’s handpicked political leadership—as well as foreign

service and civil service personnel who share the President’s vision and policy

agendas—to run the department. This can be done by taking these steps at the

outset of the next Administration.

Exert Leverage During the Confirmation Process. Notwithstanding the

challenges and slowness of the modern U.S. Senate confirmation process, the next

President can exert leverage on the Senate if he or she is willing to place State

Department appointees directly into those roles, pending confirmation. Doing so

would both ensure that the department has immediate senior political leadership

and would force the Senate to act on nominees’ appointments instead of being

allowed to engage in dilatory tactics that cripple the State Department’s functionality for weeks, months, or even years.

Assert Leadership in the Appointment Process. The next Administration

should assert leadership over, and guidance to, the State Department by placing

political appointees in positions that do not require Senate confirmation, including

senior advisors, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretaries, and Deputy Assistant Secretaries. Given the department’s size, the next Administration should also increase

the number of political appointees to manage it.

To the extent possible, all non-confirmed senior appointees should be selected

by the President-elect’s transition team or the new President’s Office of Presidential Personnel (depending on the timing of selection) and be in place the first day

of the Administration. No one in a leadership position on the morning of January

20 should hold that position at the end of the day. These recommendations do not

imply that foreign service and civil service officials should be excluded from key

roles: It is hard to imagine a scenario in which they are not immediately relevant to

the transition of power. The main suggestion here is that as many political appointees as possible should be in place at the start of a new Administration.

Support and Train Political Appointees. The Secretary of State should use

his or her office and its resources to ensure regular coordination among all political

appointees, which should take the form of strategy meetings, trainings, and other

events. The secretary should also take reasonable steps to ensure that the State

Department’s political appointees are connected to other departments’ political

appointees, which is critical for cross-agency effectiveness and morale. The secretary should capitalize on the more experienced political appointees by using

them as the foundation for a mentorship program for less experienced political

appointees. The interaction of political appointees must be routine and operational

rather than incidental or occasional, and it must be treated as a crucial dimension

for the next Administration’s success.

Maximize the Value of Career Officials. Career foreign service and civil

service personnel can and must be leveraged for their expertise and commitment to the President’s mission. Indeed, the State Department has thousands of

employees with unparalleled linguistic, cultural, policy, and administrative skills,

and large numbers of them have been an enormous resource to the Secretaries of

State under which they have served. The secretary must find a way to make clear

to career officials that despite prior history and modes of operation, they need

not be adversaries of a conservative President, Secretary of State, or the team of

political appointees.

Reboot Ambassadors Worldwide. All ambassadors are required to submit

letters of resignation at the start of a new Administration. Previous Republican

Administrations have accepted the resignations of only the political ambassadors

and allowed the foreign service ambassadors to retain their posts, sometimes for

months or years into a new Administration.

The next Administration must go further: It should both accept the resignations of all political ambassadors and quickly review and reassess all career ambassadors. This review should commence

well before the new Administration’s first day.

Ambassadors in countries where U.S. policy or posture would substantially

change under the new Administration, as well as any who have evinced hostility

toward the incoming Administration or its agenda, should be recalled immediately.

The priority should be to put in place new ambassadors who support the President’s agenda among political appointees, foreign service officers, and civil service

personnel, with no predetermined percentage among these categories. Political

ambassadors with strong personal relationships with the President should be prioritized for key strategic posts such as Australia, Japan, the United Kingdom, the

United Nations, and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)."


Expand full comment

Today ProPublica published another fact-finding article regarding our nation’s fleet of mighty ships that are dead in the water. Each one of those ships were to go to battle, if need be, however, they all kept breaking down. Sailors were frustrated because they were making repairs when they wanted to sail. Now those ships are headed to a trash heap. Billions were spent on these warships and for what?? That money could easily go to men, women, and children to help sustain them. Just remember, each year the Defense Dept always asks for increases for their pet projects. This was as disastrous as it gets.

Who’s watching the store?


Expand full comment

Divided, we are falling.

While I'm horrified about the tragic loss of life in Libya (and Morocco), this paragraph in the report by the Associated Press journalists SAMY MAGDY AND YOUSEF MURAD is a warning to the United States when voting for so-called GOP "leadership" who are seeking to continue to divide on party lines without regard to the damage and vulnerability they cause to America.

"The startling devastation pointed to the storm’s intensity, but also Libya’s vulnerability. The country is divided by rival governments, one in the east, the other in the west, and the result has been neglect of infrastructure in many areas."


Expand full comment

"[O]ur competitors have a fundamentally different vision,” [Secretary Blinken] said. “They see a world defined by a single imperative: regime preservation and enrichment. A world where authoritarians are free to control, coerce, and crush their people, their neighbors, and anyone else standing in the way of this all-consuming goal.

Does this not also describe the Republican position in America?

Expand full comment

In England, in the void left by the stability and order of the Roman Empire when it collapsed, peace was lost and the ensuing chaos quickly reverted to Bronze age thuggery - Putin is an archetypal Saxon King. Throughout history we have seen the cruelty of the marauders, the Mongol hordes. Putin is human nature and civilisation is a fragile flower, we must not trample it.

Expand full comment
Sep 14, 2023·edited Sep 14, 2023

Thank you, Heather, for sharing Kim Jon Ung’s and Anthony Blinken’s words with us.

“…the evil forces that ambitiously pursue hegemony and expansion.” Once again, the bad guys project their actions and desires onto their opponents. TFG projects the actions of his child (and spouse) using their White House access to their benefit onto Hunter Biden.

Luckily, we have Blinken to verbalize the steps and goals that the current administration is taking to shore up the world order. Failing to heed his caution about China would be a mistake.


Expand full comment
Sep 14, 2023·edited Sep 14, 2023

Posted on the New York Times website:

“McCarthy is a dead speaker walking. He is beholden to the Republican Freedom Caucus with whom he made a nauseous deal to gain his speakership on the 15th vote.

Because of this he is endeavoring to hold the Senate and the US government hostage on voting budget continuing resolutions.

After horrendous hostage ‘negotiating’, election-threatened Republicans will support a ‘bipartisan’ House resolution which will leave McCarthy hovering on his self-made political plank.

Like Ryan and Boehner, he will be gone.”

Expand full comment

International relations are very complex and often subtle. They require knowledge of history and economics and psychology and geography, etc. international relations are an extremely complex and important part of what government does. We are in a period of great international disorder. And yet while the President and his administration are navigating some very complex and critical issues the crazies of the GOP want to sabotage the administration’s foreign policies and engage in POLITICAL PORNOGRAPHY. They want to impeach the president. They are not only inept but ignorant and selfish and as to their ability to govern a failure

Expand full comment

'Blinken said, “what we’re experiencing now is more than a test of the post–Cold War order. It’s the end of it.”' And how does that war end? When American office holders promise: " I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic..." we find ourselves at odds with China and Russia, but also with domestic opponents, at odds with Donald Trump and his followers. Notwithstanding the oath that he took, Trump, as President, was willing to acquiesce to Russia and would do it again.

Within the limitations of the Constitution, we have to fight for our country. The limitations of the Constitution require us to win at the ballot box (That means act in support and give money to candidates for whom resources would make a difference) and to take other appropriate steps (Thank you Jack Smith). Let's sustain our rules-based world at. home and internationally. (Thank you Heather Cox Richardson)

Expand full comment

I would be delighted to see Secretary Blinken become the Democratic Party’s candidate for President. Not possible, given the party’s immutable strategy, but a lovely fantasy.

Expand full comment

"The international economic order of the past several decades is flawed in ways that have caused people to lose faith in it, Blinken explained. Technology and globalization have hollowed out entire industries and weakened workers, while laws protected property. Inequality grew dramatically between 1980 and 2020, with the richest 0.1% accumulating the same wealth as the poorest 50%."

Can it be a coincidence that the period over which "Inequality grew dramatically" overlaps a similar period of US policies guided by Reaganomics with "GOP" fanaticism and a fair degree of Democratic acquiescence? How much of the breakdown Blinken speaks of was exacerbated or empowered by aspects of national policy, here and abroad?

Expand full comment

I think the fact that this is administration takes the fact that domestic and foreign policy are highly intertwined in todays world is a remarkable change from the last disastrous administration and that we have a functioning government in this administration is due to Biden’s experience and leadership. Is it perfect, no but it is exceptional in contrast to the previous. We can thank Nixon, Reagan and Bush as well as Fox for for creating the fissures in the system that Trump blew wide open and with the 2025 plan plans to “finish the job”. The fact that this administration has held together versus the revolving door of the previous is also a starting revelation. This site by the way is being invaded by “bots” to disrupt. Seems like part of the GOP plan. Thanks Heather.

Expand full comment

Thank you Dr Richardson, in times like these we need cooperation in order to face the looming tragedy of global warming. We need to recognize the needs of all people.

Expand full comment