How Biden’s defense pick became a constituency crisis

The nomination of Lloyd Austin to serve as secretary of defense may serve as a microcosm of how difficult it will be for President-elect Joe Biden to manage the competing demands of the unwieldy coalition that put him in office.

As Biden assembled his national security team, some feared liberal hawks were once again circling the White House. The incoming president is something of a wildcard on foreign policy. In the Senate, he was often a liberal hawk himself, not only voting for the Iraq war but playing a large role in rebuffing fellow Democrats who wanted an authorization of force that did more to constrain President George W.


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