Marco Rubio Is Burnishing His Nihilist Credentials in a Political Party Gone Mad

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Photo credit: Bill Clark - Getty Images
Photo credit: Bill Clark - Getty Images

With all the noise about (eek!) inflation, and with the sudden re-emergence of Chris Christie, some news is bound to get obliterated. For example, did you know that we have no ambassador to China, which, I hasten to point out, is a fairly important diplomatic post? From the Washington Post:

Since then, the Biden administration has struggled to fill key State Department positions, in part because three Republican senators have stalled the confirmation process. Sens. Ted Cruz (Tex.), Josh Hawley (Mo.) and Marco Rubio (Fla.) have blocked the confirmation of dozens of ambassadors, assistant secretaries of state and other senior appointees. Rubio announced Tuesday that he would block the nominations of Nicholas Burns to be U.S. ambassador to China and Julissa Reynoso Pantaleón to be ambassador to Spain. Burns was expected to receive widespread bipartisan support, including from Cruz.

Nick Burns is one of Those People, a member in good standing of the permanent diplomatic establishment who has worked for presidents of both parties. He swings a great deal of weight home and abroad. In another time, he’d have been reckoned to be one of the Wise Men. His credentials are unimpeachable, but Senator Marco Rubio is using Burns to burnish his Nihilist Credentials within his gone-mad political party.

“Nicholas Burns has a long career in public service, but it is a career defined by the failure to understand the threat posed by the Chinese Communist Party,” Rubio said of Mr. Burns. “In fact, Burns displayed no remorse or concern about his current business relationships with nationless corporations operating in China. Burns is exactly the type of nominee I expect from President Biden given this administration’s weak approach toward China, including lobbying against my bipartisan Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act. The last thing we need is another caretaker of American decline in the room with the Chinese Communist Party.”

I’m old enough to remember when Marco Rubio was the guy who was going to pull American conservatism back from the edge of the abyss. He has found a second career as a raving McCarthyite street-corner preacher.

“Julissa Reynoso Pantaleón is a Castro sympathizer and apologist who has absolutely no business being in our government,” Rubio said of Ms. Reynoso. “Her direct involvement in helping to exchange incarcerated members of the regime’s intelligence service, while serving a sentence in a U.S. prison amid the Obama-Castro appeasement policy, raises serious questions about her character and judgement. One thing I am confident of, though, is that Reynoso would not push Spain to increase pressure on the authoritarian regimes in Cuba, Nicaragua, and Venezuela. In fact, she will likely give Spain a pass for turning a blind eye. We need someone who is committed to freedom and human rights in the Western Hemisphere, not an envoy for dictators.”

Notable is the fact that Rubio has taken an approach to blocking these two ambassador-designates by which they are capable neither of answering his charges nor countering his invective. He’s not only hamstringing the administration, he’s doing it in without having to back up anything he says. He’s a legislative stalker.

Meanwhile, Rubio’s got a wingman in Senator Ted Cruz. The Tailgunner has used the same approach to keep the United States from having any ambassadors at all in Africa. Again, from the Post:

Cruz’s hold on State Department nominees has created a backlog in Africa. Those in nomination purgatory include Larry Edward Andre, Jr., Biden’s nominee to be U.S. ambassador to Somalia; Elizabeth Moore Aubin for Algeria; Maria E. Brewer for Lesotho; Christopher John Lamora for Cameroon; Tulinabo S. Mushingi for Angola and the Democratic Republic of Sao Tome and Principe; Eugene S. Young for the Republic of Congo; and Barbara A. Leaf for assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs.

And Cruz is stalling on these nominees to African nations because of a pipeline deal from...northern Europe.

Cruz is blocking nominees in an attempt to get the Biden administration to reimpose sanctions against Nord Stream 2 AG, the company that oversees a gas pipeline project from Russia to Germany. “Sen. Cruz has said since the earliest days of the administration that he will use all the leverage he has as a U.S. Senator to get President Biden to follow the law and implement congressional mandates to sanction and stop the Nord Stream 2 pipeline,” Dave Vasquez, Cruz's press secretary, told The Early. “That includes holding some of the small proportion of their announced nominees the Biden administration and Senate Democrats have managed to advance to the confirmation stage.”

So, clearly, the way to hurt Vladimir Putin is to make sure that the embassy in Maseru is leaderless, and to ensure that we have no presence in Ethiopia while that country is spiraling into a bloody civil war. That’s just logic.

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