US national security in the hands of Ted Cruz
On October 5, the US Senate Foreign Affairs Committee heard Julissa Reynoso Pantaleon, appointed the new ambassador to Spain by the Biden government at the end of July. Hearings are a step forward, but nominees can’t get to work until the entire Senate confirms them, US national security
Senator Ted Cruz is withholding confirmation that he is leaving many vacancies in an unprecedented series of actions. In Europe, diplomats and officials say this harms their efforts to work with Washington and contributes to a breakdown in communications.
They cite the most recent AUKUS agreement as an example. They do not doubt that the presence of US envoys in Paris and Brussels would have helped prevent, or at least mitigate, the damage from Biden’s Indo-Pacific announcement.
The world is going through difficult times. The pandemic has installed governments, closed borders, and decimated economies; authoritarianism is on the rise; Conflicts like in Yemen and Ethiopia are still ongoing; the geopolitical struggle with China is intensifying; the transatlantic relationship is trying to reinvent itself, and this is a critical year for climate change.
Now is not a good time for the United States to walk out on the Foreign Service staff, or for many parts of the world, to walk out on the US President’s senior representative in the field. And still, that’s the way it is.
There is no confirmed responsible US ambassador heading embassies to NATO
The OAS or OSCE; still in the Undersecretaries of State for Population, Refugees, and Migration; Affairs of South and Central Asia; Secretary of State for Middle East Affairs; International security and non-proliferation matters; Arms control… or someone at senior foreign service headquarters.
The list is endless. There are also no mission headquarters in China, India, Canada, the EU, France, Germany, Israel, Japan, and Turkey.
There is no Ambassador to Afghanistan, but there is an Acting Ambassador, Ross Wilson, who has come out of retirement to serve as Chargé d’Affaires at the Embassy in Afghanistan and has been working from Kabul Airport for the past few days to help with the evacuation.
Nine months into the Biden administration, the Senate has confirmed only one Biden candidate, Ken Salazar, as ambassador to Mexico. It was August 11th.
Nominations and the Nord Stream 2
Much of the blame lies with Republican Senator from Texas Ted Cruz, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee who has been withholding Senate nominations since March.
The reason for this is the Biden government’s waiver of sanctions against the company behind the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, arguing that the project is almost complete and can hardly be stopped. But the decision.
Indeed also prioritized ties with Germany, a key European ally, rather than risking a fight with Chancellor Angela Merkel and her next successor. For Ted Cruz, the pipeline is a strategic and economic gift for Russia, and he’s not the only one rational about it in the US Senate, and that’s why he’s decided to fight until sanctions are reinstated. However, many others contend that Cruz is doing pretty obviously exposes his 2024 presidential aspirations.
Cruz cannot block appointments altogether
But he can slow the process by defying the Senate’s traditional practice of confirming non-controversial candidates and more mainstream positions by “unanimous approval” of all 100 senators.
This puts the appointments on the back burner as the Senate now uses precious legislative days for other urgent matters. Such as approving large aid packages and infrastructure plans.
For Democrats, Cruz is abusing the nomination process and the latest example of the erosion of political norms in Washington. But it also threatens national security at a time when only a quarter of critical posts in the field is filled. national security
The pipeline raises important issues that require our attention. But putting obstacles in the way of government may not be the way to get there—the U.S.national security
Ambassadors, both politically and professionally. Are the nation’s eyes and ears and are critical to realizing United States priorities and policies. The same applies to undersecretaries of state and other officials awaiting confirmation.
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