Thursday, October 22, 2015

Confirm Roberta Jacobson Already

The New York Times notes that because of Bob Menendez and Marco Rubio's Cuba obsession, we don't have an ambassador to Mexico. Roberta Jacobson is the nominee and she had the gall to help fix our failed Cuba policy.

Ms. Jacobson played a leading role in re-establishing diplomatic relations with Cuba. This has greatly annoyed two influential Cuban-American senators, Marco Rubio of Florida and Robert Menendez of New Jersey, who want to keep America’s policy toward Cuba stuck in a Cold War mentality. And under the Senate’s opaque confirmation process, all it takes to sink the nomination of a qualified public servant is one or two people with a grievance.

Exactly. This is precisely the same thing that happened to Robert Pastor, who was nominated by President Clinton to be ambassador to Panama in 1995. Pastor had the gall to lead the effort under President Carter to return the Panama Canal to Panama. That policy of keeping our promise and restoring sovereignty enraged Senator Jesse Helms. He successfully blocked Pastor for about a year until Clinton withdrew his nomination.

A Helms aide said that the senator believes Pastor misled Congress during hearings on ratification of the Carter Administration treaty transferring the Panama Canal to Panamanian ownership at the end of this century. Helms opposed the treaty, which he said was a "giveaway" of American property and influence.

It would be a shame if the pettiness of one or two people blocked Jacobson as well. Just another example of U.S. exceptionalism.

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