Foreign Secretary Antony Blinken, like other cabinet secretaries, receives a handsome salary of $ 221,400. He is the first cabinet member in the presidential election Succession. And he plays a paramount role in defining America’s place on the global stage.
This is not a bad performance.
But there is a downside. Part of the job title requires the Secretary of State to report to the United States Senate. In Washington, DC today, that means the nation’s top diplomat has to stay calm when dealing with Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Ron Johnson, and all the other Republican senators who have a devastating case of Blinken Derangement Syndrome.
As flashing on Tuesday with the esteemed members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, he stepped through the mirror and was confronted with politicians who had given up any claim to realism.
What was expected to be a lively discussion about the difficult US withdrawal from Afghanistan turned into one a circus when Republican senators competed with one another to show their venomous disdain for Blinken in particular, the Biden government in general, and anything close to the truth. It was as if the Benghazi hearings never ended.
No accusation was inadmissible. No conspiracy theory was unreasonable. No threat was left unsaid.
Wisconsin Republican Ron Johnson accused Blinken and the Biden administration of failing to consult properly with NATO allies about ending the US military presence in Afghanistan. Blinken reacted calmly. “Senator,” he said, “I went to NATO before the decision, as did Secretary of Defense Austin, and spent the day with all of our NATO allies listening to them, their views, their ideas on what to do in Afghanistan . I shared some of our initial thoughts at this point. We have incorporated everything we have heard from allies into our own decision-making process. ”
Johnson got none of it. The senator dismissed the answer to his question as “bureaucratic talk”, the Blinken and those around him suffered from “distancing themselves from reality”.
Indeed, the distancing from reality was on the Republican side, especially when Idaho Senator Jim Risch began a series of interviews that revealed how seriously members of Mitch McConnell’s caucus take the wild-eyed conspiracy theories Fox News presenters keep referring to Biden’s alleged frailty and incompetence. “I’m more concerned with the top decisions. We all saw that. We only saw it yesterday. Someone in the White House has the authority to push the button and prevent the president from speaking, ”said the senior Republican on the committee. “Who is this person?”