The Senate on Tuesday voted to substantiate Linda Thomas-Greenfield because the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, after a tough affirmation course of that noticed delay and scrutiny over a speech during which she praised China’s method in Africa.
Thomas-Greenfield was confirmed in a 78-20 vote. The timeline for her affirmation had been delayed after Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, used a procedural transfer to push the Senate International Relations Committee vote from earlier this month.
Cruz and different Republicans had expressed concern over a 2019 speech the diplomat gave on “China-U.S.-Africa Relationships” on the Savannah State College Confucius Institute’s fifth-anniversary lecture occasion.
The speech, excerpts of which had been reported by The Washington Submit, known as Chinese language intervention in Africa a “win-win-win state of affairs” during which the communist regime and the U.S. might promote good governance, gender fairness and the rule of regulation.
“I see no purpose why China can not share in these values,” she stated. “The truth is, China is in a singular place to unfold these beliefs given its robust footprint on the continent.”
On Tuesday, Republicans cited the speech and different remarks as their purpose for voting no.
“Let’s be clear that Linda Thomas-Greenfield has a report of praising and sympathizing with the Chinese language Communist Celebration. It isn’t anomaly,” Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., stated in a press release. “An Africa skilled, between 2013 and 2019 she testified earlier than each chambers of Congress that the U.S. ‘just isn’t competing with China in Africa.’”
“We want a U.N. ambassador who will cease Beijing in its tracks, not one who repeats the CCP’s international coverage ideas,” she stated.
The 2019 speech was a spotlight at her affirmation listening to, the place she expressed remorse for the phrases. Thomas-Greenfield stated she now helps efforts to crack down on the Confucius Institute.
“In truth, I want I had not accepted this particular invitation and I got here away from the expertise frankly alarmed on the means the Confucius Institute was partaking with the Black group in Georgia,” she stated.
She additionally promised that the U.S. would take a powerful method in opposition to Chinese language affect on the U.N. — the place Beijing has been steadily growing its energy for years.
“We all know China is working throughout the U.N. system to drive an authoritarian agenda that stands in opposition to the founding values of the establishment — American values,” she stated. “Their success will depend on our continued withdrawal. That won’t occur on my watch.”
Following the preliminary affirmation listening to, Cruz tweeted out a collection of examples during which she confirmed her reward of the Chinese language Communist celebration each earlier than and after her speech on the Confucius Institute, noting that the 2019 speech was not a one-off.
“At a time when China I imagine poses the only biggest geopolitical menace to the US within the subsequent century, we want a U.N. ambassador who will stand as much as China, China’s pervasive affect on the United Nations, and given her report, I’ve no confidence that this nominee would accomplish that,” he stated.
However, Democrats on the committee pointed to these remarks to argue that she could be powerful on Beijing regardless of the speech.
“You possibly can attain again and discover speeches, feedback and addresses from presidents, CEOs, senators and diplomats of each events over a long time saying optimistic and complimentary issues about China and its future,” Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., stated. “And if we wish to play a sport the place we attain again and level to one thing that was executed right here and there that was optimistic about China, we are able to play Punch and Judy virtually indefinitely on a partisan foundation.”
In the meantime, the State Division stated Thomas-Greenfield “has been sounding the alarm on China for many years now.”
Thomas-Greenfield can be thrust into the job at a busy time at Turtle Bay. In addition to coping with diplomatic challenges in locations reminiscent of Libya, Yemen, China and Iran, the Biden administration has been shortly undoing Trump-era U.N. insurance policies.
Biden has thus far halted the withdrawal from the World Well being Group, has reentered the U.S. within the Paris local weather accord and has indicated he needs to reenter the Human Rights Council.
Hugh Dugan, a former U.S. delegate to the United Nations, the place he served below 11 ambassadors, advised Fox Information that the brand new US Ambassador should act shortly to include China’s ambitions.
“Linda Thomas-Greenfield as ambassador should rally U.S. allies to defend in opposition to the Communist Celebration of China hijacking the U.N. model to distract from its COVID-19 failures, to short-circuit human rights, and to seed its authoritarianism in international locations giant and small,” he stated.
“She must sound the alarm for Washington to muster a deep bench of U.S. expertise to outperform in multilateral arenas in opposition to China and different adversaries’ U.N. gameplans,” he stated.
Subsequent week Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield might face a baptism of fireplace of types as her first function can be to tackle the Council presidency for the month of March because the U.S. takes over the presidency from the U.Ok. The U.S. can be main the council agenda for March and can play an influential function within the council’s program.