Discover more from The Warning with Steve Schmidt
Marco Rubio fears the Chinese balloon, but not the Trump insurrection
Marco Rubio is a member of what is known as the “Gang of Eight” because he is the ranking member of the US Senate Intelligence Committee. The “Eight” includes the leaders of both parties in the US House and Senate, as well the chairs and ranking minority members of the two Intelligence Committees.
Senator Rubio was being interviewed by Jonathan Karl on ABC News when he spoke at length about the Chinese spy balloon that entered American airspace at 60,000 feet above Alaska, before traversing Canada and the “lower 48.” It was then shot down without incident off the coast of South Carolina on the order of President Biden.
Before continuing, it seems important to mention that very few people will have any memory of this provocative act six months from now. Also, China is a space-faring nation with its own sophisticated fleet of spy satellites that can keep watch over the United States from orbit.
Marco Rubio believes the balloon was a deliberate provocation aimed at showing the world that America is a decaying superpower that will never meet its treaty obligations and defend Taiwan, Japan, Korea or the Philippines. The proof of this is the helplessness of America as the balloon floated overhead. Rubio’s position seems to be rooted in pretending the balloon wasn’t actually shot down — which of course it was.
Rubio, the ranking member of the Intelligence Committee, could have talked about the dedication of Camp Blaz on Guam, the first new USMC base in 70 years within fighting distance of Taiwan, and supporting 5,000 Marines. He could have talked about the Japanese doubling their military spending, or the Philippines dramatically expanding the capabilities of the US Navy to operate in the Western Pacific with nine new bases to counter the threat of Chinese aggression.
Similarly, he could have talked about the staggering Chinese naval arms race that has created a fleet with more warships than the US Navy, though with a fleet far less capable. He could have talked about the vulnerability of a US fleet carrier to a precision hypersonic missile, and questioned whether the age of the carrier might be ending, given its enormous capacity for staggering casualties. He could have talked about the Chinese submarine program, or their out of control espionage activities in the United States. Rubio chose to do none of those things. Instead, he chose to fearmonger over a balloon.
Maybe the "decline” Rubio is talking about is evidenced by Rubio talking. Maybe the “decline” that the Chinese were watching was America’s political and media ‘decline.” Maybe they wanted to see the stupidity play out second by second like an MRI scanning a body injected with contrast dye. Maybe they wanted to settle a debate between two factions of American observers and predictors who disagreed on how we would respond. One thing is for sure: whatever side bet on stupid, won big.
The silliness and vapidity of Marco Rubio and his colleagues were certainly exposed by the balloon. They absolutely demonstrated a lack of capacity to measure up in a real crisis. They also demanded a response that will give the Chinese a chance to reciprocate the favor. That happened in 2001, in the months before 9/11. Like now, the event was regarded as a distraction, but was it?
The Western Pacific Ocean would be the battleground for the largest naval action since World War II if the Chinese invade Taiwan. It would mean the Chinese Navy and the US Navy would be engaged in a short, violent confrontation at sea before the matter escalated or calmed. It will not involve balloons, and that is the main point.
Once again, a serious matter has been taken and twisted into kernels of imbecility by an American politician who routinely lies, dissembles and accuses his opponents of being enemies, while treating adversaries with delusion and disregard. Marco Rubio must astound the Chinese government, which can’t imagine that he would be a person who leads a committee on which the most sensitive secrets of the nation are required to be disclosed. No doubt, they won’t be the first to be amazed by the reality that, in America, anything is possible.
Sometimes, politics feels like a reality show. When it does, it’s important to remember that it is, and that on any given day, it’s the dumbest one on TV — by far.