Marco Rubio Rescues Orphans
Not that he's got anything against David Shear. Shear's a good guy, and so far as Rubio or anybody else knows, he'll do a fine job representing the United States' interests in Hanoi. Rubio's blocking the appointment for symbolic reasons. And he's totally righteous for doing so.
Rubio has placed a temporary block on the appointment (as Dick Lugar did some months ago) because of a tragic bureaucratic boondoggle that is keeping Vietnamese orphans from their adoptive parents in the United States -- including three children who were set to be adopted by parents in Florida. Both the U.S. and Vietnam are rejiggering their adoption regulations, which has left 16 Vietnamese children in a weird purgatorial no-man's land in which they are being clothed, fed, and tended to by their American parents but are not allowed to come live with them.
This is not Shear's fault, nor is there anything he can do about it. But by keeping the ambassador in his own purgatorial no-man's land, Rubio hopes the Obama administration will prioritize the adoptee's plight, which has lasted three long years.
The blocking of Shear's appointment is unlikely to do any harm, by the way. Though Bush's appointee, Michael M. Michalak, is long gone, our embassy is currently in the hands of a very capable interim charge d'affaires, Virginia E. Palmer. She'll handle whatever comes up while Shear awaits his Senate confirmation and 16 orphans await a home.
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