Rubio resorts to awful bill for media attention under reelection pressure
Published: Jun 16, 2022 11:22 PM
Marco Rubio arrives for a Senate Intelligence Committee nomination hearing. Photo: AFP

Marco Rubio arrives for a Senate Intelligence Committee nomination hearing. Photo: AFP

Infamous US Republican anti-China senators Marco Rubio and Rick Scott on Wednesday introduced the China Oil Export Prohibition Act, reportedly seeking to prohibit the export of oil and petroleum products from the US to China. "While gas prices soar across the country, the Biden Administration is allowing half a million barrels of American oil to go to China every day," Rubio said. "This is unacceptable." "It's absurd that we continue to export oil to Communist China while Americans pay more than $5 per gallon of gas here at home," Scott said.
It is not surprising that US politicians play the xenophobic card in an election year. What is astonishing is how awful this kind of political card can be. This proposal by Rubio and Scott is just one example. 
Rubio is up for reelection in November and the Republicans are seeking to overturn their razor-thin minority in the Senate during the November midterm elections. According to Lü Xiang, a research fellow at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, even against this backdrop, the absurdity of this proposal, which defies common sense, is still astonishing. Washington has long attached importance to its energy exports to China. During the trade war launched by former president Donald Trump, the US pressed China to import more US energy, including oil. But now, Republican politicians clamored to ban oil and petroleum exports to China. This bill fully demonstrates US politics has been chaotic beyond words. 
This kind of proposal is even not "shooting oneself in the foot." Rather, it's simply "kicking the stone with one's own foot." It's ridiculous, and such a proposal will not be reviewed in Congress. If it is reviewed and passed, it means that the US has become a laughable country.
US inflation hit a 40-year high of 8.6 percent last month. "When the normal life of American people is heavily affected by inflation, they must have a grudge. Exploiting such a proposal, Rubio and Scott intend to direct Americans' grievances to the Democratic Party and China," Lü noted. 
The US' political soil is toxic as it has produced such extreme and irrational politicians. And this kind of politician is not in the minority. They can politicize almost all problems, which will inevitably trigger confusion in the China policy. In this context, the US won't be capable of tackling anything. This also indicates that the US' domestic problems will intensify. Former US secretary of state Henry Kissinger was right when he said the US is more divided now than it was during the Vietnam War.
Although Rubio may still win in Florida, among politicians seeking reelection, his advantage is not obvious, so he needs more media attention to boost his chances, the Chinese expert said. 
There are many factors causing inflation and soaring energy and fuel prices in the US, such as labor shortage, COVID-19 epidemic, the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict, US-launched trade war against China, and the US' rounds of QE. The US only has itself to blame for the current inflation issue.
If the US does prohibit oil exports to China, US inflation will become higher, ordinary people will suffer more loss, and will add more burden to its domestic governance. It will turn out only these politicians gain political capital. China is one of the world's largest oil importers. Prohibiting the export of oil and petroleum products from the US to China would undermine US oil companies, and they will not remain indifferent. Such political calculations by politicians like Rubio and Scott are doomed to be unpopular.