On Wednesday, Florida Senator and 2016 Republican presidential hopeful Marco Rubio spoke for over an hour before the Council on Foreign Relations in New York City. Multiple news outlets are abuzz with the senator’s clear, concise and masterfully articulated understanding of what the world faces with a weak United States after a century of steadfast leadership.
“America plays a part on the world stage for which there is no understudy,” Rubio said. He went around the world, criticising the regimes of the so-called Islamic State, Iran, Russia, China, Syria and North Korea. “Mankind remains afflicted, and… its destiny still largely remains in our hands.”
“Vulnerable nations still depend on us to deter aggression from their larger neighbors,” Rubio continued. “Oppressed peoples still turn their eyes toward our shores, wondering if we can hear their cries, wondering if we notice their afflictions.”
Unfortunately for the more isolationist among us, Senator Rubio has a point. However, when it comes to the specifics, this member of the Senate Foreign Relations and Intelligence Committees clearly understands the challenges the world faces without a superpower walking softly and carrying a large stick.
Mr. Rubio advocates for keeping the shipping lanes open in the South China Sea, which are in danger with a more powerful China. He “condemned” Iran seeking ballistic missile weapon capability, a footnote in the fine print of the Iran deal. He is open to Ukraine joining NATO. He claims the conditions do not exist for a two-state solution in Israel. And, most people will agree with Rubio on this one, the Veterans Administration needs to be reformed. He also is an advocate for reversing the cuts in military and intelligence spending.
Rubio holds that any time the United States goes to normalize relations with another country, human rights and some form of democratic rule must be emphasized, otherwise any aid or trade that is sent the new partner’s way will end up in the hands of dictators, just like is happening now.
As for what would happen if Hillary Clinton’s vision for American foreign policy were to be implemented, Rubio said:
“Her policies, number one, in a global economy, would make us less globally competitive. You can’t raise taxes, increase regulations, grow your national debt, and expect to be able to compete with dozens of developed economies.”
Doubtful that any thinking person on the political right would argue with that. In addition, when questioned about the possibility of Hillary winning the 2016 election by Bill O’Reilly on Fox, Rubio said:
“Look, we don’t need any drama in the White House at this incredible hinge moment in our history. You’re going to put back in the White House two people who have been everywhere they go bring drama with them. This country can not afford another eight years of a soap opera.”
In his first foray into presidential level foreign policy articulation, Senator Marco Rubio wowed a lot of observers. The Daily Beast flat out said the student is now the master in comparing Rubio’s debut with Jeb Bush’s fluctuating statements. That’s quite a compliment from a left-leaning outlet.
All people on the political right may not agree with Marco Rubio on everything, but when it comes to foreign policy he knows the score. Even if he does not come close to winning the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, his breath of knowledge on this subject will challenge the other candidates to learn more. That alone is worth his participation.