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Marco Rubio on Foreign Policy

 


We've neglected Latin American democracies & our alliances

The Summit of the Americas [previously included only] duly elected representatives of democratic nations. In recent summits, that democratic requirement has been tested, as Latin American leaders who came to power by winning elections then became authoritarian rulers. That democratic prerequisite is sadly being fully discarded as Cuban dictator Raul Castro participates for the first time.

This is President Obama's final Summit of the Americas, and it comes after six years of neglecting the region to the detriment of our interests and our alliances. When he has acted, he has done so timidly (as in Venezuela) or naively (as in Cuba). More often, however, he has not acted at all, leaving our allies unsure about our interests, and our enemies and adversaries emboldened to test us.

The US simply cannot allow decades of progress in building democratic, more-secure, and more-prosperous nations to succumb to growing authoritarianism and narco-terrorism in the region.

Source: National Review editorial, "Obama's Neglect," by Marco Rubio , Apr 9, 2015

I have a clear strategic vision of America's role in world

Rubio is clearly aware that many of the presidential candidates are current or former governors. But the Florida senator believes he would have an important advantage over his GOP rivals: "The next president needs to be someone that has a clear view of what's happening in the world, a clear strategic vision of America's role in it and a clear practical plan for how to engage America in global affairs," Rubio said. He added that for governors running for the White House, international affairs will be "a challenge, at least initially, because they don't deal with foreign policy on a daily basis."

On the surface, that's not a bad pitch. Indeed, presidential candidates from the Senate have made similar arguments against governors for many years. But listening to Rubio's remarks at CPAC, the trouble is that own his views on foreign policy need quite a bit of work. [Rubio criticized Obama but offered the same policy as Obama on ISIS; and Rubio sounded like he meant that ISIS and Iran weren't enemies].

Source: MSNBC on 2015 Conservative Political Action Conf. , Feb 27, 2015

Obama has no ISIS policy to avoid upsetting Iran

Rubio's remarks solicited applause from the mostly college-aged audience, as did the senator's claim that "the reason Obama hasn't put in place a military strategy to defeat ISIS is because he doesn't want to upset Iran," during sensitive negotiations on Iran's nuclear program.

The notion that the president wouldn't go after ISIS because he "doesn't want to upset Iran" is bizarre--ISIS and Iran are enemies. Tehran is more than happy to see U.S. forces go after ISIS targets; in fact, Iran has done the same thing. When it comes to the terrorist group, Americans and Iranians are on the same side. How could Rubio not know this?

For that matter, the argument that Obama "hasn't put in place a military strategy to defeat ISIS" is plainly untrue. Rubio should know this, not only because he's a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, but also because Obama's strategy to defeat ISIS is largely identical to Marco Rubio's.

Source: MSNBC on 2015 Conservative Political Action Conf. , Feb 27, 2015

North Korea is a criminal syndicate, not a government

Q: The North Koreans have warned that there will be repercussions if we respond [to the cyber-attack on Sony in retaliation for an anti-North Korea movie]. They're saying that we should join them in investigating this. Should that be taken seriously?

RUBIO: No, it shouldn't. Look, the North Koreans, it's not even a government. It's a criminal syndicate that controls territory and need to be treated as such. Now, unfortunately, they possess nuclear weapons and are led by an irrational leader. North Korea is going to be a growing problem for the foreseeable future. You have a person running that country that is mentally unstable, but also someone that is fully capable of overestimating his own strength and ends up miscalculating and creating a real catastrophe, not just vis-a-vis South Korea, but also Japan and the United States. This is a very serious threat. It's not just a cyber-threat. I think North Korea has the potential to become a source of huge instability.

Source: Face the Nation 2014 interview: 2016 presidential hopefuls , Dec 21, 2014

Our policy should lead to more liberty for the Cuban people

Q: Let me ask you about Cuba. You obviously are very much against [Obama's loosening restrictions]

RUBIO: It's important to understand why I oppose it. I am not opposed to changes in Cuba policy. I think we constantly need to examine our foreign policy. I'm opposed to changes like this that have no chance of leading to the result that we want, which is more freedom and more liberty for the Cuban people. This change is entirely predicated upon with false notion that engagement alone automatically leads to freedom. And I think we have evidence that that is not the case. Look at Vietnam and look at China, countries that we have engaged. They are no more politically free today than they were when that engagement started.

Source: Face the Nation 2014 interview: 2016 presidential hopefuls , Dec 21, 2014

Cuba must improve on human rights for engagement to continue

Q: What should be done now that we are engaging with Cuba ?

RUBIO: Now, our job is twofold. There is existing law that has codified the US embargo. And whatever regulations are now written to implement the president's new policy have to live up to that law. And beyond it, I think we need to examine, as Cuban the government doesn't make any changes to their human rights record--they're going to arrest people today. They arrested people yesterday. They're going to continue to crack down on opposition in the island. We need to hold this administration accountable for these policies changes and if in fact that Cubans do nothing reciprocal to live up to or to open up political space, constantly challenge and reexamine these policy changes the president has made.

Source: Face the Nation 2014 interview: 2016 presidential hopefuls , Dec 21, 2014

Engagement with Vietnam & China has not led to freedom

Q [to Rubio]: Rand Paul is one of the few Republicans who came out in support of what the president did [with loosening restrictions on Cuba]. He said he thought it was a pretty good idea. What was your reaction to that?

RUBIO: Well, obviously, I disagree. And he has the right to become a supporter of President Obama's foreign policy. But I think it's premised on the same false notion that engagement alone leads to freedom. It doesn't. We have engagement with Vietnam and China. And while their economies have grown, their political freedoms have not. Look what China is today 30 years after that engagement. China steals our military and commercial secrets, obviously actively conducts cyber-operations against the United States. And, internally, their people have no religious, no freedoms, no freedom of speech, no unfettered access to the Internet.

Q: Should we break relations with China?

RUBIO: From a geopolitical perspective, our approach to China by necessity has to be different from Cuba

Source: Face the Nation 2014 interview: 2016 presidential hopefuls , Dec 21, 2014

Cuba embargo was designed to protect American companies

Q: Obama has ended our Cold War policy against Cuba. But you said:

RUBIO (ON TAPE): This entire policy shift announced today is based on an illusion, on a lie.

Q: What was working with the old policy?

RUBIO: Well, I think that's not the question. The question is what new policy can actually achieve our goal of freedom and liberty for the Cuban people. On the contrary, Raul Castro made very clear that there will be no political changes on the island. Nor did the president ask for any.

Q: But you acknowledge the old policy wasn't working?

RUBIO: I keep hearing about how the old policy was designed to overthrow the Castro regime. That's false. The embargo's original purpose was to protect American companies because those properties had been expropriated. American companies in Cuba had their assets seized. And so, in order to prevent that, that was the reason why the embargo was put in place. The new purpose of the embargo in the 21st century was to serve as leverage towards democracy.

Source: Meet the Press 2014 interviews of 2016 presidential hopefuls , Dec 21, 2014

Provide more assistance to Jordan, to prepare against ISIS

Q: Given that ISIS is a direct throat to U.S. national security, what should this administration be doing?

RUBIO: ISIS wants to establish an Islamic caliphate in sections of both Syria and Iraq, and other places. Potentially, Jordan is next. This calls for us to continue to empower those moderate rebel forces in Syria who are engaged in conflict against ISIS, not just Assad. And I think we need to provide more assistance for Jordan, both in security and in their border, because I think this poses a risk to Jordan down the road, and one that we should take very seriously. The urgent action is to draw up plans that allow us to begin to degrade their supply lines and their ability to continue to move forward.

Q: With airstrikes?

RUBIO: Yes, that border between Iraq and Syria is quite porous. We have got to figure out a way to isolate ISIS from Syria and Iraq, isolate them from each other. And, then, look, I would leave the rest to military tacticians.

Source: Face the Nation 2014 interview: 2016 presidential hopefuls , Jun 22, 2014

Stay involved against ISIS or Iran becomes regional hegemon

Q: Rand Paul wrote in "The Wall Street Journal" that with airstrikes against ISIS, in essence, we would become Iran's air force by aiding them. Your take?

RUBIO: Well, I don't agree with that statement. I think that's quite an exaggeration. The truth of the matter is that, if we do nothing, Iran is still going to be involved. And imagine if Iran becomes involved, and somehow helps the Iraqis turn back ISIS. You can rest assured that a future Iraqi government will be completely, 100% under the influence and in the pocket of Iran. They will have expanded their strategic reach to include practical control not just over Syria if Assad survives, but also over Iraq, increasingly positioning themselves as a hegemonic power. The United States has different hope for Iraq's future. Our hope is a country that includes Kurds and Sunni and Shia and even Christians, an inclusive country for its future. That is not Iran's goal here.

Source: Face the Nation 2014 interview: 2016 presidential hopefuls , Jun 22, 2014

Press freedom is a universal human right, especially in Cuba

Rubio condemned the regime of Raul Castro for shutting down a new website launched by Yoani Sanchez, the country's most prominent and outspoken blogger: "Yoani Sanchez has long been one of Cuba's most courageous pro-democracy and human rights voices, giving the world insights on life inside Cuba through her blog," the Florida Republican said in a statement emailed to POLITICO. "She is now an aspiring Cuban media entrepreneur who the Castro regime shut down yesterday by hacking into her news website, 14ymedio, on the day of its launch."

"Imagine for a moment, if the U.S. government had shut down POLITICO the day it launched in 2007--or any conservative, liberal or mainstream online news outlet for that matter," he said. "As Americans, we would be outraged. Press freedom is a universal human right, and we should be outraged that yet another blatant instance of repression has taken place in Cuba," Rubio said.

Source: Politico.com 2014 coverage of 2016 presidential hopefuls , May 22, 2014

Tough sanctions against Russia for Ukraine aggression

Rubio touted a new Republican effort in the Senate to stiffen penalties for Russia if it continues its aggression: "President Obama talks tough, but his actions have not gone far enough to change Putin's calculation that the benefits of his aggression outweigh the costs," Rubio said. "And that's why this week Senate Republicans introduced a bill that would increase sanctions. It would provide Ukraine with defensive military assistance. It would impose tough new sanctions on sectors of Putin's economy and on President Putin and his cronies."

The bill would also increase natural gas exports to reduce Europe's dependence on Russian energy, Rubio said, and it would urge the president to expedite the deployment of missile defense installations in Eastern Europe.

Obama unveiled a new raft of sanctions against Russia, but the expanded penalties stopped short of sanctioning entire sectors of the Russian economy--a step that would constitute a significant escalation.

Source: CBS News 2014 coverage of 2016 presidential hopefuls , May 3, 2014

Only America can stand up to world totalitarianism

Alarmed by the rise of noninterventionist voices in his party, Sen. Rubio is trying to become the leading voice for a muscular brand of foreign policy. The road to presidential success in IA and NH may not run through the Crimean Peninsula or the streets of Caracas, but Rubio has used Russia's incursion into Ukraine and the violent clashes in Venezuela to remind Republicans of their orthodoxy--projecting strength abroad.

Rubio sought to link the right's resolute belief in American exceptionalism with a call for the US to play a more robust role in confronting bad actors on the world stage: "There is only one nation on earth capable of rallying and bringing together the free people on this planet to stand up to the spread of totalitarianism," Rubio told CPAC attendees, offering a tour d'horizon of affairs in China, North Korea, Iran, Venezuela and Russia.

That posture stands in contrast with Sen. Rand Paul, who argues that the US should be wary of foreign intervention.

Source: N. Y. Times on 2014 CPAC convention , Mar 7, 2014

Putin wants to reconstitute Russian power & Russian prestige

Q: Is it the weakness of President Obama and the US right now that has emboldened President Putin of Russia?

RUBIO: Well, I think our policy towards Russia under this administration deserves a heavy amount of criticism. I usually shy away from that in moments of crisis, when it's important for the nation to speak with one voice. But I do think in hindsight as we look forward to our future relationship with Russia, it's important to learn from the errors of the last few years where I think we have not accurately, or through this administration, assessed clearly what it is Russia's goals are under Vladimir Putin. They're not interested in building an international norm that nations conduct themselves under. They're interested in reconstituting Russian power and Russian prestige, and often at the expense of U.S. national interests. We know that the Russians have basically violated every major treated they've ever entered into

Source: Meet the Press 2014 interviews of 2016 presidential hopefuls , Mar 2, 2014

The Russian government is a government of liars

Q: Pres. Bush famously said he could trust Putin, only to find out that he couldn't: Putin invaded Georgia, and the US really didn't do much about it. Isn't the same predicament here in Crimea--what are you prepared to do in terms of the use of American power to stop it?

RUBIO: I think previous administrations deserve criticism as well [as Obama] with regards to clearly viewing what Vladimir Putin's goals are here. We know that the Russians have basically violated every major treaty they've ever entered into. I mean, let's call it what it is. They are lying and this government is a government of liars, the Russian government. And you see it, what's happening now in Crimea. They're claiming they're not there. But clearly, they're Russian troops, even though they refused to acknowledge it. So you're dealing with a government that lies as a matter of course, and it's very difficult to enter an understanding with them on anything when they are willing to lie and cover things up in this way.

Source: Meet the Press 2014 interviews of 2016 presidential hopefuls , Mar 2, 2014

The China Dream is to surpass America as world leader

Yesterday there was a transition in the government of China. Their new leader loves to go around giving speeches where he refers to something called the China Dream. "The China Dream" refers to a book that was written by a Chinese army colonel. The gist of the book is that China's goal should be to surpass the United States as the world's preeminent military and economic power. That's what the China Dream means.

In the forward, another general writes that the 21st century should be a race to see who can become the champion country to lead world progress. So while we are here bickering, there is a nation trying to surpass us as the leading power in the world.

The Chinese Government provides the people no access to the Internet. If you escape China they actually put pressure on governments to forcibly return you. The Chinese Government uses forced labor. Do we want that to be the leading country in the world? So we want that to be the leading voice on this planet? That's the stakes.

Source: Speech at 2013 Conservative Political Action Conf. , Mar 14, 2013

Build relations with Mexico for trade & oil, not just border

Mexico's longstanding economic, social and cultural ties with the US have always made our relations with Mexico important. However, since NAFTA, Mexico has grown to become the US' 3rd-largest commercial partner. Clearly, the need for a positive, productive US-Mexico relationship is driven by far more than the immigration and transnational crime issues.

A strong, prosperous Mexico is good for the US. It represents a large, growing market for a wide variety of US exports. It offers a convenient, economically competitive alternative to China and other Asian countries. And a strong Mexico that produces good, legitimate jobs for its growing population will undermine the appeal of criminal organizations and the enticement of undocumented employment in the US.

[We should also] implement the trans-boundary hydrocarbons agreement signed by the US and Mexico in February, which allows international oil companies to join Mexico in joint exploration and development in the Gulf of Mexico.

Source: McClatchy-Tribune editorial, "US-Mexico," by Marco Rubio , Nov 30, 2012

Che Guevara reviled by Cuban exiles; I want no association

Crist's allies opened a 527, a tax-exempt political fund, to promote Crist's candidacy. They sent a mail piece titled "The Real Rubio" to Republican voters across the state. The front of the piece had an image of what appeared to be militant student protesters, along with a picture of Che Guevara over my left shoulder. On the back, it identified several bills that would have given children of undocumented immigrants in-state tuition rates and health insurance. The mailer was designed to tamp down Republican enthusiasm for me by raising doubts about my positions on illegal immigration.

The use of Che Guevara's image was particularly galling. Guevara was a cold-blooded killer, and he's reviled by the Cuban exile community. The use of his image in American pop culture is a pet peeve of exiles everywhere. But it was only a mailer. And as angry as it made me and others, it would have been counterproductive to have overreacted to it.

Source: An American Son, by Marco Rubio, p.267 , Jun 19, 2012

America is exceptional: nation blessed by God with resources

At the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington in early 2012, Rubio hit on themes that Republicans had been pressing throughout the fierce presidential primary: lower taxes, controlling the national debt, liberal judges, Medicare, and , most important, Obama's performance in office. But he pushed two ideas dear to the group: that America is exceptional, and that its government has a constitutional obligation to remain out of religious life.

"We are a blessed nation," Rubio told the crowd. "Think of what God has given us: a nation rich with everything you can imagine. Resources, natural and otherwise. Think of the people God has allowed to come here over 200 and some odd years. The best and brightest the world has to offer. Being an American is a blessing, and it's also a responsibility."

Source: The Rise of Marco Rubio, by Manuel Rogi-Franzia, p.176-177 , Jun 19, 2012

Prefer coalitions but don't over-rely on global institutions

Rubio stressed the need for America to build coalitions when becoming involved in foreign affairs, saying there is no other country "to hand off the baton to, even if it were wise to do so." But such coalition building should not hamper the US from leading on the international stage, he said. The senator criticized President Obama for "an overreliance on institutions, global institutions whether it's the security council or it's the United Nations to take the lead on some of these issues." He cited Libya as a case in which the president waited too long to lead, and results were stifled because of inaction.

But, the Tea Party favorite did express his desires to building coalitions before beginning any foreign entanglement. "America has acted unilaterally in the past--and I believe it should continue to do so in the future--when necessity requires," he said. "But our preferred option since the U.S. became a global leader has been to work with others to achieve our goals."

Source: MSNBC on Rubio's speech to Brookings Institution , Apr 25, 2012

America needs a foreign policy of engaging abroad

Rubio argued for an American foreign policy that remains engaged in foreign lands, saying the US should become involved in Syria, and arguing that military action may need to be taken in Iran. "I disagree with voices in my own party who argue we should not engage at all. Who warn we should heed the words of John Quincy Adams not to go 'abroad, in search of monsters to destroy,'" said Rubio. "I disagree, because all around us we see the human face of America's influence in the world."
Source: MSNBC on Rubio's speech to Brookings Institution , Apr 25, 2012

Military action should be on the table in Iran & Syria

Rubio argued for an American foreign policy that remains engaged in foreign lands, saying the U.S. should become involved in Syria, and arguing that military action may need to be taken to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.

And Rubio made clear that military action should be on the table in Iran. "We should also be preparing our allies, and the world, for the reality that unfortunately, if all else fails, preventing a nuclear Iran may, tragically, require a military solution," he said.

Source: MSNBC on Rubio's speech to Brookings Institution , Apr 25, 2012

Promote democracy via engagement abroad

Rubio was the last in the current crop of freshman senators to deliver his maiden speech. When he finally took the floor, he a very different note than the 12 GOP freshmen who spoke before him. Where others focused exclusively on the domestic economy, Rubio chose a global theme, offering his vision for America's role in the world in the 21st century: a full-throated defense of American engagement overseas, even at a time of belt tightening at home.

In particular, Rubio says he will reinforce the importance of promoting democracy. "We don't always agree with other democracies but very rarely do we find ourselves fighting them," he says.

This kind of rhetoric on U.S. policy abroad certainly doesn't fit the stereotype of a politician who rode to office in 2010 on the backs of tea party activists. He is contradicting the notion that the tea party is synonymous with international isolationism. And he is challenging the narrative that his party, as a whole, is headed in that same direction.

Source: Congressional Quarterly Profiles: 2016 presidential hopefuls , Sep 12, 2011

Foreign aid spreads positive influence around the world

Funding for aid to the developing world is a particularly easy target for budget cutters on Capitol Hill these days. The argument offered by many fiscal conservatives is that, given the U.S. debt crisis, America simply can't afford to spend billions of dollars on programs to combat world hunger, food shortages or direct aid to foreign countries. Rubio, however, is the rare Republican who publicly defends U.S. foreign aid spending.

In an online video response to a constituent question, Rubio laid out his case. The United States has to "be more careful about how we spend foreign aid," Rubio acknowledged, but "if it's done right, it spreads America's influence around the world in a positive way. I think sometimes, in the press and in the minds of many, our foreign aid is exaggerated. It really is a miniscule part of our overall budget. And it's not the reason why we have this growing debt in America," he said, instead pointing to entitlement programs.

Source: Congressional Quarterly Profiles: 2016 presidential hopefuls , Sep 12, 2011

Rated -2 by AAI, indicating a anti-Arab anti-Palestine voting record.

Rubio scores -2 by AAI on Arab-Israeli issues

The Arab American Institute has compiled a Scorecard to catalogue the voting record of the 112th Congress on issues of importance to the Arab American community. Though not comprehensive, we have attempted to provide a snapshot of legislation concerning many of the primary issues concerning Arab Americans. For the Senate, we have included 10 items: two bills on the Arab Spring, three on Palestine, one on Lebanon, one regarding civil liberties, and two for immigration reform.

  1. S. Res. 44: (+) calls on former President Hosni Mubarak to immediately begin a peaceful transition to a democratic political system
  2. S. Res. 109: (+) honoring and supporting women in North Africa and the Middle East
  3. S. Res. 138: (-) calling on the United Nations to rescind the Goldstone report, formally known as the UN Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict, which accused the Israeli government of targeting Palestinian civilians.
  4. S. Res. 185: (-) reaffirming the commitment of the US to a negotiated settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and calling for a US veto of any UN resolution on Palestinian statehood without a settlement.
  5. S. Con. Res. 23: (-) supporting Israel in maintaining defensible borders, and against Israel returning to the armistice lines that existed on June 4, 1967
  6. S. 558: (+) the Cluster Munitions Civilian Protection Act, to limit the use of cluster munitions in areas normally inhabited by civilians.
  7. S. 1125: (+) greater judicial review of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), and greater protections to individuals being monitored or gag-ordered by the FBI.
  8. S.1038, the PATRIOT Sunsets Extension Act, in opposition of PATRIOT Act extension.
  9. S. 723: (-) The Birthright Citizenship Act, limiting citizenship for millions of undocumented immigrants born in the US.
  10. S. 952: (+) the DREAM Act, allowing undocumented minors to become US citizens, provided they meet certain conditions, including good moral character
Source: AAI website 12-AAI-S on May 2, 2012

Vigorous support for State of Israel against Hamas in Gaza.

Rubio co-sponsored Resolution for Israeli Self-Defense

RESOLUTION expressing vigorous support and unwavering commitment to the welfare, security, and survival of the State of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state with secure borders:

    Now, therefore, be it Resolved, That the Congress:
  1. expresses unwavering commitment to the security of the State of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state with secure borders, and recognizes and strongly supports its inherent right to act in self-defense to protect its citizens against acts of terrorism;
  2. reiterates that Hamas must end Gaza-linked terrorist rocket and missile attacks against Israel, recognize Israel's right to exist, renounce violence, and agree to accept previous agreements between Israel and the Palestinians;
  3. urges the UN Security Council to condemn the recent spike in Gaza-linked terrorist missile attacks against Israel, which risk causing civilian casualties in both Israel and Gaza; and
  4. encourages the President to continue to work diplomatically with the international community to prevent Hamas and other Gaza-based terrorist organizations from retaining or rebuilding the capability to launch rockets and missiles against Israel.
Source: SR599/HR813 12-SRes599 on Nov 16, 2012

Sponsored funding and supplying the Syrian rebels.

Rubio co-sponsored Free Syria Act

Congressional Summary:

Proponent's argument for bill:(by United Free Syria organization): House of Representatives: Free Syria Act (HR.1327):

The House bill would set up a framework under which the Obama administration could deploy anti-aircraft systems to help the rebels fight off the Syrian regime's attacks from above, and assist a post-Assad transition by using sanctions relief and loans from international financial institutions to support a new transitional government. "We believe there are credible options at your disposal, including limited military options, that would require neither putting US troops on the ground nor acting unilaterally," Sens. Levin and McCain wrote. "First, we urge you to lead an effort, together with our friends and allies, to degrade the Assad regime's airpower and to support Turkey if they are willing to establish a safe zone inside of Syria's northern border."
Source: S.617 / H.R.1327 13-S617 on Mar 21, 2013

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