Marco Rubio on Foreign Policy

Republican Florida Senator


Engage with Putin, but recognize he supports zero sum games

Q: Should Vladimir Putin be welcome to the White House?

RUBIO: Well, I don't have a problem with the president meeting with Putin. On the contrary, I think it's an important thing that we engage him. I just think it's important that any conversation we have with Vladimir Putin is with the person who he really is. This is a guy who clearly does not believe in a win-win scenario with the U.S. He's a big believer in zero sum game. He thinks the way to make Russia stronger is too weaken America. And as long as we're clear about it, I think it's important that the nations speak to one another and that our leaders speak to one another. But it is only productive if we clearly understand who he is and what he wants.

Q: Russia continues to try to influence our elections system, so there is some sensitivity to having Vladimir Putin here around the time of the upcoming elections.

RUBIO: I have been warning consistently that I believe they will do this again.

Source: CBS Face the Nation 2018 interviews of 2020 hopefuls , Jul 22, 2018

Stay with Japan & South Korea or they will be nuclear powers

RUBIO: Donald says South Korea needs to contribute more to Asia-Pacific defense. South Korea contributes $800 million a year to that effort. Japan contributes as well. Here's why our commitment to that regional security is so critical. If we walk away from them, Japan and South Korea will become nuclear weapons powers. That's what they will do if the American defense agreements wither away, which is why we have to rebuild the military.

TRUMP: I never said walk away. I wouldn't want to walk away. I want them to pay us much more money.

RUBIO: How much?

TRUMP: A lot. I'll negotiate a lot more money than you'll ever get.

Source: 2016 CNN-Telemundo Republican debate on eve of Texas primary , Feb 25, 2016

Three main threats: Asia-Pacific, Middle East, and Russia

Q: What three questions do you ask your national security experts?

TRUMP: What we want to do, when we want to do it, and how hard do we want to hit? We are going to have to hit hard to knock out ISIS. We're going to have to learn who our allies are. We have allies, we have no idea who they are in Syria. Do we want to stay that route, or do we want to go and make something with Russia? But very important, who are we fighting with? Who are we fighting for? What are we doing?

RUBIO: There are three major threats. No. 1 is, what are we doing in the Asia-Pacific region, where North Korea and China pose threats to national security. No. 2 is, what are we doing in the Middle East with the combination of the Sunni-Shia conflict driven by the Shia arc that Iran is now trying to establish in the Middle East, also the growing threat of ISIS. The third is rebuilding NATO, particularly in Central and Eastern Europe, where Vladimir Putin is threatening the territory of multiple countries.

Source: 2016 CBS Republican primary debate in South Carolina , Feb 13, 2016

North Korea is run by a maniac with nuclear weapons

If you're running for president, [foreign policy] are important issues, because look at around the world today.

There is a lunatic in North Korea with dozens of nuclear weapons and long-range rocket that can already hit the very place in which we stand tonight. The Chinese are rapidly expanding their military. They hack into our computers. They're building artificial islands in the South China Sea, the most important shipping lane in the world.

A gangster in Moscow is not just threatening Europe, he's threatening to destroy and divide NATO. You have radical jihadists in dozens of countries across multiple continents. And they even recruit Americans using social media to try to attack us here at home.

And now we have got this horrible deal with Iran where a radical Shia cleric with an apocalyptic vision of the future is also guaranteed to one day possess nuclear weapons and also a long-range rocket that can hit the United States.

Source: 2015 Republican two-tiered primary debate on CNN , Sep 16, 2015

Putin trying to position Russia as a geopolitical force

Putin said that the fall of the Soviet Union was the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the 20th century, and he's trying to reverse that.

He's trying to destroy NATO. He is exploiting a vacuum that this administration has left in the Middle East. The Russians will begin to fly combat missions in that region, not just targeting ISIS, but in order to prop up Assad. Putin will say, "America is no longer a reliable ally, Egypt. America is no longer a reliable ally, Saudi Arabia. Rely on us."

Source: 2015 Republican two-tiered primary debate on CNN , Sep 16, 2015

Pre-conditions for Iran: end enrichment & ballistic missiles

Q: Would you impose sanctions on China or India for not sanctioning Iran?

A: Our foreign policy as a nation is not subject to what China wants to do or Russia wants to do; we have our own foreign policy. It needs to be in the national security interests of the United States. I would have never entered this negotiation unless we understood up front that Iran was going to stop enrichment activities, was going to stop their ballistic missile capabilities, & was going to stop sponsoring terrorism.

Source: CNN SOTU 2015 interview series: 2016 presidential hopefuls , Jul 19, 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

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

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

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

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

Intervention to promote democracy abroad

Rubio says he believes it's "essential" for the United States to "spend money and risk lives on foreign policy." 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.

Rubio has not been shy in pushing for that sort of muscular foreign policy approach. He has been an outspoken voice for intervention in Libya, and aggressively questioned what he called the Obama administration's "troubling" response to the rising violence within the country. "Is the message that we're sending that when future conflicts arise, the United States' actions are difficult to predict? There may be none? That, basically, the way to repress and bring down resistance like this is to be brutal? What are we going to do if there's a bloodbath after this?" Rubio asked, his voice rising.

Source: Congressional Quarterly "Roll Call" weblog , Nov 12, 2011

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

Marco Rubio on Latin America

End relations with anti-American communist tyranny in Cuba

Q: You have made it clear that you oppose normalization with Cuba. Would President Rubio shut down the Cuban Embassy here in Washington?

A: I would end the diplomatic relations with an anti-American communist tyranny, until such time as they actually held a democratic opening in Cuba, allowed people to organize independent political parties, have freedom of the press and freedom of expression. In fact, all these conditions are laid out in the law right now in the Cuban Democracy Act.

Source: CNN SOTU 2015 interview series: 2016 presidential hopefuls , Jul 19, 2015

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

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

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

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

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

Marco Rubio on Mideast

No honest broker on Israel: we are on their side

Q: Donald Trump said about the ongoing conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinians -- "Let me be sort of a neutral guy. I don't want to say whose fault it is; I don't think it helps." What's wrong with being an honest broker?

RUBIO: The position Donald has taken is an anti-Israel position: you cannot be an honest broker in a dispute between two sides in which one of the sides is constantly acting in bad faith. The Palestinian Authority has walked away from multiple efforts to make peace, very generous offers from the Israelis. The Palestinians teach their 4-year-old children that killing Jews is a glorious thing. The bottom line is, a deal between Israel and the Palestinians, given the current makeup of the Palestinians, is not possible. The next president of the United States needs to be someone like me who will stand firmly on the side of Israel. I will be on Israel's side every single day because they are the only pro-American, free enterprise democracy in the entire Middle East.

Source: 2016 CNN-Telemundo Republican debate on eve of Texas primary , Feb 25, 2016

I voted against the president's inadequate Syria strategy

In 2014, Barack Obama said he would not take military action against Assad unless it was authorized by the Senate. I saw the images of children who were gassed by their own leaders and we were angry. Something had to happen. Then I looked at Barack Obama's plan, and I concluded that his plan would allow Assad to stand up to the US, survive a strike and stay in power. I voted against Barack Obama's plan to use force.
Source: 2016 CBS Republican primary debate in South Carolina , Feb 13, 2016

Too risky to take in Syrian refugees

Q: Would you block Syrian refugees from entering the US?

RUBIO: The problem is we can't background check them. You can't pick up the phone and call Syria. And that's one of the reasons why I said we won't be able to take more refugees. It's not that we don't want to. The bottom line is that this is not just a threat coming from abroad. What we need to open up to and realize is that we have a threat here at home, homegrown violent extremists, individuals who perhaps have not even traveled abroad, who have been radicalized online. This has become a multi-faceted threat. In the case of what's happening in Europe, this is a swarm of refugees. And as I've said repeatedly over the last few months, you can have 1,000 people come in and 999 of them are just poor people fleeing oppression and violence but one of them is an ISIS fighter.

Source: ABC This Week 2015 interview on Syrian Refugee crisis , Nov 15, 2015

Void in the Middle East, so gangster Putin steps in

I've never met Putin, but he is an organized crime figure that runs a country. His calculation in the Middle East is that he has seen what this president has done, which is nothing. There is only one pro-American free enterprise democracy in the Middle East, it is the state of Israel. We have a president that treats the prime minister of Israel with less respect than what he gives the ayatollah in Iran. So our allies in the region don't trust us.
Source: Fox Business/WSJ Second Tier debate , Nov 10, 2015

Do not leave it to Russia to get rid of ISIS

Q: Donald Trump says, no American assistance; let the Russians fight ISIS.

RUBIO: Well, the problem with it is, number one, the Russians aren't necessarily targeting ISIS right now. They're targeting non-ISIS rebels, and it's part of an effort to wipe out any non-ISIS fighters on the ground, so they can turn to the world and say that the only choices are either Assad or ISIS. The second point is that the growth of ISIS will continue in Iraq. They are spread now into Libya, where they have become a very significant presence, increasingly in Afghanistan as well. Putin's interests at the end of the day are largely to prop up Assad, who has provided for them a foothold into the region. And so they are stepping into vacuum we have left behind. In an ideal world, you would be able to work with Russia to defeat radical jihadists.

Source: CBS Face the Nation 2015 interview by Bob Schieffer , Nov 1, 2015

Opposes nuclear deal with Iran; but supported deal in 2012

Q: Back in 2012, you supported President Obama's negotiation of a nuclear deal with Iran. Now, you say that if you're elected president, that you might revoke any deal he makes. You said, "I don't want it to come across as a sort of saber rattling person, because I'm not. Have you seen the movie 'Taken', with Liam Neeson? He has a line and this is what our strategy should be. We will look for you. We will find you. And we will kill you."

A: Who would not be in favor of a deal if it would be a deal that Iran would allow themselves to walk away from any sort of enrichment or reprocessing? But that's not what the deal is. We now know what the outlines of the deal are and they're much worse than anybody anticipated. And in terms of saber rattling in our approach to terrorism: When you give these radical groups safe havens, whether it's in Syria or Iraq or Libya, they use those safe havens to carry out attacks against Americans and our allies, and increasingly here in the homeland.

Source: Fox News Sunday 2015 coverage of 2016 presidential hopefuls , May 17, 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

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

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

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

Disallow Palestine from joining ICC to threaten Israel.

Rubio signed disallowing Palestine from joining ICC to threaten Israel

Excerpts from Letter from 73 Senators to Secretary of State Kerry We are deeply concerned by the decision of the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to seek membership in the International Criminal Court (ICC), because the Palestinian Authority is not a state and its express intent is to use this process to threaten Israel.

Pres. Abbas' effort contravene the spirit of earlier agreements between Israel and the Palestinian Authority and erodes the prospect for peace. Therefore, the US must make clear that joining the ICC is not a legitimate or viable path for Palestinians.

Israel is a major strategic partner of the US and is facing increasing pressure from those who seek to delegitimize its very existence. The only realistic and sustainable path to resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is through direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.

Supporting argument: (Heritage Foundation, "U.S. Should Not Join the ICC," Aug. 18, 2009): The ICC prosecutor is exploring a request by the Palestinian National Authority to prosecute Israeli commanders for alleged war crimes committed during the recent actions in Gaza. Palestinian lawyers maintain that the Palestinian National Authority can request ICC jurisdiction as the de facto sovereign even though it is not an internationally recognized state. By countenancing Palestine's claims, the ICC prosecutor has enabled pressure to be applied to Israel over alleged war crimes, while ignoring Hamas's incitement of the military action and its commission of war crimes against Israeli civilians. Furthermore, by seemingly recognizing Palestine as a sovereign entity, the prosecutor's action has created a pathway for Palestinian statehood without first reaching a comprehensive peace deal with Israel. This determination is an inherently political issue beyond the ICC's authority.

Source: Palestinian Bid to ICC 14LTR-ICC on Jan 29, 2015

Move US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem; recognize as cap.

Rubio co-sponsored H.R.114 & S.117

Congressional Summary: States that it is US policy to recognize Jerusalem as the undivided capital of Israel, and that the US Embassy in Israel should be established in Jerusalem by 2017.

Supporters reasons for voting YEA: (Times of Israel ): Congressional legislation would force the Obama administration to change longstanding US policy and move the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. The bill challenges presidential authority on a key foreign policy question. The bill strikes the language in the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995 that gave the president waiver authority to delay the move. Every president since Bill Clinton has signed a presidential waiver every six months in order to keep the embassy in Tel Aviv, citing concerns that a move to Jerusalem would upset the prospects for a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. Israel proclaimed Jerusalem as its capital in 1980, but the US, like all other countries, maintains its embassy in Tel Aviv.

Opponents reasons for voting NAY: (The Morning Call, April 16, 1984) The Arab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) and the National Association of Arab Americans (NAAA) have begun a "multifaceted protest" opposing moving the US. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Israel annexed East Jerusalem from Jordan after capturing it in the 1967 war but assured free access to religious shrines. The nations of the Arab League argue that the Israelis are in Jerusalem as an "army of occupation" and they have never recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. One compromise would be the placement of the American Consulate in Jerusalem with the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv. Secretary of State George P. Shultz cautioned that a relocation "would fan Islamic extremism, possibly inciting a wave of violence against our citizens, diplomats and installations in the region."

Source: Jerusalem Embassy and Recognition Act 15_S117 on Jan 7, 2015

Sponsored bill supporting Israeli settlements on West Bank.

Rubio sponsored two-state solution despite Israeli settlements on West Bank

Congressional Summary: S.Res.6/H.Res.11 objects to U.N. Security Council Resolution 2334, which characterizes Israeli settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem as illegal and demands cessation of settlement activities.

Opposing argument: (Cato Institute, Dec. 19, 2003): In principle, separation seems the best answer to stop the killing. For this reason, a security fence makes sense--if it actually separates Jew from Arab. Unfortunately, to protect a number of disparate Israeli settlements erected in the midst of Palestinian communities, Israel currently is mixing Jew and Arab and separating Arab from Arab. Thus are sown the seeds for conflict. After 36 years of occupation, the land remains almost exclusively Arab. The limited Jewish presence is the result of conscious colonization. The settlements require a pervasive Israeli military occupation, imposing a de facto system of apartheid. Separation offers the only hope, but separation requires dismantling Israeli settlements.

Source: S.Res.6 & H.Res.11 17-SRes6 on Jan 3, 2017

Sponsored bill to monitor forced Uyghur labor in Xinjiang.

Rubio sponsored Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act

Legislative summary: The Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act: