Marco Rubio has done it again. Yesterday he was one of just ten Republican Senators to vote against the confirmation of Samantha Power as UN ambassador. On the floor Rubio said “she’s being appointed by a president whose foreign policy is fast becoming an utter and absolute failure.”
Trust me, I am far from a fan of Obama’s foreign policy. However, Rubio is in little position to critique. Obama’s biggest mistakes have been his decision to intervene in Libya’s Civil War with congressional approval, something Rubio attacked as not being aggressive enough. US intervention was uncalled for and has caused serious ramifications in the region. Moreover, Rubio and his Republican allies failed to keep Obama honest at the time by simply ignoring the War Powers Act. Rubio has pushed for American intervention in Syria which would be a colossal mistake and could very well put Al Qaeda and Islamist forced in power, groups that will persecute Christians who have had protection under the Shiite Assad Government.
Obama’s other mistake, a naive dealing with Russia is simply a continuation of ill-advised Condeleezza Rice inspired George W. Bush policies. Russia represents a far greater economic and perhaps even a greater security threat than anytime since BEFORE detente under President Nixon, yet two administrations in a row have been totally asleep to this developing Russian Bear. We have not heard from Rubio on the Russia issue.
Rubio has also used lofty and quite frankly naive rhetoric to describe America’s world role. “If America’s light is extinguished, there is no other light,” he said. “We are called not to hide our light but to shine it.” This rhetoric implies we should intervene anywhere, anytime we feel the need to regardless of human cost to young Americans and the ultimate cost to our finances. Feeding the Military Industrial Complex is what so many neo-conservatives who Rubio despite calling himself a conservative align with.
True conservatism on foreign policy is represented by the likes of Ron Paul and Tennessee Congressman Jimmy Duncan. Republicans also had a realpolitik foreign policy establishment represented by the likes of James Baker, Henry Kissinger and Brent Scowcroft. But what the neo-cons are would be described as traditional liberals on foreign policy who have now aligned their views on other issue to match the majority of the GOP. Simply because they are Republicans we call them “conservatives” but in reality they are neither conservative nor liberal but simply reckless, cowboys who don’t value American prestige, power or lives in the same meaningful way traditional Republicans, traditional conservatives and most Democrats do.
Recently, Rubio’s foreign policy allies such as longtime prominent IRA supporter Rep. Peter King and Chris Christie have attacked Senator Rand Paul for his concerns about civil liberties in a “time of war.” Yet Paul’s views I believe speak for the majority of Americans once the issue is framed properly. Rubio however in a race to become the 2016 Presidential nominee of the GOP has thrown off his one-time libertarian instincts on these sorts of issues, instead giving wishy-washy responses about the NSA scandal and trying to focus on partisan talking points including Benghazi. Now it is interesting when Rubio has been interviewed about Benghazi that he has not been asked why he pushed so strongly for America to “not lead from behind,” and to intervene in a Civil War where the new Government though more ostensibly pro-American than Gaddafi’s is unquestionably more Islamist and has displaced tens of thousands of non-Arabs in the country be they Muslims or not.
Rubio claims to have lofty rhetoric about America’s responsibility in the world yet the interventions he supports have displaced Christian and Black Africans and empowered Arab zealots. He has talked about taking a hard line on Iran, yet has not once spoken about the growing crisis of Civil Liberties and Sunni Arab directed ethnic cleansing towards Shiite Persian and Arab Muslims as well as South Asians in the Gulf States and Saudi Arabia.
The foreign policy performance of President Obama has been far from perfect, in fact it has been largely disappointing prior to the appointment of Chuck Hagel, John Kerry and Susan Rice all of whom have differing ideas from their predecessors. But a Rubio Presidency would likely to return the US to freewheeling, reckless days of George W. Bush’s first six years in office, a time that created great national shame, and an image America abroad we are trying to climb out of.