With ISIS on the offensive having recruited well in the west thanks largely to the successful Rubio rhetoric of demonizing the opponents of his policy both home and abroad and American interests in danger around the globe we get an October surprise. President Rubio carpet bombs nuclear power facilities in Iran, a nation actually fighting ISIS and sees his approval ratings soar. The justification for the Iran attack was a violation of the nuclear agreement signed by the Obama Administration. Rubio uses this to also argue that Democrats and Obama made America less safe, so Democrats in Congress cave and approve an authorization of force measure. It’s the Iraq War vote all over again, and with the experienced and authoritative voices of Ted Kennedy and Robert Byrd no longer with us, even those brave Democrats who oppose the new war don’t have the stature to make an impact.
War fever sweeps the United States while cable TV networks promote patriotism and “Americanism.” With cable news channels showing nonstop coverage and imposing the American flag in corner of the screen, the approval ratings of Rubio and Congress sky rocket. Those who challenge the President’s view are considered “un-American,” or “sympathetic with terrorists.” President Rubio pushes and gets approved an expansion to FISA warrants. This is opposed by the far left and extreme right (including Ted Cruz who was defeated for the 2016 GOP nomination and now has become a critic of the administration often aligning with liberal Democrats on civil liberties issues), but Rubio uses this to appear more “mainstream,” and the media cheers on the invasion of privacy as a way to keep us safe. Rubio privately works to increase “enhanced interrogation techniques” (aka torture) but this is not yet public in January 2019.
But western allies aren’t on-board with the US war in Iran. France who has large commercial deals in the country including in the oil industry (Total) remains neutral as does Germany. The United Kingdom’s David Cameron gives vocal support to Rubio but much like his effort in 2013 to intervene in Syria a combination of Labour leadership and Conservative backbenchers derails his plans.
Domestically Rubio’s failures are forgotten. He’s the leader America needs says the voters and Republicans maintain control of Congress and only lose a handful of Governorships.
To this point the President has kept ground troops out of direct combat operations in Iran, relying on strategic air strikes. However, that is likely to change at the drop of a hat as 2019 and the Rubio Presidency pushes on.