But Rubio seems distinctive in his willingness to sacrifice American lives, wealth, and prosperity and wreak death and destruction around the globe for most any reason. If you don’t think the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya, drone campaigns in Pakistan and Yemen, and transnational fight against the Islamic State were enough over the last decade, Marco claims to be your man.
Marco Rubio has been one of the strongest neoconservatives in the United States Senate since his election by a plurality of the vote in the 2010 off-year election. Rhetorically, Rubio has no equal even among the legions of neoconservatives that populate Washington DC think tanks and conservative publications.
ISIS (known in the Arab world as Daesh, the term we will use interchangeably with ISIS for the remainder of this piece) has managed to adroitly use social media and exploitation of statements in the west as a recruiting tool to gain new followers. This is important to understand when evaluating the relationship between Rubio’s rhetoric and the growth of the terrorist organization.
President Obama was widely mocked for referring in 2014 to Daesh as the “JV team.” But in reality that is all they were at the time, and by overplaying the threat to the west and American interests, politicians in this country have allowed the group to recruit and gain relevance globally.
The threat here at home from Daesh has always been minimal. But when politicians exploit the terrorist threat especially toward those excellent at exploiting social media like ISIS, they become potentially “cooler” and “hipper,” to those malcontents and dropouts from society looking to cause trouble. Marco Rubio’s politicized comments attacking President Obama for his handling of Daesh as well as embracing the gun culture and NRA earlier this year were the greatest recruitment gift the terrorists could be given.
“I have a right to protect my family,”
“I think many Americans around the country feel the same way … If ISIS were to visit us, or our communities, at any moment, the last line of defense between ISIS and my family is the ability that I have to protect my family from them, or from a criminal, or anyone else who seeks to do us harm. Millions of Americans feel that way.”
Rubio’s calls for vigilante justice strike a chord with those unconcerned about the rule of law and opposed to established norms in a civilized society. That includes both terrorists from the Middle East and those in the west who are seeking some sort of adventurism or want an excuse to blame President Obama for all the problems on the planet.
Senator Rubio’s attitude towards Syria, where further destabilization of the secular Assad Government which is fighting Daesh has created a situation where the loud chorus of neoconservatives who blast BOTH ISIS and Assad has given ammunition to the claims by the islamists that Americans want a pro-western government installed, thus leading to greater recruitment efforts in the region. Rubio’s constant pushing for the use of military force or at the very least the threat of military force in Syria along with his co-horts in the Senate, Lindsay Graham, Kelly Ayote and John McCain has opened the door for more recruitment for Daesh. While President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry understand the subtleties and nuances necessary to navigate the choppy waters of building a coalition and undermining the opposition, Rubio’s bombastic rhetorical bards on foreign affairs and ideology.
Rubio went to the mat opposing the nuclear deal with Iran, even though opening a diplomatic channel with one of ISIS’ largest declared enemies would allow the US greater flexibility and leverage in the battle to destroy Daesh. However, Rubio has used the Iran deal as pretext to make the following statement:
“It’s now abundantly clear: Barack Obama has deliberately weakened America,”
“He has made an intentional effort to humble us back to size,”
“As if to say: we no longer need to be so powerful because our power has done more harm than good.”
“Happiest of all have been America’s enemies,”
“[It is] because when America steps back, it gives darker forces the space they need to rise. And rise they have.”
This is another case of Rubio’s projection. The reality is that it is Rubio’s ideological allies and those that chose unilateralism over diplomacy who weakened America. It is they who helped give rise to Daesh. It is they who gave aid and comfort to the enemies. It is that same set of ideologues who have adopted Rubio as their patron saint over the last few years.
Rubio’s rhetoric and misunderstanding of America’s roles and responsibilities abroad have created a context where our most dangerous adversaries have been able to recruit and grow. Floridians need to take a strong stand for the health and welfare of our country on November 8 and vote this dangerous man out of public office.