Marco Rubio’s Delusions of Grandeur

On Wednesday, Senator Marco Rubio outlined his vision for American foreign policy in a speech to the Brookings Institution in Washington. Suffice to say, it is a vision that will have more appeal to Bill Kristol than to Ron Paul. Rubio calls for more involvement in the world, more foreign aid, and more intervention. After reading Rubio’s speech, it is clear that he has not learned anything from the past decade and the foreign policy mistakes of the Bush43 and Obama Administrations.

Rubio first outlines his globalist agenda:

I always start by reminding people that what happens all over the world is our business. Every aspect of our lives is directly impacted by global events. The security of our cities is connected to the security of small hamlets in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia. Our cost of living, the safety of our food , and the value of the things we invent, make and sell are just a few examples of everyday aspects of our lives that are directly related to events abroad and make it impossible for us to focus only on our issues here are home.

Rubio of course forgets that the 9/11 plot was hatched in the parts of Afghanistan that were under the control of a government, the Taliban.

No foreign policy speech in America would be complete without the prerequisite China bashing:

I still have hope that behind the curtain of secrecy that veils the Chinese state, there are voices who advocate for the peaceful and responsible rise of that nation. Voices that reject the idea that global power is a zero sum game. We hold out hope for a new China of tomorrow, but for now we must deal with the China of today. A China which enjoys its closest relationships with countries such as North Korea and Iran. So, at least for now, it would be foolish to be confident in the idea that China can be counted on to defend and support global economic and political freedom or take up the cause of human rights. And by the way, the rest of the world, especially their neighbors have already figured that out, and they prefer not to take that risk.

Rubio sees the world in Cold War terms as a clash between ideologies, not the way the world really is. China’s interests in North Korea are that it sees North Korea as a buffer state to Japan, South Korea, and the US. China’s relationship with Iran (along with Sudan) is simply in the context that Iran has lots of oil and China needs a supplier that the US can’t cut off militarily or through diplomatic pressure. For that same reason, China has been improving its relations with Canada and Venezuela.

Rubio calls for the removal of the Assad regime in Syria:

The goal of preventing a dominant Iran is so important that every regional policy we adopt should be crafted with that overriding goal in mind. The current situation in Syria is an example of such an approach. The fall of Assad would be a significant blow to Iran’s ambitions. On those grounds alone, we should be seeking to help the people of Syria bring him down.

Once again, we would be involved in a situation where we remove a regime that has not committed any acts of aggression against the United States or against American interests, just like the recent Libyan misadventure. Given our financial condition, another “regime change” operation would probably not be wise.

Rubio also believes that democracy will solve most of the world’s problems. Plus in his speech he calls for more foreign aid to wipe out hunger and disease, takes a Cold War style, adversarial stance towards Russia, Venezuela, in addition to China and Iran; and calls for a “a strong energy partnership with Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Colombia and a post-Chavez Venezuela” for what amounts to a Western Hemisphere energy cartel.

Finally, some telling passages in the speech:

And 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”.

I disagree because all around us we see the human face of America’s influence in the world. It actually begins with not just our government, but our people. Millions of people have been the catalyst of democratic change in their own countries. But they never would have been able to connect with each other if an American had not invented Twitter.

The atrocities of Joseph Kony would still be largely unknown. But in fact, millions now know because an American filmmaker made a short film about it and then distributed it on another American invention YouTube.

Rubio clearly sees trade and even simple “people to people” contact as weapons, instead of what they are, people mutually agreeing to do business with one another because they can fulfill a need for each other. In fact, the best way to guarantee peace is to have open and free trade between nations. As Frederic Bastiat once said, “when goods don’t cross border, armies will”.

Rubio styles himself as a limited government conservative who generally opposes government intervention domestically. However, like many conservatives, he is willing to abandon his limited government principles when applying them to foreign policy. Senator Rubio would never support government healthcare but he supports programs overseas to increase vaccination and fight disease. Rubio opposes welfare programs here at home but he supports programs to fight hunger overseas. Rubio would never support using the government to transform society here in America but he supports a Bush43 style democratization agenda abroad. Rubio and other conservatives need to realize that excessive interventionism abroad will have the same results as excessive interventionism here at home, statism and economic ruin.

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