Marco Rubio on Foreign Policy


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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