Marco Rubio

Marco Rubio's Foreign Policy: Reckless, Reactionary Big-Gov Love

Hey Rubio: If government can't manage health care, how can it manage regime changes in foreign societies?

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Republican presidential aspirant and U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio gave a major foreign-policy speech recently, and the best that can be said is that he did not claim to favor small government and free markets. What he wants in a foreign policy couldn't possibly be reconciled with any desire to limit government power. Rubio is for big government no matter what he might say on the campaign trail.

He acknowledged this when he said, correctly, "Foreign policy is domestic policy."

Rubio set out a doctrine with three pillars, none of which which should comfort anyone who understands, as the great libertarian writer Albert Jay Nock noted, that political power displaces social power. The three pillars are: "American Strength," "protection of the American economy," and "moral clarity regarding America's core values." All three display a hubris typical of a big-government advocate, including those of the conservative variety.

Regarding strength, Rubio wants you to believe that America's ability and eagerness to project global power prevents war, while "weakness" promotes it: "the world is safest when America is at its strongest."

Where has he been this century? Does he not know that U.S. power knocked out Shiite Iran's chief regional adversary (Saddam Hussein's Sunni-dominated regime in Iraq), in turn giving rise to a more-virulent form of al-Qaeda (ISIS), which controls large parts of Iraq and Syria while extending its influence to Africa and elsewhere? Contrary to Rubio, violent disorder has been the direct outcome of George W. Bush's post-9/11 invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, and Barack Obama's 2011 declaration of open season on Bashar al-Assad in Syria and bombing of Libya. [Al-Qaeda's 9/11 attacks of course followed decades of U.S. intervention on behalf of, among others, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Israel.]

Marco Rubio/Facebook

It's not that the U.S. government should have sided with Saddam, Assad, and Libya's Muammar Gaddafi, all secular rulers. Rather, the point is that the exercise of American power is most likely to muck things up. If government can't manage health care (as Rubio believes), how can it manage regime changes in foreign societies? Why don't conservatives ever ask themselves this?

Rubio thinks Obama, who's hardly a dove, hasn't war-mongered enough. The Republican wants even more confrontation—with Russia, China, Cuba, and North Korea. What he calls strength is just recklessness. Rubio's speech demonstrates his unfitness for office (assuming anyone is fit for office).

He says he wants to spread freedom and other values, but he must realize that what American drones, bombers, and special ops spread are death and social upheaval. Again, where has Rubio been?

"America did not intend to become the world's indispensable power," Rubio said, adding, "America is the first power in history motivated by a desire to expand freedom rather than its own territory." Here he adds historical demagoguery to political recklessness. From the start, many American rulers, who embraced empire, intended to make America the continental, hemispheric, and even world hegemon. War was an option, and no one—not the Indians, Spanish, English, French, or Russians—would thwart destiny. Rubio's glorification of American "strength" is reactionary.

His second pillar, protection of the American economy, also shows his attraction to government power. Although he invokes "free trade," Rubio embraces "trade's role as a tool of statecraft that can bolster our relationships with partners and create millions of jobs." So much for the free market. Again, Rubio is a reactionary. Most American presidents believed that trade was not a matter for free enterprise but a government program designed for political objectives, including the benefit of special interests. [The military-industrial complex must be licking its chops.]

Rubio says he will promote, as his third pillar, moral clarity regarding America's core values. Are those the same core values promoted by America's embrace of dictators and monarchs in the Middle East (and elsewhere) and Israel's decades-long oppression of the Palestinians, which Rubio supports? Note well that Rubio's values do not include privacy. He wants to protect the NSA's PATRIOT Act bulk-data-collection program.

Rubio seeks to "restore America's status as a nation that shapes global events rather than one that is shaped by them." We can't afford another ruler with such hubris.

This piece originally appeared at Richman's "Free Association" blog.

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  1. Good post…I agree with him about Rubio and it’s nice to see Richman continue to break from his old pattern of writing about generic libertarian history. More, please.

  2. Except at Reason, there is no constituency for smaller Government. Sheldon would attend a NASCAR speech and expect advocacy for lower horsepower. So he listens to Rubio and makes his shocked face?

    The two things that unite Democrats and the GOP is their hatred for Libertarians and their love of big Government. We will be hunted down like wild pigs.

    1. That’s true, there’s no constituency for smaller gov’t per se. But there are constituencies for more freedom. & there are also constituencies for some of the things freedom can bring.

    2. You’ve obviously never attended a TEA Party event.

  3. I see no difference between Marco Rubio and Adam Lanza.

    1. True dat

    2. BUT – Bill Clinton is just a helples, old man.

    3. There is about a 20 year age difference. That’s about it.

    4. Every word out of Sheldon’s mouth is like a turd falling into my drink, even when he’s right. And he’s right about Marco.

  4. “America is the first power in history motivated by a desire to expand freedom rather than its own territory.”

    What a load of horseshit. America labors under the delusion that it can win low-intensity conflicts across the globe when no foreign force has done so since the decline of the colonial empires.

    Rubio is as bad as the progs. For him, it’s all about the intentions, nevermind the results.

    1. +1

    2. You know, I’m going to admit to believing this until just a relatively few years ago. “Yeah! We’re DIFFERENT! We’re not trying to take over Iraq/Nicaragua/The Balkans/wherever…we’re just trying to help! We’re DIFFERENT!”

      I’ve come around.

      The only difference is we’re not trying to move in, we’re just trying to control. Everything.

      TEAM AMERICA! WORLD POLICE! FUCK YEAH!!

      1. The insane part is that it doesn’t even work. It’s impossible unless we approach war the way Europe did in the 19th century. Namely, kill anyone and everyone who gets in the way regardless of age, sex, language, etc… Submit or have your village wiped off the planet.

      2. …we’re just trying to help! We’re DIFFERENT!

        The sad part is, the first part is mostly probably true. And, if you look, a lot of the previous counties were trying to do the same damned thing. The English, before us, really did buy into the bullshit about the White Man’s Burden, which is a major portion of what we’re doing around the world.

        For the truly self-interested, war and imperialism are generally lousy trades.

    3. In the next breath, he’ll defend the NSA meta-data program – beclowning himself.

    4. Minor quibble, Panama and Grenada turned out fairly well. Of course those conflicts were fought under the Powell-weinberger doctrine.

      1. And Grenada was small – like, really small. Like taking over a large town.

  5. Let me ask the flip side of the question: When has weakness ever served America’s interest? We’ll soon find out, given Obama’s foreign policy.

    1. I doubt those hundreds of women and children killed in our drone strikes see him as acting weakly.

      1. Versus the thousands that Daesh has murdered in their run, with a lot more to come.

        While I don’t agree with us droning people it’s apples and oranges, Botard.

    2. I wouldn’t describe Obama’s as weakness. It’s incoherent stupidity. Nothing more or less.

    3. “When has weakness ever served America’s interest?”

      It doesn’t. Which is why reckless interventions which deplete American Resources should be avoided. Hard-nosed realism is what is needed in foreign policy not the idealist idiocy of the hawks that think we can spread and build Jeffersonian Democracies in barbaric lands where the people believe homosexuals, Christians, etc. should be put to death.

      I also think the idealist notions of purist non-interventionists is nothing but naivete. But I find them to be a less dangerous group, because unlike the hawks they actually lack the influence to implement their preferred policy changes. Meanwhile Realist Republicans are outnumbered by Weekly Standard-types.

  6. I was going to write that while I disagreed with Rubio I had to understand that for him it’s likely personal in that his family was forced to flee Castro’s Cuba and so he was likely raised with the idea that the US should rightly push for regime change there. But I actually just found that Rubio has flat out lied about that, his parents came over during Batista’s regime. Honestly didn’t know about that, seems to me those lies are up there with Warren’s ‘I’m a Cherokee Indian’

    1. When during the Batista regime? Also, I’m sure they had friends and family still in Cuba. Regardless though, “My daddy hated them” is a stupid reason for the government to do anything.

  7. Republicans like Rubio want to convince Americans that we are living in times of unlimited national emergency because they don’t believe they can win elections during periods of “normalcy.” They believe that war gives them freedom–freedom to impugn the patriotism of their opponents, freedom to spend as much money as they want on defense (because “necessary” spending somehow doesn’t count as spending), and freedom to lie about whatever is convenient for them to lie about.

    The great danger for the world is the possibility that the leadership of the major nations–the U.S., China, Japan, India, and Russia–will all fall into the hands of the Putins and Rubios. They’ll all base their political futures on drumming up nationalist passions and they’ll pursue aggressive foreign policies in order to create the dangers they’re warning against. And so we’ll go to war over an uninhabited island 8,000 miles west of San Francisco.

    1. Re: Alan Vain-man,

      Republicans like Rubio want to convince Americans that we are living in times of unlimited national emergency because they don’t believe they can win elections during periods of “normalcy.”

      Not that he is different from some Democrats who also want to convince Americans that we are living in times of unlimited national emergency ?be it Income Inequality, Institutional Racism, Lack Of Opportunity, War on Women, Homelessness, Crumbling Infrastructure? because they don’t believe they can win elections during periods of “normalcy.”

      Politicians being politicians.

      The great danger for the world is the possibility that the leadership of the major nations–the U.S., China, Japan, India, and Russia–will all fall into the hands of the Putins and Rubios.

      Or Cthulhu. Of all the possible evils, why not go for the best?

    2. Republicans like Rubio want to convince Americans that we are living in times of unlimited national emergency because they don’t believe they can win elections during periods of “normalcy.”

      Starting when & for what offices? I can’t believe Republicans could look at any period including the present & at any political office, & conclude that. The evidence isn’t there. Republicans have won lots of offices during “normalcy”. If you just look at prez, both the last Republican winners, both Geo. Bush, got elected originally during “normalcy”.

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  9. It’s hard to take Rubio seriously. Given the economic and political disaster of the last 14 years of war, his call for greatly expanding conflict comes off as trolling.

  10. And this is why “authentic” TEA Party types support Ted Cruz.

  11. Not another “America has caused all of the problems in the world” article. Sigh… There is argument to be made that overreaching and extensive influence by the United States has created hostility toward the US and should be reevaluated and toned down. But the simplistic idea that if we did nothing and were completely isolationist somehow the world would be a shiny happy place with everyone holding hands is downright intellectually dishonest. American foreign influence is not something that is all bad. And, America is by far not the only country to exert foreign influence. Somehow these articles always single out America as the only country wishing to influence others. In the end, such a subject and topic is much more nuanced than ever actually articulated in such articles whose entire premise can usually always be summoned up in the phrase “America, bad.” Tiring to say the least.

    1. did we read the same article? pointing out the problems with US neo-imperialism/”intervenrionism” is not blaming all the worlds problems on the US.

    2. conversely, claiming that the US has not had a destabilizing impact on Iraq and Syria is willfully ignorant

      1. I never claimed any such thing. My point is one of complexity in the subject matter as opposed to the simple knee-jerk, ubiquitous argument about how bad America is for what we’ve done that is set forth in the article. And your response to me with the knee-jerk accusation attributing a claim I never once made is a prime example of the problem on which I’m trying to shed some light.

  12. Typical neocon claptrap. The republican base requires that they all sound like they have rabies. At some point you have to wonder if they all really believe this stuff or is it just a necessary career move? Rubio seems particularly willing to blow in the wind. He’s young enough to have come of age in the era of big media politics so maybe he doesn’t see a problem with all spin all the time. Did you hear him trying to answer the “knowing what we know now’ question about Iraq? Incoherant lunacy.

    1. Problem is D’s like Feinstein and the Hildebeest are also neocons.

      I really don’t see much of a difference.

  13. So . . . If clinton was an extension of Reagan, the the Bush Obama era is a milestone in greater government control, regulation and friggin’ over reach. Let’s hope for a 16 year pendulum swing ”
    our” way.

  14. The good news is Rubio won’t win the presidency. The bad news of course is Hillary will win the presidency.

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