Video: Marco Rubio makes the case for interventionism

posted at 4:41 pm on April 25, 2012 by Allahpundit

As I said on Monday, I was keen to hear how he’d apply his McCainian outlook to the conundrum of how much longer to stay in Afghanistan. In some ways, the question of whether to intervene in Syria is easy: No one’s calling for boots on the grounds or (at this point) planes in the sky and the public likely isn’t paying enough attention to have a strong fixed opinion either way. It’s a question of providing material support to Assad’s enemies, and Americans are usually mellow about material support. But what about Afghanistan? Opinion, including GOP opinion, has tanked and thousands of men are still in harm’s way. Does Rubio support staying the course until the Taliban sue for peace or some form of withdrawal? What about a Gitmo prisoner transfer as a means of rapprochement to get them to the bargaining table? I figured he’d take this subject on if only because America’s decade-long drift there naturally informs any voter’s assessment of the risks and rewards of interventionism these days. When to intervene is a hard question but when to end an intervention once begun is harder, and more relevant than ever now that Obama’s set to start hammering the point that the war is ending. According to Rubio’s prepared remarks, though, he mentions Afghanistan only three times and two of those are in passing. Too bad. A subject for another day, I hope.

In fairness, the point of today’s talk wasn’t to delve deeply into policy specifics but to brand himself as a leader of the next generation of interventionists in the Senate. (He was introduced by Joe Lieberman and, as you’ll see, took care to praise Lieberman’s foreign-policy example, thus leading to this headline.) The most interesting part to me was his Bushian embrace of democracy abroad, notwithstanding the Islamist pandora’s box opened by the Arab Spring:

The spread and success of political and economic freedom in the Middle East is in our vital interest. It will certainly present challenges, as newly enfranchised societies elect leaders whose views and purposes oppose and even offend ours. But in the long term, because governments that rule by the consent of the governed must be responsive to the material needs and demands of their people, they are less likely to engage in costly confrontations that harm their economies and deprive their people of the opportunity to improve their circumstances.

That’s neoconservatism 101, similar to what Reuel Marc Gerecht told NRO during the Egyptian revolution about having to tolerate the inevitable rise of the Muslim Brotherhood at first in order to arrive at a more secular Egypt later. Is it really true, though, that an Egypt — or a Saudi Arabia, or a China — that’s more democratic will be less confrontational on the world stage? I’m a lot less sure than he is that economic self-interest is a reliable trump card against popular nationalist or religious impulses.

Then there’s the matter of red ink:

Faced with historic deficits and a dangerous national debt, there has been increasing talk of reducing our foreign aid budget. But we need to remember that these international coalitions we have the opportunity to lead are not just economic or military ones. They can also be humanitarian ones as well. In every region of the world, we should always search for ways to use U.S. aid and humanitarian assistance to strengthen our influence, the effectiveness of our leadership, and the service of our interests and ideals.

When done effectively, in partnership with the private sector, faith-based organizations and our allies, foreign aid is a very cost-effective way not only to export our values, but to advance our security and economic interests.

He’ll always be on firm ground among Republicans in protecting defense spending but foreign aid is bound to be a flashpoint between him and, say, Rand Paul as they inevitably clash on this subject in the years ahead. In fact, someone really needs to organize that debate — Rubio vs. Paul on interventionism in an age of budget-balancing. Brookings? AEI? C’mon.

Exit question: If this was in fact a job audition for Romney, how’d he do?


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Comment pages: 1 2

You are nothing but a disgruntled ex-employee of Paul’s who rightly fired you.

Dante on April 25, 2012 at 8:51 PM

LOL. I love how pissy you’ve gotten recently, once people started getting wise to your whole schtick of “Say things that are contrarian with nothing to back them up, wait until someone confronts me, assault with talking points, and if they don’t work, either attack or ignore the person.” Your veil has slipped, pal.

MadisonConservative on April 25, 2012 at 9:23 PM

Wilson campaigned on the line “he kept us out of war.” We now know, he wanted us in the war all along. We had no interest at risk in the war. In fact, the whole thing has been rightfully described as a family spat. Wilson was the first Neocon, and that campaign failed just as the current crop of Neocons have failed in the middle east.

WW1 was wrong because it paved the way for Hitler and WW2. WW2 made Stalin, which gave us Korea and Vietnam. It was wrong then, and it is wrong now. These wars do not serve our interests.

Quartermaster on April 25, 2012 at 8:33 PM

Well, WWI was probably going to be won by the British and French anyway…remember that the Ludendorff-Hindenburg Offensive failed even after they had several armies at their disposal since the Bolsheviks took out Kerensky and the Socialists in Russia.

My point is, how could we look a Doughboy in the face (yes, I know they’re all gone now) and say, “You fought for nothing and your buddies died for nothing.”?

Dr. ZhivBlago on April 25, 2012 at 9:26 PM

Quartermaster on April 25, 2012 at 8:33 PM

Also interesting that World War II was “wrong”. I’d love to hear why.

MadisonConservative on April 25, 2012 at 9:36 PM

He said WWI was wrong, and he gave the reason in the same sentence.

Dante on April 25, 2012 at 9:53 PM

He said WWI was wrong, and he gave the reason in the same sentence.

Dante on April 25, 2012 at 9:53 PM

No, he didn’t, unless you, too, are claiming that World War II, which started in 1939, made Stalin, who was purging enemies left and right by 1934.

MadisonConservative on April 25, 2012 at 9:58 PM

Wow. You really can’t read.

Dante on April 25, 2012 at 9:59 PM

Wow. You really can’t read.

Dante on April 25, 2012 at 9:59 PM

You’re a condescending douche. Read yourself:

WW2 made Stalin, which gave us Korea and Vietnam. It was wrong then, and it is wrong now.

Did World War II make Stalin, or not? Other than that awesomely stupid notion, I don’t see another stated reason why World War II was wrong, and don’t say Korea and Vietnam, because both of those are dependent on the claim that World War II “made” Stalin.

MadisonConservative on April 25, 2012 at 10:03 PM

You’re a condescending douche. Read yourself:

WW2 made Stalin, which gave us Korea and Vietnam. It was wrong then, and it is wrong now.

Did World War II make Stalin, or not? Other than that awesomely stupid notion, I don’t see another stated reason why World War II was wrong, and don’t say Korea and Vietnam, because both of those are dependent on the claim that World War II “made” Stalin.

MadisonConservative on April 25, 2012 at 10:03 PM

You are tone deaf to irony. Follow your own advice: Read yourself

“WW1 was wrong because it paved the way for Hitler and WW2.”

Do you see the word I highlighted? The word “because” signals the beginning of completing the thought; everything following it is the reason given for the part before the word because.

So you jump in and say you’d like to know why World War II [sic] was wrong, even though it was given in the same sentence. Now, we don’t have to agree with the reason given, but to deny that a reason was given is flat out wrong.

Dante on April 25, 2012 at 10:07 PM

Do you see the word I highlighted? The word “because” signals the beginning of completing the thought; everything following it is the reason given for the part before the word because.

Yes. That explains why he thinks World War One was wrong. I asked why he thought World War Two was wrong. Do you see the word I highlighted? It indicates that he did not state his reasons for believing World War II to be wrong. Is English your first language? It certainly doesn’t seem that way.

So you jump in and say you’d like to know why World War II [sic] was wrong, even though it was given in the same sentence. Now, we don’t have to agree with the reason given, but to deny that a reason was given is flat out wrong.

Dante on April 25, 2012 at 10:07 PM

You STILL have not demonstrated where, in the same sentence, it was given. He said World War I was wrong because it led to Hitler and World War II. (Now I expect you to call me a liar because I said “led to” rather than “paved the way for”, because you’re a despicable weasel that will resort to any and all tactics to avoid having to face inconsistencies on your side of an argument.) If the reason is in the same sentence, then you are saying that World War II was wrong because it led to Hitler and World War II, which makes no goddamned sense.

Clearly repeat the clearly stated reason, or stop acting like the condescending douchebag that you cannot resist being.

MadisonConservative on April 25, 2012 at 10:15 PM

Dude, you are loony tunes. It’s clear why you use profanity and personal attacks.

Dante on April 25, 2012 at 10:21 PM

It’s clear why you use profanity and personal attacks.

Dante on April 25, 2012 at 10:21 PM

When you constantly dodge fair questions, refuse to address fair points, and mislabel both as either straw men or red herrings, it’s very clear, you coward.

MadisonConservative on April 25, 2012 at 10:23 PM

To Dante, WWI and WWII are Red Herrings.

catmman on April 25, 2012 at 11:11 PM

Francis Fukuyama is an idiot, which is why he now is doing some kind of weird mindmeld with Thomas Friedman. Neocon to me means a conservative who is on a crusade to bring democracy to the world, even if that means bankrupting the country, wasting lives and time. In fact the final outcome of any neocon is to become just like Thomas Friedman …

Think of what the neocon movement brought upon us:

(1) Homeland Security
(2) the crazed TSA
(3) more government interference in our lives
(4) made it possible for Obama to be elected
(5) Gave liberals a powerful argument: It is kind of hard to support cuts in domestic government spending when you are spending billions, if not trillions, overseas to build schools, roads, healthcare in other countries, like Iraq and Afghanistan.
(6) Have created more pro-Islamic governments in the middle east, not less..

Basically neocons are crusaders in search of spending tax payers money in missions to help poor people, just not our own poor people…brilliant election strategy!

William Eaton on April 26, 2012 at 7:52 AM

William Eaton on April 26, 2012 at 7:52 AM

I see what you’re saying but I would submit it’s the Islamists who were the catalyst for practically your whole list.

Those things didn’t happen in a vacuum.

catmman on April 26, 2012 at 10:32 AM

I see what you’re saying but I would submit it’s the Islamists who were the catalyst for practically your whole list.

Those things didn’t happen in a vacuum.

catmman on April 26, 2012 at 10:32 AM

Islam, or at least how it is traditionally practiced and taught, of course is the problem. That however does not change the fact that Neoconservatives are to blame for fighting stupidly. They made war strategy on faulty assumptions. Those are:

(1) That Islam is like any other religion. “Faith” no matter what it is is wonderful!

(2) That Islam is not to blame, just “radicals”, “terrorists” and “Islamist”

(3) That democracy based on Islam is ok, no need for a secular bill of rights, etc.

(4) That you fight nation building wars and thus make friends in the Islamic world by winning hearts and minds. That you don’t have to be cruel to win wars, you don’t have to reconfigure their way of life, their religion, etc. See: 1,2, & 3.

(5) Long wars have no consequences in the domestic political situation of the country, in the economic situation of the country, and for the military.

(6) Other foreign powers, China and Russia, will not take advantage of the United States fighting long nation building wars in the Islamic world.

(7) You must use massive land forces in order to win wars in the Islamic world.

(8)Stability and wealth in the Islamic world is a good thing.

(9) You must fight nation building wars in the Islamic world in order to protect America.

(10) America can bring democracy, peace and love to the entire planet. Thus ending time and history or something like that….

Shall I go on…

William Eaton on April 26, 2012 at 3:06 PM

Comment pages: 1 2