Marco Rubio would have fit in much better with the likes of Cheney, Wolfowitz, and Kagan than with the conservative nationalists. Not that he can’t fit in now, it’s just that his extremely aggressive foreign policy proposals sound like the outlandish expansion of the military a certain brand of neoconservative was insisting upon after the collapse of the USSR. The theme of American unipolarity is an important and dangerous cornerstone of Rubio’s philosophy.
Donald Trump is frightening in his own right because no matter what he says, no one knows what it is he would do were he actually elected. What makes guys like Rubio frightening is that I don’t for a second doubt that he would try to do everything he says he will. And what he wants to do is insane.
[T]he U.S. needs to take the lead on a strategy, in conjunction with our local allies, that will destroy ISIS and deprive it and other terror groups of safe havens. This will require a larger number of American troops on the ground, working with the Kurds, Sunni tribes, and other partners. If America does not make this our fight, the West will not win it.
The conflict is not just about ISIS, either: ISIS is only the most prominent manifestation of radical Islam, an ideology bent on destroying the West and eradicating its values. In this clash of civilizations, either we win, or they win.
The language Rubio uses is not dissimilar to that of the illegitimate caliphate that leads ISIS. He promises to send ‘large numbers of American troops’ into Syria to combat ISIS, the exact scenario the caliphate has prophesied to his followers will be the ultimate showdown between Islam and its enemies. ‘Either we win, or they win,’ is the kind of language reserved for fundamentalists—an echo of the divisive ‘You’re either with us or against us’ George W. Bush aired not long ago.
The idea that brute force can suppress the conditions which foster radicalization is asinine. One of the reasons ISIS is so attractive to some people in the region is because they have a history of corrupt and inept governments, dictators that acted as the gods of their countries, coupled with meddling from outside forces. ISIS offers to purify the region through horrific violence, but that this is God’s will, and part of God’s will, too, is that the truly faithful Muslims will combat with Western forces before the apocalypse. Rubio’s plan plays into the strategy and ideology of ISIS. His plan can kill a lot of people, yes, and cripple its organizational structure perhaps, but it will not eradicate the decades of influences that led to the group’s creation.
[Increasing the Pentagon’s budget] will allow us to neutralize the threat posed by China’s rapidly growing forces and capabilities. We’ll ensure that our carrier fleet is sufficient to support forward deployment of a second carrier to the Pacific. We’ll build Virginia-class submarines at a rate of two per year, construct new long-range precision strike systems, protect our satellites and space capabilities from attack, and we’ll deploy advanced missile defense systems to where our men and women are stationed throughout the region.
Restoring our military strength in Asia will also require strengthening our alliances. Our treaty allies and partners depend on the weight of their friendship with America to keep China off their doorstep.
When I am president, instead of inviting China to military exercises, we will conduct joint freedom of navigation patrols with our partners in East and Southeast Asia to challenge any attempts to close off international waters or airspace. We will seek enhanced access across the region and deploy additional air and naval assets to contested areas. We will confront Chinese propaganda in Asia by highlighting U.S. resolve and the flimsiness of China’s territorial claims. And if China continues to use military force to advance its illegitimate claims, I will not hesitate to take action.
This aggressiveness is only likely to dissuade China from cooperating with the US or any of the US’s allies in the region. Once again, Rubio believe bullying rather than bartering is the way to impose America’s will in the region, and threatens the actual use of military force if China lays claims to international waters. To further enrage China, Rubio has declared his intention to bolster a missile defense system in South Korea to act as a deterrent to the North, and suggests we attack ships suspected of carrying materials for their nuclear weapons program.
He wishes to undo the restoration of diplomatic relations with Cuba by returning them to the list of state sponsors of terrorism and impose sanctions. He wants to cancel the nuclear deal with Iran, reimposing sanctions and using the threat of military force as a deterrent to building a nuclear weapon, even though the reason Iran would build a nuclear weapon would be to deter the United States from attacking it. He wants to ‘provide Kiev with lethal military assistance and increased training and intelligence sharing’ and store ‘additional heavy weapons and vehicles in Central and Eastern Europe.’ He actually entertains the idea of attacking the Chinese military.
The dream of coercive American unipolority is an unsustainable fiction. It is not possible for the United States to engage directly or through proxy in theaters such as Iraq, Iran, Syria, and Ukraine while also staving off the efforts of Russia, China, and North Korea to intervene in places we’ve arrogantly claimed dominion over. The idea that we can rebuff the effort of any nation to act in a way in which we disprove by threatening force is dangerous. Why does anyone think that Vladimir Putin will be talked down to by a guy like Marco Rubio? How many times would the United States have to threaten swift and decisive military action before someone, purposefully or not, called our bluff? And what would happen if one of our narcissistic flexes of power set off an international crisis?
When Charles Krauthammer claimed that America, with the fall of the Soviet Union, was now free to engage itself militarily or otherwise in any part of the world in order to advance its interests, he not only vastly overestimated the capabilities of the military, he couldn’t comprehend that military involvement couldn’t solve every conflict where American interests were at stake. Among the many problems of neoconservatism (and there are many), perhaps the most glaring is its reactive nature; there is no set course for establishing American hegemony, only the impulsive response to situations as they pop up. It’s easy to understand how such a primitive and violent ideology could exist in our modern world, but it is far less clear why anyone would want to implement it. Should Rubio be President, I seriously hope his hawkish tendencies are tempered, or he—along with most if not all of the Republican field—could seriously threaten the security of the United States by acting aggressively across the globe and embroil us, and so many others, in an unnecessary conflict that could do irreparable harm to our world.