Marco Rubio 2016.
It may be too soon to roll out the pins and bumper stickers, but Senator Rubio (R-Fl.) appeared very presidential during his speech at the Brookings Institution on Wednesday. He was there to talk foreign policy. The message: America needs to be more active in spreading peace, security and prosperity throughout the world.
Yes, Rubio seemed quite presidential. The only problem is he reminded me of the wrong president.
The Florida senator – and GOP wet dream – claimed to carry the foreign policy torch passed down by former Presidents Reagan, Clinton and Bush II, but the president he echoed most was Woodrow Wilson, the great World War I imperialist who called on the U.S. to make the world “safe for democracy”… by going to war. (I guess you can’t make a freedom omelet without breaking a few heads.)
The progressives and libertarians in the audience must have given him enough smirks and eye rolls to last him till Thanksgiving.
The premise of his foreign policy is that the United States emerged after World War II as a superpower and made the world what it has been ever since – peaceful and prosperous.
“We haven’t ever really sought this role,” Rubio claims, yet “we are proud of it.”
Rubio urged his audience – and non-interventionists around the country – that not only should America assume the leadership role in all international coalitions, but that America must assume the lead because “more often than not, they can only be instigated and led by us.”
“What happens all over the world is our business.” (There’s a groaning sound coming from Congressman Paul’s office.)
“When American influence is diminished,” Rubio stated in reference to the democratic nature of the UN General Assembly and the Human Rights Council, “we see absurd and often appalling results.”
On U.S. policy toward Latin America, Rubio gave the usual lip service to freedom, democracy and free trade.
“Our goal for our own region should be pretty straightforward: a coalition of neighboring democratic nations that trade freely and live peacefully with one another.”
The goal of peace, democracy and open trade in Latin America has yet to be achieved, according to Rubio, due to America’s “past indifference and lack of focus.” (I’m Honduran and Puerto Rican, and Rubio’s Cuban; between the two of us, I’m sure we can pinpoint the error in that assessment.)
The unfortunate reality is that the U.S. has committed plenty of resources and attention to Latin American affairs, but American goals have not always aligned themselves with those of the Latin American people.
Rubio ended his speech by doubling down on the global need for a meddling U.S. policy foreign and the notion that America’s best days are yet to come – that the 21st century will be another American Century just as the last one was.
“I disagree with voices,” he said, “who warn we should heed the words of John Quincy Adams not to go ‘abroad, in search of monsters to destroy.’”
“This is indeed the world America made…. But it can be even better. As Americans we can’t make that happen by ourselves. But the world cannot make it happen without us.”
President Wilson would be proud.