Marco Rubio: American Global Leadership 'Missing'

By: Kenric Ward | Posted: September 14, 2011 3:55 AM
Marco Rubio

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio | Credit: Mark Foley - myfloridahouse.gov

Declaring that "the world will pay a terrible price" if America does not actively champion the cause of freedom through moral and, if necessary, military strength, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio said the country is at a historic crossroads.

Delivering his first foreign-policy address, the Miami Republican on Tuesday discussed "America's Role in the World" at the Jesse Helms Lecture Series at Wingate University in North Carolina.

Speaking two days after the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Rubio said, "States that do not respect the rights of their citizens seldom respect the rights of their neighbors. They become breeding grounds for all sorts of ills -- from the trafficking of humans and drugs to contagious disease and famine, from nuclear proliferation to terrorism -- that threaten our own security.

"I applaud President Obama for ordering the gutsy raid that finally brought Osama bin Laden to his just fate. I applaud the president, too, for his stirring words in support of reformers in the Middle East," Rubio said.

But, he added, "I only wish he had shown more commitment to the cause of freedom. He has been so slow and hesitant that we have missed some significant opportunities to alter the strategic landscape in America’s favor. And the president’s failure to lead has served to magnify the damage done to U.S. interests."

Rubio said he was "concerned that President Obama may let this historic moment pass."

"I am glad that the president is trying to bring our allies along with us. But they would be the first to tell you that nothing important or difficult happens without American leadership. Unfortunately, that leadership has been missing at critical junctures during the last few years," the freshman senator said.

Speaking from the same stage that has hosted global figures ranging from former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher to the Dali Lama, Rubio praised the late Sen. Jesse Helms, a staunch North Carolina conservative.

"He was relentless and unswerving in his application of conservative values. He was an important champion of freedom fighters," the senator recalled.

Applauding the Morality in Foreign Policy plank that Helms and Ronald Reagan installed into a GOP platform three decades ago, Rubio sought to honor and reconnect that moral nexis.

"The American armed forces have been the greatest force for good in the world during the past century. They stopped Nazism and communism and other evils such as Serbian ethnic-cleansing. They have birthed democracies from Germany to Iraq. They have delivered relief supplies, and performed countless other tasks in service to our nation.

"All they have ever asked in return is that we provide them the tools to get the job done -- and that we look after them and their families.

"They have never failed us in our time of need. We must not fail them now. We must maintain a strong national defense," the senator said, noting that U.S. defense spending, roughly 20 percent of the U.S. budget, totals less than half the outlays expended on entitlement programs annually.

Rubio went on to warn:

"If we refuse to play our rightful role and shrink from the world, America and the entire world will pay a terrible price. And it is our responsibility to clearly outline to the American people what our proper role in the world is and what American interests are at stake when we engage abroad.

"We do not seek to impose our vision of government," Rubio noted. "We do not insist that every nation must have a presidency, a supreme court and bicameral legislature. Nor do we have any intention of using force to depose every despotic regime on the planet.

"But we must do what we can to champion the cause of freedom -- not only with the power of our example but also with our money and resources, our ingenuity, our diplomacy, and on rare occasion, when there is no good alternative and when our national interest is clearly at stake, our armed might."

Turning to South America, the son of Cuban immigrants said "a combination of narco-trafficking networks, anti-American strongmen and the increasing penetration of Iranian influence is raising dangers of a special kind.

"Individuals like Hugo Chavez, who has no business running anything in the first place, much less a country, have worked strenuously to build a bloc of countries to work against U.S. interests -- and at great risk to great friends like Colombia.

"Unfortunately, the president has missed easy opportunities to stand with our allies, for instance through free-trade agreements. We cannot continue to ignore or be complacent about Latin America, nor can we relegate our friends in the region to be anything less than high-priority partnerships for us to continue nurturing."

Concluding, Rubio said, "After all, the security of our democratic society depends on the success of liberty in our own hemisphere."

In a question-and-answer session after his 30-minute speech, Rubio:
  • Dismissed the notion that greater commercial and cultural engagement with Cuba will change that country's regime. "The only people believing in the romantic notion that Cuba is working are journalists and professors," he said. Pumping more currency into the country "actually sets back the cause of freedom by giving more power to the dictators. ... The repression has gotten worse."
  • Said "American exceptionalism" is not threatened by the rise of other nations yearning for freedom and democracy. "We are desperately looking for willing partners."
  • Called for reform at the United Nations. "It's still a Cold War entity. ... If you're waiting for the U.N. to defend the rights of the Jewish state in Israel, you'll be waiting a long time."

Contact Kenric Ward at kward@sunshinestatenews.com or at (772) 559-4719.

Comments (12)

11:31PM SEP 14TH 2011
Mr Rubio, global "leaders" and neocon "national builders" are an alloy dime a dozen. If you are so intent in keeping our young men and women in perpetual wars for the benefit of the international corporations and spending our future generations' earnings, put your money and your blood where your mouth is. Join the Marines or the Army where you can lead the charge of the "boots on the ground". You have not spent one minute in the military - yet you are willing to sacrifice the lives of your peers and their children.

If the members of Congress and the POTUS were required to send their own children to the front line of every undeclared war for which they approve funding, we would have had very few wars. If your global leadership goal is so important, you should be willing to sacrifice your own life and the lives of your own offspring. Until then, I will call you out as a war mongering coward.
Lea Helms
12:20PM SEP 14TH 2011
Senator Rubio, I feel the same as you do on this subject, and I will stand with you in hopes that we can bring our country back to the Land we Love and Home of the Brave.

I am so proud of you keep up the good work.
11:48AM SEP 14TH 2011
I am begging for just one moment of your time for this great country. My desperate question is why did the republican candidates permit a liberal to officiate a republican debate? This has set the stage for using dialog of Social Security being a ponsi scheme for the republican election platform. I shuddered in 2008 when they controlled the republican platform’s dialog. We are awake and have known for years that it is a ponsi scheme and we are mandated to pay into it. Any event you can’t cancel it now with today’s economy so what’s the benefit of using rare presidential republican debate time? I would have loved for someone to turn around and say Social Security won’t change the game now so let’s discuss what will. Do you know what the president is doing through the EPA? How do you like $4.00 a gallon gas? Obama personally taunted the solar company Solyndra the future $100,000.00 jobs for America. This solar company who got half a billion tax dollars just a few months ago has just filed for bankruptcy? Why is he spreading hatred for this county? Ladies and gentlemen let’s talk about what Obama has done, is doing and where we are. What will fix America’s real issues?
Robert Lloyd
8:39AM SEP 14TH 2011
This is the scariest neo-con I have run across yet. He epitomizes the greatest evil in our culture and gov't yet... the uncontrolled and total intervention (including military) in other nations throughout the world.

Now he is this young, handsome, Hispanic 'NEO'- conservative (nothing conservative about him) and people are going to bite hook, line and sinker, and get this world deeper into this globalist thinking when we in fact have NO RIGHT to interfere in other countries sovereignty.

Like the Southern bumper sticker states (sporting a Battle Flag): 'Fighting terrorism since 1861.'
11:14AM SEP 14TH 2011
Keep studying them bumper stickers .Your entire philosophy is based on them.
9:07AM SEP 14TH 2011
And you know Senator Rubio how well?
You are calling him pretty harsh names. But unless you know the man I would refrain from disparaging him or his great love for America.
8:11AM SEP 14TH 2011
Marco Rubio has a rare grasp of true essentials of global leadership. Maybe it is because he is the son of parents who can attest to the "dangers of communism and dictatorship." He has emphatically made a point in the need to "not turn inward." I believe the only thing standing between America and her return are the same Republican "leaders" who backed Charlie Crist in the Florida Senatorial race. They talked about Crist's electability. They pretty much tossed Marco on the garbage heap; with a few kind words of course! In private circles these same "leaders" said that he was "too extreme." But their "inside the beltway compass" was wrong! We know what happened. Now, they are saying the same about Governor Mitt Romney. These "experts" are concluding that he is the "most electable" option and the Republican's best chance to defeat Barack Obama. They would love to entice Marco Rubio to be Romney's running mate. But, in a Romney administration, Rubio would be as relevant as Lyndon Johnson was in Kennedy's Adminstration. Romney is "Mr. Wall Street." He is part of the "inner circle of Ivy League elites that includes Barack Obama.." He is another Harvard Lawyer who was born a millionaire and hails from an affluent political family. In short, he is more of the same. Marco's not part of the club! He would be "window dressing" in a Romney Administration. However, in a Perry Administration, he would be a decisive partner making a true impact in America. It would be a new America where the middle class finally took the reins from "Americas ruling class." We would see a return to states rights. We would see less Washington control and more invididual freedom. We would finally "shed the shackles" of Washington micro-management. Many Americans don't understand the true beauties of the 10th amendment. But it translates to a change in the status quo. It will destroy a system of networks and contacts that have facilitated waste and corruption.
8:07AM SEP 14TH 2011
"They become breeding grounds for all sorts of ills -- from the trafficking of humans and drugs to contagious disease and famine, from nuclear proliferation to terrorism -- that threaten our own security."

Mr. Rubio,
Over population also causes those things. One way to change that peaceably and most affordably is to make sure we continue to provide aid in the form of contraceptives to women throughout the world. The better chance they have of planning their families, the more likely their children will receive some sort of education. (And the less likely, those children will be sold, traded, or abandoned and easy recruits.) Among other things...
7:53AM SEP 14TH 2011
This is the mentality that has brought our own nation's economic freedom to being enslaved to the banksters and the international corporations. We have been engaged in "kinetic military actions" (doublespeak for preemptive wars killing innocent people) since World War II. NOT one of these actions was a declared war by our Congress. And, the vast majority our Congress members have never seen live upfront military action outside of the movies and tv. This includes the new war monger, Marco Rubio.

1. We cannot afford to continue to be the world's police force and foot the bill. It is time we stop securing the natural resources in nations that the international corporations want. If they want the oil/gold/etc, let them hire mercenaries to do the deadly work - not our young men and women, with us passing the bill to our future generations.

2. If you were really for the freedoms of the enslaved nations, WHY haven't you complained about Darfur. The silence is deafening. Darfur has NO natural resources of value. How transparent you are, Mr Rubio!

3. If the US taxpayers weren't footing the bill for our Congress members, State Dept and Pentagon to offer foreign aid to the suppressing despots in the form of weapons (usually crowd-control weapons) along with cash bribes to these despots, the citizens of those nations would be able to revolt against their dictators and achieve the desired freedoms for themselves. But, it is more important to have the despots allow our international corps to have unfettered access to their natural resources - by keeping the money earned in the hands of the despots and NOT the people.

If Rubio wants to be the "free" leader of the world, let him set up his own mercenary company with his own (and his war mongering corporate backers) money. Hire your own killing squad. My children are NOT expendable.

Nation Building is deadly to the citizens of the world.
Robert Lloyd
8:51AM SEP 14TH 2011
Disenchanted, I support your posting here. I would hesitate of course to encourage the globalists with the international corporations to field mercenaries whenever or wherever they choose. They are actually an enemy of the people whether American or other and even beyond this American gov't.

And then one more point: Who are the majority of these 'people' that control the international corporations? Who are these people? Are they unmentionable? You bet they are. And most anyone reading this post is scared to even imagine who these people are. Go put your head back in the sand.
1:41AM SEP 15TH 2011
That is why they remain in the shadows and we only see their frontmen. It appears that Rubio has now been chosen to be what Crist wanted to become. (Talk about buyer's remorse; I should have voted for Meeks. This guy is more dangerous than Obama. They both are puppets for the corporate crony capitalists.)

If the globalists had to fund their own wars, they, too, would be broke since they have been using the free world nations' taxpayers to fund their activities along with the CIA, MI6 and Mossad to do most of their dirty deeds. Plus there might actually be a free-world nation leader who would see them as the provocateurs and put an end to their games.

So far, it looks like only the Icelanders have enough backbone to fight the globalists.
David Lane
8:48AM SEP 14TH 2011
Rubio is talking about continuing to maintain a strong military-industrial complex, is in favor of "not bringing the troops home" and entering battle in more places all over the world including Latin America. This pace had been reinstigated by George Bush and this has added to our country's mess. There is a great deal of merit realizing that now is the time to refocus on the problems we have right here in our homeland. Rubio's thinking is dangerous to our safety. Rubio will fail if he keeps up with this.

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