Last night, Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) joined Shannon Bream’s Fox News show to discuss several hot-button foreign policy matters. In the interview, Rubio encouraged the Trump administration to maintain a tough stance with China and advocated a peaceful transition of power and return to democracy in Venezuela before turning to the escalating tensions in the Middle East which he lays squarely at the feet of Iran.

To the recent statement of Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA) asserting that the Trump administration was responsible for ramping up tensions on pretense, Rubio said this:

I don’t agree with that statement. The…the threats emanating are clear. I’m aware of them. The intelligence justifies it. Here’s…here’s what I would say to you: If, God forbid, tonight or tomorrow, or in the days to come, American forces in this region come under attack by Shia militias, that will be at the direction of Iran. If American forces or American shipping or naval vessels come under attack by the Houthis in Yemen, those are agents of Iran.

And, if we are not postured — if we don’t have sufficient force in the region to deter that or to defend ourselves, and Americans die as a result, then everyone’s going to be in front of these TV cameras asking why the President didn’t do more, based on the intelligence, to prepare our men and women in uniform.

And so, I’m glad he’s doing what he’s doing. It is appropriate. It is 100 percent justified.  And just once — just for once — I wish people wouldn’t do everything through the lens of politics, and understand — this is a President that’s trying to get us out of the Middle East. I don’t always agree with him on that, but he’s trying to get us out of the Middle East. Do you think he would inject us back into the Middle East with more military force unless it was justified?

They’re doing the right thing, I’m glad they’re doing it and every American should be glad they’re doing it because those are our men and women in uniform who deserve to be protected.

Rubio raises a good point: Is it Kaine’s belief (and the belief of other critics of the administration’s recent moves on that front) that Trump has suddenly changed his spots and decided to take a more interventionist approach to the ME? Hasn’t that been one of the key criticisms of Trump? That he’s an isolationist?  See, e.g.:

President Trump’s embrace of isolationism has been a hallmark of his presidency.

It is now at the center of a foreign policy that will remove troops from Syria and cut the U.S. presence in Afghanistan in half. (The Memo: Trump puts isolationism at center stage.)

or:

Donald Trump’s isolationism is a gift to his greatest enemies.

or:

Trump’s neo-isolationism won’t work.

I share Rubio’s wish that people — in particular, our elected leaders — wouldn’t do Every. Stinkin’. Thing. through the lens of politics. But it’s election season (when is it ever not anymore?!) and the notion of practical leadership rather than political theater is, sadly, a rather quaint one.

Catch Rubio’s entire interview below:

 

 

 


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