In an interview with The New York Times Magazine (Jan. 4) Sen. Marco Rubio, Florida Republican, repudiated the non-interventionist foreign policy of President George Washington.
He repudiated the wisdom of President Thomas Jefferson and the unsurpassed political brilliance of James Madison, father of the U.S. Constitution and Jefferson’s successor in the White House. Both understood that wars except in self-defense are the precursors of executive tyranny.
He repudiated the creed of granite-like revolutionary leader Sam Adams that subordinated wealth to liberty.
He proclaimed a foreign policy of global interventionism to install governments devoted to free markets to promote American prosperity, i.e., dollar diplomacy at the head of a bayonet.
Mr. Rubio was asked by the magazine: “Do you think that Rand Paul is on to something with this whole noninterventionist thing? Rubio bowed to the Golden Calf that had vexed God and Moses:
“No. If you have a global economy, you cannot retreat from the world. In South Florida, we have a business that imports fresh-cut flowers from Colombia. Imagine if tomorrow there were a coup in Colombia and they installed some sort of Chavez-style government that expropriated the land where those flowers were grown. They’d be out of business overnight.”
In other words, a President Rubio would initiate war or covert CIA action to overthrow any government of Colombia whose economic policies diminished American jobs. Suppose, for example, Colombia prohibited the export of fresh-cut flowers to lower domestic prices. President Rubio would dispatch the Marines to install a new government to lift the export prohibition.
And President Rubio, in contrast to President Dwight D. Eisenhower, would have invaded Cuba to prevent the ascendency of Fidel Castro to protect American jobs and investments that were thriving under Fulgencia Batista.
Virtually every nation in the world trades with the United States. Aggregate annual exports and imports approximate $5 trillion. President Rubio would commence war to protect every import or export that could be imperiled by statist economic policies — which means warring agaisnt the entire world, including Russia, China, Saudi Arabia, Indi, and Japan. And President Rubio would occupy these countries forever to prevent a Chavez-style government from coming to power.
He would send millions of American troops into every corner of the planet risking that last full measure of devotion to ensure that South Florida importers of fresh-cut flowers or the like have their profits undisturbed. To Mr. Rubio, money is worth fighting for, but liberty is not.
As Alexis de Tocquevillle taught in Democracy in America:
“No protracted war can fail to endanger the freedom of a democratic country … War … must invariably and immeasureably increase the powers of civil government; it must almost compulsorily concentrate the direction of all men and the management of all things in the hands of the administration. If it does not lead to despotism by sudden violence, it prepares men for it more gently by their habits. All those who seek to destroy the liberties of a democratic nation ought to know that war is the surest and shortest means to accomplish it.”
Mr. Rubio is not daft. In the Oval Office, he would soon realize the insane, suicidal implications of his dollar diplomacy at the head of a bayonet. He would renounce or recast his foreign policy. But the mere fact that he would rebut Rand Paul’s non-interventionism pivoting on Washington, Jefferson, Madison and Adams with such drivel unsuits him for the White House. War is too important to be left to the immature and unschooled.
Mr. Rubio’s unfitness for the presidency is furher underscored by his version of then-presidential candidate John Kerry’s infamous flip-flop: “I actually did vote for the $87 billion [for the Iraq War] before I voted against it.”
Mr. Rubio recently appeared on Fox News to denounce President Obama’s amatuerish strategy to degrade and defeat the Islamic State without U.S. ground troops:
“This is what happens when your decisions on foreign policy are driven by politics. You cannot defeat an army on the ground simply from the air. And to put all your eggs in the basket of hoping that local ground forces will be able to do the job was a deeply flawed strategy from the beginning.”
But one month earlier Mr. Rubio touted Mr. Obama’s strategy as a carbon copy of his own in voting to arm Syrian rebels. He characterized the strategy as identical to the plan “that I called for three months ago.”
In sum, Mr. Rubio was for Mr. Obama’s strategy, i.e., Mr. Rubio’s, before he was against what he had championed.
War strategies like Mr. Rubio’s that change like a human weather vane are doomed to fail.
We cannot afford a Republican John Kerry running for the White House.
For more information about Bruce Fein, please visit www.brucefeinlaw.com.