- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Sen. Marco Rubio continues to perfect his presidential posture, delivering a major policy speech at the Council on Foreign Relations on Wednesday night, revealing the three “pillars” of his ideal doctrine: A strong America, the protection of the U.S. economy on a global stage and the moral clarity of the nation. Mr. Rubio also alluded to the bywords of the Reagan era, when the simple motto “peace through strength” sustained the U.S. through the Cold War.

“American strength. This is an idea that stems from a simple truth: the world is at its safest when America is at its strongest. When America has the mightiest Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, and intelligence community in the world, the result is more peace, not more conflict,” Mr. Rubio told his audience Wednesday afternoon. “To ensure our strength never falters, we must always plan ahead. It takes forethought to design and many years to build the capabilities we may need at a moment’s notice. So to restore American strength, my first priority will be to adequately fund our military. This would be a priority even in times of peace and stability, though the world today is neither peaceful nor stable.”

All that aside, Mr. Rubio has attracted some strength of the cash kind. Larry Ellison, the billionaire founder of Oracle, will host a fundraiser for Mr. Rubio in his California mansion on June 9. And then there’s Norman Braman, a Miami-based billionaire and businessman with a strong interest in the welfare of Israel. According to multiple press reports, he is prepared to offer $10 million to back the Florida Republican. And one another factor: Las Vegas billionaire Sheldon Adelson, who spent a reported $100 million on the 2012 presidential election, has called Mr. Rubio “the future of the Republican party.”


Will he or won’t he?  Did he or didn’t he?

The run-up and the buzz was notable for John Bolton on Thursday, when he shared his decision on whether he’d run for president. The answer: No. Mr. Bolton is staying out of an already crowded field of Republicans, and instead will continue to draw attention to national security candidates around the nation who believe in a strong defense, and a sizable American footprint on the global stage.

“Over the past months Bolton has spoken with voters in Des Moines, Columbia, Greenville, Nashua, Manchester, and great cities across America. Just last week Bolton spoke at the South Carolina Freedom Summit, and today he is in Iowa meeting with key stakeholders. It’s become clear that voters understand the most important challenge facing our next president is keeping America safe, and national security is now a top issue in most polls,” a source declares.


Scott McEwen was the co-author with the late Chris Kyle of “American Sniper,” the best selling book that became an Oscar-winning film directed by Clint Eastwood. But Mr. McEwen is not done yet. Now in bookstores, it’s “The Sniper and the Wolf,” a novel — and part of a fictional series titled “Sniper Elite,” which adapts real stories of American warriors into what the trade calls military thrillers. The genre is pretty ferocious.

“Members of the Riyad us-Saliheyn Martyrs’ Brigade are smuggling a Russian RA-115 suitcase nuke through a tunnel underneath the border between Mexico and the U.S.,” publisher Simon & Schuster advises. “The mission doesn’t go as planned, and the American government learns that another RA-115 is already somewhere within the country. The CIA turns for help to Navy SEAL Gil Shannon, recently pulled out of retirement.”

Mr. McEwen, a California trial attorney, takes care with his craft.

“It is important in writing about a ‘character’ such as a Gil Shannon — SEAL Team VI Sniper — that one brings as much reality as possible into the world in which the sniper must operate. My job is to immerse the audience in that world, and the totality of the training, emotions, fears and skill set necessary to survive and accomplish the mission. For example, every weapon system (rifle model, caliber and load-out) that a sniper may choose to accomplish his/her mission has its inherent pros and cons, including accurate distance, weight, portability, range and ammunition,” Mr. McEwen tells Inside the Beltway.

“Given the typical lack of back-up for a sniper, it is crucial that the operator choose correctly at the beginning of the mission what he/she best estimates it will take to accomplish the same. It is one thing to get to the target zone, it is another entirely to get home. As with most things in life, the reader must understand that the devil is in the details. With snipers, the details spell the difference between life and death,” the author observes.

And that’s how it’s done. And yes, Sony Pictures has picked up the Sniper Elite series in a movie deal.


“Congressional job approval, currently at 19 percent, remains stuck near historical lows, despite a number of recent high-profile legislative achievements,” reports Gallup analyst Andrew Dugan. And the partisan side of things: 21 percent of Republican, 18 percent of independents and 18 percent of Democrats approve of the way Congress is handling its job.

“If Congress continues passing bipartisan legislation, more Americans might soften their stance. Still, it may be that Americans are largely not aware of or impressed by Congress’ recent legislative successes,” Mr. Dugan notes. “Or it may be that the hit to Congress’ reputation over the last several years — evident not only in dismal job approval ratings, but also falling levels of trust and confidence — will take a long time to reverse.”


Diplomacy takes unusual forms at times. Over a year ago, Secretary of State John F. Kerry presented Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov a pair of behemoth potatoes from Idaho when the two met in Paris to parse out the Syria crisis. Well, OK. But when the pair met Tuesday in Sochi, former site of the Russian Olympics, Mr. Lavrov toted along two baskets. One was filled with big Russian potatoes, the other with big Russian tomatoes, which he presented to his American counterpart. Wait, what? The global press wondered if the two nations were warming to one another.

Mr. Kerry had already explained that the gift of his Idaho spuds had “no hidden meaning. There’s no metaphor, there’s no symbolic anything.” He just figured the Russian diplomat would enjoy a good potato or two. Ah, but wait. Mr. Lavrov later admitted he’d sent the potatoes off to be studied by a few interested parties near Krasnodar, a city in western Russia.

Potatoes and tomatoes, however, became social media stars — and the potatoes in particular were on their own mission.

“Tantalisingly, Maria Zakharova, the Russian official who posted the Sochi pictures on Facebook on Tuesday, said the foreign minister’s potatoes for Mr. Kerry were indeed from Krasnodar,” reports Tom Parfitt, the Daily Telegraph’s Moscow correspondent. “They were, she said, distant relatives of those that his U.S. counterpart once brought him.”


66 percent of Americans say it is important to keep industrial jobs in the U.S., even if it means higher prices; 66 percent of Republicans, 65 percent of independents and 68 percent of Democrats agree.

46 percent overall say free trade between the U.S. and other nations has been good for the country; 50 percent of Republicans, 40 percent of independents and 49 percent of Democrats agree.

43 percent overall say that markets “should be left alone as much as possible,” though some government regulation is necessary; 60 percent of Republicans, 43 percent of independents and 31 percent of Democrats agree.

21 percent say the government should play “a significant but secondary role”; 11 percent of Republicans, 20 percent of independents and 30 percent of Democrats agree.

11 percent say the government should play a leading role; 5 percent of Republicans, 8 percent of independents and 21 percent of Democrats agree.

11 percent say the markets should be left entirely alone; 13 percent of Republicans, 12 percent of independents and 7 percent of Democrats agree.

Source: A YouGov poll of 997 U.S. adults conducted May 10-11.

Moody laments, snappy aphorisms to jharper@washingtontimes.com.

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