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ICYMI: Rubio Joins Point of View
U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) joined Point of View to discuss the pitfalls of the post-Cold War consensus, the constancy of human nature, and more. See below for highlights and listen here.
On the pitfalls of the post-Cold War consensus:
“At the end of the Cold War, which was my coming of age – my first year in college, last year of high school – there was hubris: ‘Okay, the Cold War is over, Soviet Marxism has been defeated, and the whole world is now going to become a democracy, and the world is going to be governed not so much by nation-state interests, but by economic interests. We’re all going to be consumers in this global economy, and no countries are going to go to war with each other, because they’re going to be too busy trading.’ That was the assumption.
“What happened in both parties is we started making decisions that benefited that system at the expense of the national interest. We stopped making decisions on what was good for America. Instead, we started making decisions on what was good for the global economy, with the argument that that would benefit America. But that’s not the way it played out. What ended up happening is we de-industrialized America. We sent factories, we sent jobs [overseas]. We told people not to worry because that meant cheaper goods, and there would be better jobs replacing the old jobs. That didn’t happen.
“That had two impacts. The first impact it had was on society. Without good-paying jobs for people that don’t have a college degree, you can’t sustain strong communities, strong families. You can’t have marriage. Work is more than just about a paycheck. It’s about dignity and all the things that come with it, and [it’s about] man’s need to work. Our manufacturer programmed that into our software. We are meant to work. And when you take that away, it’s very corrosive, and it destroys community, family, the places where we live, the glue that holds any society together.
“The second thing it did is it empowered China. China’s become an industrial power, and we find ourselves now heavily dependent on them for all sorts of essentials, from the active ingredients in generic medicines – very key medicines – to the rare earth minerals that they provide the majority of the world’s sourcing of. Without those minerals, you can’t have electric batteries, you can’t have some of the software and technology that we have.
“It’s a very precarious situation to be in. It’s going to require us to readjust, both from a national security perspective and from a societal perspective. If we’re not an economy that isn’t just creating wealth and is also creating good-paying jobs, we’re going to be in a lot of trouble. We’re not going to be able to sustain family and community, which is what is the fiber of a country.”
On human nature and needing to belong to something:
“One thing that’s pretty constant is human nature. It’s why biblical stories that date back 5,500 years are so interesting. These things continue to repeat themselves, and we can identify with those stories, even though they happened a long time ago in a very different culture, because technology changes, habits change, but what doesn’t change is human nature.
“Part of human nature is the need to belong. It’s programmed in us. Any time you put people anywhere, they immediately want to belong to something. One of the things they belong to is a nation. We thought: ‘Nationhood is over. At this point, what’s important is policies that are good for the global economy or the international order.’ But China didn’t get that memo, and Russia didn’t get that memo, and Iran didn’t get that memo, and North Korea didn’t get that memo. Many countries didn’t. They’ve been operating in their national interest. And we’ve been operating in the interest of [the global order].”
On the primacy of national interest:
“I spend a lot of time on international issues. But I think when we make decisions about what we’re going to do in the world, it should be with one primary goal, and that is to serve the national interest, because we are the only government on the planet that has any interest or will have any interest in serving the national interest of the United States of America. That always has to be first and foremost on our minds. Oftentimes that’s not detrimental to the rest of the world. Sometimes it forces us to make some pretty pragmatic decisions. It’s not so much about being inward-focused as it is saying: ‘My number one job is to do things that are good for. America and Americans. That’s how we should approach everything we do, not just domestic policy, but international policy.’”
On what cause there is for optimism about America’s future:
“I’m not a pessimist, but I am realistic about our challenges, and I’m incredibly optimistic about America’s future so long as we are focused on the right things. I think it’s always important to understand there’s never been an era in human history in which there weren’t problems. The difference is today, those problems are captured on a phone video, and you have a news media that makes its money off them. Ratings are driven by scandals. So it looks like the end of the world.
“I saw a video today of a naked woman on a highway firing a gun at cars. I don’t know if that’s the first time that’s ever happened, but if that occurred 20 years ago, we might have read about it, but we wouldn’t have seen it. Now that stuff is out there. You get bombarded with these messages. I think that’s important.
“I think the second thing to remind people is that 99 percent of what’s going to happen to you in your life is the result of what’s happening inside of the walls of your home and in the circle of your community and family and friends. It has nothing to do with Washington. It has nothing to do even with City Hall, in many cases. We’ve over-politicized things. We’ve elevated politics into a sort of a god. [Politics] is very important, and the decisions we make in politics are very important. But I would argue the most important house in America is not the White House. It’s your house. And if things there aren’t going well – or you don’t have the right structure and the right support there – [there is not] a president or a senator or a governor or a mayor in the world that can help you.”