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ICYMI: Rubio Joins Squawk Box

Mar 1, 2022 | Comunicados de Prensa

Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) joined Squawk Box to discuss the latest on Russia-Ukraine, oil and natural gas production, nuclear energy, and more.  See below for highlights and watch the full interview here.

On the latest measures taken by Russia in their invasion of Ukraine: 

“We have to recognize we have witnessed horrifying things and we’re going to see some really horrifying things over the next few days. Russian forces are now targeting civilian areas. They’re firing with very powerful munitions against areas where children, women, and the elderly are just civilian populations. They’re committing war crimes. Those need to be documented… because the people doing that are going to have to stand up to justice one day. Whether it’s a new Nuremberg type process or what have you, someone’s going to have to answer for this down the road.” 

On Putin’s inability to takeover Ukraine:

“There’s no way Putin wins, there’s no win here. He may defeat the Ukraine military. He may occupy multiple cities in the country, but he’ll never win because he’s going to be faced with one or two choices… either he’s going to have to occupy a country where 40 million people don’t want him there and continue to attack them, or he’s going to get up and leave behind a puppet government, which the Ukrainians will quickly overthrow and never accept. He’s either headed for a quagmire or a puppet government that’s going to get overthrown the minute he’s no longer there. Either way, it’s not a win. 

“We’ve got to continue to impose a price on [Russia] for doing this. This has to be the most expensive adventurism in the modern history of the world, because if it isn’t, he’ll keep doing it. And if it isn’t, other countries will do it as well. The world needs to see, and Putin needs to learn that if he does this kind of thing, the price they will pay is devastating. Some of that’s already happening.” 

On the impact of Russia’s actions on their economy:

“Where is Russia’s economy headed? A week from now, they’re headed to Third World [Country] territory in terms of the damage that they’re suffering. They’re completely isolated. They can’t fly anywhere. They’ve got planes stuck all over the world that can’t even fly. They’ve got massive problems. They’re already paying a very heavy price, so we need to make sure those things are sustained. 

“It’s important, no matter what happens in Ukraine, that there always be a legitimate government, be it in a rump state, or in a part of Ukraine, or in exile, that we recognize and support, and continue to provide logistical support and weapons so that insurgency will continue to inflict damage on the Russians until those occupiers leave.”

On the impact of countries having nuclear weapons:

“What we’re seeing now illustrates and shows us why North Korea has nuclear weapons and why Iran wants them. When you’re a nuclear weapons power, the options that your adversaries have against you are quite limited. If a shooting war between NATO or the United States and Russian troops puts us in World War Three, that’s just the fact. They could deploy tactical nuclear weapons and we would have to respond. [Nuclear weapons are the problem, right?]  That’s why countries want them. That’s the same problem with a no fly zone. It’s heartbreaking to watch. I think the world is trying to do everything it can to support Ukraine in its fight and to punish Russia. This is taking a huge bite out of them.

On how the United States should return to producing more oil and natural gas:

“We can and should …  produce more oil and natural gas. I believe just last week, the president issued an executive order banning building any more LNG terminals to make it harder to export natural gas. Today we’re producing… 1.2-1.3 million barrels of oil less than we were pre-pandemic. These high oil prices, combined with the lifting of these restrictions, would allow there to be greater exploration… 

“The U.S. needs to get back to that point that we were in 2019, 2020 when we were exporting more than we were importing. It would have a net effect on the global economy and the global oil production… That would give us the possibility and the opportunity to be able to do some of the things you’re saying… We cannot continue [importing oil and natural gas.] This is the ultimate leverage on top of two reasons why Putin thinks he can get away with this. Number one is oil and gas, and number two is nuclear weapons. We’ve got to take one of those two away.”

On what he hopes President Biden will talk about at the State of the Union:

“What I’d like to hear, I won’t hear, which is the president announcing that America is going to get back into the business of aggressively producing oil and natural gas then exporting it as well. [I’d like to hear Biden say the United States is] becoming a player in the global market, he’s going to roll back some of these restrictions that they’ve put in place on natural gas, on new exploration in Alaska and in Texas on production, and that our goal is to get back to early 2020, late 2019 production aims and metrics that we were hitting and that we’re going to do that in conjunction with a gradual reduction and ultimate elimination of imports of Russian oil. I’d love to see him say [all of that.] I don’t think he can or will, because the radical left wing of his party would go nuts. They would go bonkers if he did that.”

On how energy leaders around the world are moving away from oil production:

“They’re responding to political pressure, both globally and in the United States… Oil is close to one hundred dollars a barrel right now, so now’s a pretty good time to get back in that business. 

“I have no problem with renewables, carbon capture, or being able to find alternative ways of generating energy. My problem is if you push people [or] push an economy to do that, before the technology to do it catches up, all you’re doing is inflicting pain on your economy. All these things, all the self-flagellation [is what] we’re doing in the West. 

“Meanwhile, China is actively funding coal plants in China and all over the world. Russia is actively and aggressively producing fossil fuels. I have no problem with ultimately finding a way to technologically use less fossil fuels and move away from them as an alternative. That would be fantastic. If someone can figure out how to make a car run on water or whatever, that’d be fantastic.”

On supporting nuclear energy: 

“It can be done safely as we prove every single day in this country and around the world. It’s one of the biggest mistakes some of the countries in Europe have made. They’ve walked away from nuclear energy, which is a clean source of energy. Obviously the issue there is ‘where do you put the waste?’ The truth of the matter is, it is a very clean [and reliable] way to generate energy. It can be done safely as we do every single day in this country, on multiple sites.”

On how the Communist Chinese view Russia’s invasion:

“I would remind the world, [Communist China] is the country that wants to become the most powerful country in the world, and they’re fine with the slaughter, the indiscriminate slaughter, of innocents in Ukraine…. 

“For China, this serves three purposes. The first is, in their mind, they’re going to need Russia to support them one day when they move on Taiwan, [because] they’ve got their own territorial claims. The second is, China is supportive of this idea that we need to have a new global order — not the old global order, but a new one in which great powers like Russia, like China, have spheres of influence where they get to tell their neighbors what to do and make them vassal tributary states. And … the third challenge for China in all this is their own record of what they do to people. I mean, it’s hard for them to talk about the indiscriminate killing of human beings and so forth … when they are putting Uyghur Muslims in work and death camps in their own country…. 

“Look, [the Chinese are] complying with a lot of these sanctions because at the end of the day, they don’t want it to splash back on them. But there’s no doubt that they’re treading very carefully, because they intend to do this one day. This is what they intend to do one day in Taiwan, and when they do, they want to make sure that Russia is supporting them.”

On Donald Trump’s comments regarding Vladimir Putin:

“The problem is that people think Donald Trump is a member of the Council of Foreign Relations. He doesn’t talk like that. He doesn’t talk like some analyst at a think tank. He doesn’t talk like most people in Washington…. I don’t agree with everything he’s ever said about Russia, but right after he said that stuff that people are pointing to, he talked about how we need to impose crushing sanctions.

“I don’t know if it was 2014 or early 2015 that we had a bunch of senators over to the Vice President’s house at that time…. And I remember specifically asking Vice President Biden, ‘Why do we not send defensive weaponry to Ukraine?’ And his answer was, ‘Because we’re afraid they’ll use it and start a bigger and broader conflict.’ 

“The Obama Administration did not fund any sort of weaponry. I remember the Ukrainians used to complain, ‘Stop sending us blankets and MREs. We need … anti-tank missiles and the like.’ The Trump Administration, for everything people want to talk about rhetorically, they did start the arming and equipping of Ukraine, and if it wasn’t for what the Trump Administration did and laid the groundwork for, there is no way Ukraine would still be able to hold out today.”