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ICYMI: In TV Interviews, Senator Rubio Outlines His Views On America’s Role In The World

Sep 15, 2011 | Press Releases

Washington, D.C. – On the heels of a foreign policy speech that Senator Joseph Lieberman hailed as “lucid and visionary”, Senator Marco Rubio spoke with the BBC’s Katty Kay and FOX New’s Channel’s Greta Van Susteren about America’s role in the world.  Below are the transcripts of these interviews:

Senator Marco Rubio
Interview with BBC’s Katty Kay
September 14, 2011

Kay: “Senator Rubio, you’ve been giving a series of speeches on America’s role in the world as you see it. Last night in North Carolina, you said if we refuse to play our rightful role and shrink from the world, America and the entire world will pay a terrible price. But do Americans really want to be engaged in the world right now?”

Rubio: “Well, I think Americans are very concerned about what’s happening here at home. And the natural reaction to that ,when you’re having a tough economic time, is to say, ‘Let’s just worry about our issues and let everybody take care of their own issues.’ The problem is, when you are a nation as large as the United States, with economic interests as broad as we do, there is little that happens around the world that doesn’t influence us. Here at home, we’re seeing where some of the turmoil economically in Europe is affecting us, and vice versa by the way. And so even if we wanted to, the truth is that issues and events that do happen halfway around the world directly impact the daily lives of Americans. And so we have to care about what is happening all over the world.”

Kay: “But caring is one thing. Being involved is another. And after the legacies of the expensive wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, many people, particularly in your own Republican party, are saying that’s enough. We have to bring the troops home, we have to bring the money home. We have to focus here at home.”

Rubio: “Well, we can’t solve every problem, that’s true. And no nation in the history of the world could solve every problem, nor should they. And there are things, that no matter how much we would like to be a part of solving, we are not going be able to. But there are times where we can make a difference economically, diplomatically, and as the last resort, if there are no better options available, militarily. And so I think that’s important. We have to be judicious, and we have to be careful about picking our spots, where to get engaged and where not to get engaged. But on the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks here in America, we’re reminded that the origins of those plans began in caves in the Hindu Kush. And if an area as remote as that could directly impact our lives the way it did, there’s no region of the world that we should not be concerned about.”

Kay: “Senator Rubio, you have also criticized cuts to the military budget, to the U.S. defense budget. But if America is going to balance its budget in the long run, there will have to be hard decisions made. And there will have to be, won’t there, cuts to the U.S. defense budget?”

Rubio: “Well, a couple of things. The first is over half of our budget deficit problem is driven by our entitlement programs. And those are the drivers of our debt in the United States. We’re always in favor of efficiencies. Why would you want any waste or duplication of effort in your military budgets? On the other hand, the kinds of cuts being talked about would endanger our national security and our ability to defend ourselves and our allies. There’s already been around $300 billion of cuts that have been approved or discussed. If nothing happens with the super debt committee, it could reach a trillion dollars, which would be devastating. So I think we have to always be on the lookout for ways to save money and certainly never want to waste it. But on the other hand, we have to understand that our defense spending is not the driver of national debt and that these significant kinds of cuts that people are talking about in the trillions would be devastating to our national defense.”

Senator Marco Rubio
Interview with FOX’s Greta Van Susteren
September 14, 2011

Van Susteren: “You gave a speech on America’s role in the world. How do you perceive it?”

Rubio: “I think it is an important role. And I don’t think there is a substitute for America. We can’t solve every problem in the world. But there are very few parts in the world that what is happening there will ultimately impact us. One example, look at what’s happening in Europe.  The economic crisis that’s happening in Europe is having a direct impact on our economy here at home. So I think we have to care about what’s happening in the world, and in those places where we can make a difference, we should try to if it is in our national interest to do so.”

Van Susteren: “Alright, some things that we really care about, like we really care about what is going on with Europe and its economic state. Is there anything we can do? We are kind of just sitting there watching and hoping.”

Rubio: “There’s not a lot we can do about Europe in terms of their economic crisis.  That’s based on some of the decisions they made with regards to government spending, similar to the ones we made here in this country as well.

“On the other hand, the whole conflict in Libya is an example of something that could have impacted Europe even worse. It’s the reason why England and France took such an interest in what was happening there. A significant amount of the oil and energy supply in Europe comes from Libya. And so a disruption in Libya, a significant long term disruption could have a dramatic economic impact among our strongest allies there in Europe, which ultimately would reflect back on America. So that’s just one example of how things half-way around the world ultimately impact our daily lives here in this country.”

Van Susteren: “One foreign policy issue that’s enormously important to all of America, especially to Jewish-Americans, is the whole issue of Israel. The Palestinians are going to go to the UN to ask to be recognized, ask for statehood that has created an enormous problem in terms of how we handle through our friends.  And what do we do?  Your suggestions?”

Rubio: “One of the things I’ve tried to do is engage with some of the leaders in the western hemisphere and Latin America and asked those countries, and I’ve written letters to some of their presidents, and asked them not to vote for this. I think it sets the peace process back. The key is to have a Jewish state and for the Palestinians to recognize the right of a Jewish state; that Israel is a Jewish state and has the right has a right to exist as such. I think that’s where the peace process starting point needs to be.

“And I think a vote by the UN could set us back in that regard at a time when Israel is already surrounded by tremendous uncertainty. We saw events in Cairo last week, we watched what’s happening in Syria, the uncertainty about what is going to come next in Egypt.  Jordan has its challenges. Iran continues to move forward with their nuclear ambitions. All of these things combined are putting Israel in a difficult position which makes it harder than ever to reach that settlement that I think everyone, including the Israelis, would like to have. I hope that at least our allies and our friends in the western hemisphere will join the United States in voting against that sort of measure.”

Van Susteren: “It’s not going to happen. It looks like the vote will go through. Now the Security Council may veto it, but it going to go through. So now what?”

Rubio: “Ultimately, it is going to be vetoed by the United States and the Security Council, and it won’t go into play. The psychological impact can be significant. I don’t want to overplay it at the end of the day, but I do think it is a step back, and I think it makes peace in the region harder to achieve, not easier.  But I’m not giving up on some of these countries. Our allies in Mexico, Jamaica, these are small countries, but I hope we can get them on our side. Colombia, nations we hope will vote with us and we hope to recruit others to the cause as well.”