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ICYMI: Rubio Joins Bob Rose Live
U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) joined Bob Rose Live to discuss the Israel-Hamas war, the Biden Administration’s handling of Iran, and China’s potential threat in the Pacific. See below for highlights and listen to the full interview here.
On how the Biden Administration is handling the Israel-Hamas war:
“The United States has influence, obviously, because we’re the most powerful ally Israel has in the world. [There are] some things I think that the administration’s done well. I’ve actually been pleasantly surprised at the level of commitment. For example, the [commitment] the Secretary of State has shown. Biden, from time to time, will say something about a [ceasefire in the war], but I don’t even think they plan for him to say that. It was in response to a heckler. So, you can’t escape the fact that the guy’s got some issues – he messes up from here or there. But by and large, I think the one area I would probably disagree with him on is I don’t think Iran is deterred from attacking Americans.
“There are now up to 45 attacks against Americans directed by Iran through their proxy groups. I think those attacks are about to speed up. They’re happening at a faster pace already. They’re using more and more sophisticated tactics and weapons. I think it’s going to extend beyond Syria and Iraq. The target being, the US military in places like that, potentially the United Arab Emirates (UAE) or Kuwait, where we have bases that are involved in these counterterrorism operations that we have in the region.
“The only thing that’s going to deter Iran is to make them believe that they are going to personally pay consequences directly, not that we’re going to blow an empty warehouse somewhere. And I understand that there’s a real risk of escalation in doing that, but there’s the guarantee of escalation if we don’t, and if we continue on the pattern that we are on right now – if nothing changes – unfortunately, and sadly, at some point soon, we’re going to lose Americans. Americans are going to die. They almost did a couple of days ago in one of those attacks. So, this is a very serious and delicate situation. This is not Russia invading Ukraine because they want more land. This is existential. The people Israel are fighting against [an effort to] ‘Drive every Jew out of that region from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea.’ They don’t want any Jews there. They don’t just want Israel not there, they don’t want any Jews there, and they’re willing to murder babies to do it. That’s who [Israel] is dealing with. How do you deal with someone like that? How do you reach a peace agreement with someone like that? You can’t coexist with an element terrorist.”
On why the Biden Administration isn’t holding Iran accountable for the attacks:
“First, I think these are the word games they play. In essence, what they’re saying is: we have no evidence that we heard Iran saying to Hamas, ‘Hey, you guys should attack on October 7th using paragliders.’
“On the other hand, I would say that there would be no Hamas without Iranian support. Hamas would not exist and it’s not just Hamas, it’s also Hezbollah. There would be no Hezbollah without Iranian support. There would be no Shia proxy groups in Syria and Iraq firing missiles at us without [Iranian] support. There would be no Houthis launching missiles from Yemen against Israel without Iranian support. Iran wants to create an Islamist regional bloc in which Tehran is at the center. Their plan ultimately is to overthrow the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, overthrow the Kingdom of Qatar, overthrow Bahrain, overthrow all these Gulf kingdoms, including Jordan, and install governments there – that may not be Shia, maybe they’re Sunni – but they are under the influence of the overarching political and religious rule of Ayatollahs in Iran. That is their goal. And to achieve that goal, they’ve got to get rid of the Jews, and they’ve got to drive them out of there. So, they sponsor these groups to do that. They sponsor terrorism to do that, and to target Israel and to target America.
“So, why would they not ascribe responsibility? Because then you have to do something about it. If you say it took them two weeks to say these attacks are coming from Iran, they’ve now begun to say that, but even from before. Why? Because, if you admit that Iran is behind this, then you have to do something about it, like any further negotiations on a nuclear deal or concessions, or freeze the $6 billion, which you are ultimately forced to do. We still haven’t been able to confirm that that actually happened. And you may even have to take some actions directly against Iran. That’s why you don’t do it because then you have to do something about it.”
On the effect the conflict in the Middle East will have on China’s aggressiveness with Taiwan:
“I don’t think there’s any question that we won’t finish this decade without China trying to do something about Taiwan. Their preference is for Taiwan to voluntarily turn themselves to Beijing’s rule, to basically conclude: ‘America’s not going to come to our defense. No one’s going to come to our defense. So, we might as well cave in and do whatever China is asking of us’. That’s their preference. But I think it’s important enough to Xi as in his personal legacy that they are willing to. The fact that now, on a daily basis, they drill not just invading Taiwan, but blowing up US naval assets, including aircraft carriers – they constantly practice that. And it’s not just in the Taiwan Straits, they’re also increasingly aggressive in the South China Sea. They have this dispute now with the Philippines over a small little island that belongs to the Philippines, but the Chinese want it. So, the Philippines has put some military personnel there to plant their flag and needs to resupply them. The Chinese are ramming their boats and blocking them, trying to blockade them so that they can’t feed these people and have to abandon that post.
“They’re getting more aggressive every day. There are three things happening in the world at the same time, and any of the three can spiral into something broader. The combination of the three we have to deal with because they’re going to define the 21st century, but we have to do it in a way that doesn’t overextend us, because we also have priorities here at home, like securing our border. Those three things are what’s happening with China in the Pacific, what is happening with the Putin invasion of Ukraine is relevant to this broader topic for reasons that ranks second in priority, but nonetheless important. And then what’s happening in the Middle East, which we’re all focused on Gaza and Israel, but it’s part of a much broader challenge. And that is that Iran wants to be the dominant regional power, and they want nuclear weapons as their insurance policy. Those three things and how they turn out, are going to define the next 70 to 80 years.”