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ICYMI: Rubio Joins Spicer & Co.
Miami, FL — U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) joined Spicer & Co. to discuss the latest on Russia and Ukraine and why he will not be attending this year’s State of the Union address. See below for excerpts and watch the full interview here.
On what the modern era of hybrid warfare looks like:
“We’re in an era of hybrid warfare, which includes the tanks, the rockets, the fighter planes, and all of that. It also includes information overloading websites, overloading social media, and putting out fake narratives. It includes space warfare blinding satellites, impacting their ability to function, as well as guidance systems. It also includes cyber attacks against the economies and/or the military, and electronic attacks which disrupt telecommunications and the internet. We are seeing that happen in Ukraine right now as we speak, most notably in the eastern provinces. All of these elements come into play in this hybrid warfare.
“As far as how prepared we are, this is a nation state. They are spending millions of dollars a year gaining access to sensitive information, and we are as vulnerable as our weakest water department or utility company, and perhaps our banks as well. We are vulnerable now and so is every country in the world, even Russia.
“So I think the question now becomes how quickly can we mitigate against it? How quickly can we identify it and restore it, and how disruptive [does] it become?. What makes cyberwarfare so dangerous is that no one has ever fought a cyberwar. We’ve had cyber skirmishes and cyber attacks but it’s not a precise weapon. So you may think you are shutting down the power grid in some small city in America, but you end up hitting a hospital system or something else. Then the impacts are much greater than you thought they would be, and that begins a cycle of a real nasty escalation that can get real nasty, really fast.”
On how the U.S. would respond to a large-scale cyber attack:
“My concern with this sort of cyber combat is that there comes a point where one of the two sides runs out of options and then they move to kinetic, military action, or going after a satellite in space, which could in turn lead to kinetic action down on earth.
“Suffice it to say that I would imagine that [a cyberattack] would be met with some proportionate response in the same realm. Then that cycle can continue going back and forth for some time, and my concern is that it escalates very rapidly into something much more serious.
“It’s one of those things where I really think we need to think about it very soberly, because it’s a road no one has ever been down. There is no cyber doctrine. We know what happens if you launch an ICBM against the United States. We know what happens if a Russian bomber intrudes on our airspace. No one knows what happens if you inadvertently poison the water system of a small municipality in the United States and 100 people go to the hospital and 20 of them die. I’m not saying that’s going to happen, I’m saying no one knows what happens when you do that and how you respond to it. That doctrine has not been established; there is no understanding about it.”
On how the invasion of Ukraine will impact the U.S. economy:
“This was going to impact us even if we ignored it completely, and part of it is because Joe Biden is waging war on oil and natural gas in the United States…. It has made oil and natural gas from Russia much more valuable. The price of oil and gas goes up, and it’s one of the things that’s contributing to Putin doing what he’s doing right now. By the way, Ukraine doesn’t have a lot of natural gas, but they’ve got the third or fourth largest reserves in all of Europe sitting there, untapped, in the very area that [Putin is] trying to take over right now.
“So I do think it’s going to impact us in terms of energy prices. They are already high. Don’t let the Biden people tell you that Ukraine is the reason why you’re paying $3.75 for a gallon of gas. It may be the reason you’re paying $4.01. We could have prevented some of that if the U.S. were producing oil and natural gas. [Biden is] basically raging war against those industries, by canceling Keystone and not allowing any federal leases or new exploration to go on.
“[The invasion is] going to impact us with food prices too. Ukraine has about 13 to 14 percent of the world’s supply of corn and wheat. That means the people that buy from them, if that’s disrupted, are now our competitors in the marketplace, rais[ing] prices for everybody.
“And as far as the cyber attacks are concerned, [if] there isn’t a price — not a war, but a price — to pay for taking over [another country] well, today it’s Ukraine, but I’m telling you it won’t stop with Ukraine. Iran has claims that they want to pursue that way. Obviously China does, [too].”
On concerns that the Chinese Communist Party will invade Taiwan:
“China is watching [Russia and Ukraine] very closely. Today … there was an inadvertently leaked instruction that the Chinese Communist Party gave to their state official fake media of what they needed to say [regarding the invasion]. And [the Party] told [the media], ‘Be nice to Russia, because one day we are going to need Russia to be nice to us when we are taking on the U.S. over Taiwan.’ So they are watching this very closely….
“I’m concerned because [the Communist Chinese] have more capability, and they are becoming more aggressive. I believe that we will not end this decade without them trying to do something about [Taiwan]. I think their preference is for Taiwan to say, ‘Look what happened to Ukraine and Afghanistan. I don’t care what agreement we have with America or whatever, they’re not going to come to our defense, they’re not going to lose two aircraft carriers over us. We might as well negotiate with China on the best terms we possibly can about how to reunify.’ I think that’s the Chinese preference….
“The problem is, China isn’t going to end just with Taiwan. They also have claims over the South China Sea, which brings them into direct conflict with Japan and the Philippines, and that’s one of the most important shipping lanes in the world. So if they own and control the most important shipping lane in the world, it now means we’re going to have to pay them a toll. Everyone will have to pay China a toll for some of the most important products in the world.
“It reminds us, by the way, that we need to bring manufacturing back to this country. We can no longer be as dependent as we have become on China for things like medicine and telecom and all these high tech industry components. We have become way too dependent on them.”
On the COVID precautions at this year’s State of the Union address:
“It’s an absurd theater — COVID theater — which I think has become a disease of its own. They want you to take a test, wear a K-95 mask, and sit up in the gallery and go through a metal detector. I’m done with all that theater stuff.
“Back in March or April of 2020, we didn’t know a lot about this disease, and we were a lot more careful about it. Now we’ve got vaccines, we’ve got treatments, we know a lot more about it. At some point, we’ve got to end with this stuff.
“It’s just theater, it’s just a game, so you know what, I’ll watch the replays on television. I don’t need to sit there and go through all of that just to make them feel good about how safe they are…. Honestly I’m just tired of all that….”