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ICYMI: Rubio Joins The Erick Erickson Show
Washington D.C. — U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) joined The Erick Erickson Show to discuss the latest on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the importance of the United States’ concern for Ukraine, and the importance of domestic oil production. See below for highlights and listen to the full interview here.
On Senator Rubio’s real time reporting on the war in Ukraine:
“I think what’s important as a policymaker is to explain to the American people why this should matter to us. Because frankly, a few weeks ago, there were a lot of people asking, ‘Why do we care whether [Putin] invades Ukraine or not? What is it going to mean to us? Why does it matter when we have so many problems here in our own country?’ I think … we have an obligation to explain to people why it matters, and to describe what’s happening in real time to them. I intend to continue to do that.”
On the importance of securing the United States’ southern border:
“I agree that we need to secure our southern border, and that means enforcing our laws. I don’t believe America should deploy a single one of our ICE or border agents to Ukraine, Europe, or anywhere else. We can do [secure our own border,] and we should do that. The Biden Administration not doing that is inexcusable.”
On why the war in Ukraine matters to Americans:
“Whether we like it or not, a lot of the global economy is interconnected. Ukraine is a massive wheat producer. [The United States] doesn’t buy from them, but they produce 14 percent of the world’s wheat. Obviously, there’s not going to be a lot of Ukrainian wheat coming out anytime soon. That’s going to have a ripple effect in places like Egypt, Yemen, and in other parts of the world. It’s going to create instability in different parts of the world [that will] to start to impact America’s interests.
“Anytime there’s a war going on anywhere in the world, particularly [if it’s occurring near shipping lanes,] you’re going to see a bunch of container ships [rerouting to avoid paying higher prices.] We already have all kinds of delays in shipping, which has screwed up supply chains and contributed to inflation. So that’s a factor.
“Any time a major oil producing country, like Russia, is engaged in active hostilities, it’s going to have an impact on global oil supplies and the cost of a barrel of oil, which will raise not just the cost of gas in America, but the cost of everything.
“The second reason to care about [the war in Ukraine] is we’ve got a big-time war going on within very close proximity of deployed NATO forces. We have an alliance in NATO that if one of the countries in NATO is attacked, suddenly we find ourselves at war with Russia, basically World War Three…”
On what the war in Ukraine means for the global order:
“The last 30 years have been sort of an aberration [in history]. The history of man, 5,500 years of recorded history, has been the history of the powerful being very tempted to force their weaker neighbors to live under their demand and control. In many ways, Western civilization in America, in particular through our principles of individual liberty and our tools like democracy, limited government, and a judicial system based on equality under the law, [constrains] what we know to be human nature.
“The one thing that never changes is human nature. Technology changes, the economy changes, but human nature does not change. Western civilization, America in particular, is a way to curb that.
“What Russia and China are now saying is, ‘We are powerful enough now to go back to the old world where we can decide that something belongs to us and we’re going to take it no matter what. For you to do anything with those people, you’ve got to get our permission.’ That’s what Russia is arguing in Eastern Europe. That’s what China is arguing in the Pacific, Taiwan, [and] the South China Sea. In some ways, it’s what Iran is arguing in the Middle East, and it’s why they want a nuclear weapon.”
On the refusal of allies in the Middle East to condemn Russia:
“I think it’s a mistake for the Saudis and the UAE to cut America off that way because they don’t like Joe Biden, and I hope they’ll reconsider.
“My guess is that they’re probably sitting there, saying, ‘When Iran attacks us … and tries to kill Saudi government leaders through launches that the Houthis do on their behalf, all we hear from you guys is … to exercise restraint. But now that Russia is acting against a European country and your interest there, you want us to speak up and be vocal about it. It’s just not going to work that way.’ At least that’s what their argument would be.
“I would also imagine that they’re pretty upset that this administration is trying to ram through a deal with Iran that won’t just give a pathway for them to ultimately become a nuclear weapons power — because that’s what the ultimate conclusion of this deal becomes five, eight, 10 years down the road — [but] also allows all kinds of Iranian oil to enter the marketplace and become their competitor. I think they’re arguing, ‘We’ve got an enemy in Iran that’s as important to us as Russia might be to you, but you don’t seem to want to help us with that one. So why should we help you with yours?’ That’s my guess about what their attitude is right now towards this administration.”
On Vladimir Putin’s mental state and motivations:
“I think anything about his neurological health is all just speculation. In the end, that’s not something that I have any background [in] to give you an opinion on.
“I do think he’s a different Vladimir Putin for a different reason. He’s … 70 years old this year, so he doesn’t have forever. He views his legacy, his place in history, as one of the great leaders in Russian history, out there with Peter the Great [and] Catherine the Great. And all the great Russian leaders have expanded [Russia’s] territories. What’s his view? ‘I rescued Russia from the 90s disaster, and I restored us as a great global power.’ Well, Russia can’t be a great global power unless Belarus and Ukraine are both under their thumb, whether it’s territory they conquer or they become vassal states.
“[Putin] probably has decided that military invasion is the only way to bring Ukraine under his thumb at this point, and that now is the best time to do it for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is global oil prices. He took action, and he miscalculated. I don’t think he expected the sort of global response [he’s facing], and I think he thought this would be a much faster conflict, and there would be a lot less resistance.
“Now [Putin’s] in a tough spot, because he can’t back down, and he can’t be humiliated, because it would probably cost him his position and put him in real danger. He’s almost got to figure out a way to just fight through it at this point. That’s not good. That could lead to all kinds of increasingly horrifying outcomes, and we’ve already seen enough of that.”
On what the U.S. should do to help Ukraine continue fighting Russia:
“I think we [should] continue to do everything possible. I think if a country is willing to fight an adversary of ours for their own freedom, we should help them in any way possible. Our interest here is to help Ukraine as much as we can, while trying to avoid World War Three…. That doesn’t mean Putin gets a veto over what we get to do.
“I think we’re doing a lot right now. I think providing [the Ukrainians with] Stingers and anti-tank weaponry has been incredibly important, and I think the one that’s going to become increasingly urgent is how to get them fuel. They’re going to need fuel to continue to operate a resistance to what Russia is doing at some point. They’ve had a lot of fuel depots hit. I do think Ukraine is going to begin to face a fuel shortage for their own defense at some point….
“These sanctions are going to start biting. They really, really are. The Russian economy is in freefall, and they weren’t that big to begin with. It’s smaller than Italy’s. These invasions, these protracted military conflicts, cost a lot of money. Every day that he’s spending [money on the war], it gets harder and harder for him to sustain it, as this economy’s headed towards the tank.”
On the possibility of increasing U.S. energy production to reduce global oil prices:
“If you look back at 2019, right pre-COVID, and then you look at at the end of last year, there’s at least 1.2 million barrels of oil a day less that we’re producing. We’ve got to figure out a way to incentivize increasing the global supply of oil from the United States.
“OPEC’s already said they’re not going to increase [production] by more than 400,000 barrels a day. [Meanwhile, Russian oil] is being eliminated because more and more people are not buying it. I think their exports are probably down a substantial amount, because even if it’s not banned, a lot of traders won’t touch [it]. It has led to the speculation that’s raising these oil prices.
“I think the United States can be a major contributor to [lowering oil prices], and I don’t get the opposition to it here in the United States, and from those close to Biden…. A barrel of oil from Saudi Arabia is the same thing to the climate as a barrel of oil from America. The only difference is who gets the money for it, and who gets the jobs.
“The other thing is, if you’re a developing country and oil gets too expensive, you turn increasingly to coal, which is a bigger emitter of oil.
“This administration is not being honest with people about the restrictions and the negativity that their policies have put on American exploration. We need more American oil, and if we announce[d that as] a priority, you would see it reflected, in the long term for certain, but even in the [short term].”