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Rubio Reiterates Importance Of U.S. Alliances With Nato, Japan, South Korea

May 12, 2016 | Press Releases

Washington, D.C. – During a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing today, U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) reinforced the importance of U.S. international leadership and the U.S.’s alliances as a wise investment particularly with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), Japan and South Korea.

“What would the world look like? What would the strategic environment look like in Asia, for example, if the U.S. nuclear umbrella no longer covered Japan and South Korea? And what would the world look like if NATO substantially was diminished, or even disintegrated?” Rubio asked Former Secretary of State James A. Baker III.

Baker responded, “Well, it would be far less stable. … We’ve got a lot of problems today but you’d have a hell of a lot more if that were the case. And these commitments that we have around the world promote U.S. security because ever since the end of World War II, our security alliance with Japan and South Korea have been the foundation and the basis for peace and security in the Pacific. NATO has been the base for peace and stability in Europe and on the Eurasian continent.”

A partial transcript of Rubio’s remarks is below. A video is available here and a broadcast quality video available for download is available here.

U.S. Senator Marco Rubio
Senate Foreign Relations Committee
Washington, D.C.
May 12, 2016
https://youtu.be/JIbjd58aQtw

Senator Marco Rubio: Just to continue to build on this line, if you could just… Obviously people around the country are looking at our own economic struggles here at home. They see our commitments abroad, both in treasure, and in lives, and blood and people coming back wounded and so forth.

So there’s always this fundamental question of ‘Why doesn’t everyone else do more? Why are we committed to these things? Why are we 70, 60, years after the Second World War still engaged in Asia and providing defense assistance to Japan and South Korea? Why do we need NATO anymore? These are rich countries. They should be able to pay for their own defense.’

And so I would ask both of you to describe a world in which NATO lost its way or perhaps even disintegrated, and a world where Japan and South Korea lost U.S. commitment?

What would the world look like? What would the strategic environment look like in Asia, for example, if the U.S. nuclear umbrella no longer covered Japan and South Korea? And what would the world look like if NATO substantially was diminished, or even disintegrated?

Honorable James A. Baker III, Former Secretary of State: Well, it would be far less stable. You would have many, many more… As Tom and I both said, we’ve got a lot of problems today but you’d have a hell of a lot more if that were the case. And these commitments that we have around the world promote U.S. security because ever since the end of World War II, our security alliance with Japan and South Korea have been the foundation and the basis for peace and security in the Pacific.

NATO has been the base for peace and stability in Europe and on the Eurasian continent.

Rubio: Some would say – some have suggested, ‘Why don’t you just let Japan and South Korea get their own nuclear weapons and let them defend themselves?’

Baker: The more countries that acquire nuclear weapons, the more instability there’s going to be in the world, in my opinion. If you look at the way North Korea is using is nuclear capabilities, that’s all it’s got, that’s it’s threat, that’s it’s big card, and it plays it.

And ever since the end of World War II, America has led the fight against the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons, weapons that can kill millions and millions of people. We ought not to abandon that fight, that would not promote stability, that would promote instability.