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Senator Rubio on Foreign Aid to Libya, Egypt and Pakistan
Rubio: “We have to accept that, on the one hand, there are millions of people who want a new, better future. We will side with them. We will support their aspirations. We will work with their hopes for civilian leadership, peace and economic prosperity. But for those who are radical Islamists, whose view is that they want to conquer and bring under their control everyone who is not who they are, we have to defeat them.”
Senator Marco Rubio
U.S. Senate Floor Speech
September 20, 2012
Senator Marco Rubio: “This is not an easy issue to confront, but disengaging from the region is not the solution. I don’t have a magic solution, but here are my opinions given what I have learned during the first two years that I have been here.
“The first is that we should expect more. We should expect more from leaders in the region. We should expect Morsi, the Muslim Brotherhood and others to stand up to people and say, ‘Look, we understand that you’re upset about this video, but you don’t have the right to burn down an embassy. And by the way, in America, the government does not control these videos. Anyone can make a YouTube video. They are a free society.’
“Number two: we should expect for them to say the same things in Arabic as they are saying in English. Don’t express condolences and outrage in English on the attack against America, but in Arabic completely ignore it and only talk about the YouTube video. We should expect more from them. They want a true partnership, they want American and western aid, they want tourists to return, they want economic interchange between our countries, then we should expect more from them.
“This stuff is not happening because of a video and because people are upset. For radical Islam, our entire culture is offensive. They’re not just offended about a YouTube video. They’re offended that women serve in the U.S. Senate. They’re offended that women drive. They’re offended that little girls get to go to school. In some of these countries, converting to Christianity is punishable by death. Our whole culture is offensive to them, not just a YouTube video.
“Here is the third point we have to accept. This is a critical moment, not just for America. This is a critical moment for the Muslim world, where they have to decide what kind of future they want for themselves. Is this the future that they want? A future isolated from the world? A future isolated from the promise of the 21st century? Or do they want a different future?
“I believe, I don’t believe, I know, that there are millions of people in the Muslim world that do not want this future, but they are afraid to speak up. They are intimidated from speaking up because of these radical forces that need to be defeated.
“Which brings me to my last point. We need to be very clear: we will support those who want a better future, like we should have supported the Green Revolution in Iran when young, brave Iranians took to the streets to protest a fraudulent election and, instead of taking their side, the President disengaged and said nothing. We will support those who want a new future and want a better future for their region. We’re not asking them to abandon their religion or their beliefs, but they have to respect ours. We’re not asking them to walk away from the Quran, but they have to respect our beliefs and tolerate our beliefs as well. We will support those who are willing to do that. We want to work with them. It benefits no one to have violence and destruction in the region.
“But we also have to accept the hard, cold fact that there are radical Islamists in that part of the world who you will never be able to reason with. They are never going to change their minds. They are never going to come around. They are never going to one day all of a sudden change their behavior because we engage them more, because we give more speeches at their universities. They are radical Islamists, a violent people.
“And it’s a very clear choice: either they win, or we win. And the sooner we accept that, the better off we’re going to be. We have to accept that, on the one hand, there are millions of people who want a new, better future. We will side with them. We will support their aspirations. We will work with their hopes for civilian leadership, peace and economic prosperity. But for those who are radical Islamists, whose view is that they want to conquer and bring under their control everyone who is not who they are, we have to defeat them.
“I wish that weren’t the case, but it is. The sooner we accept that, the clearer our policies are going to be. This is not just a critical moment for America and our foreign policy; this is a critical moment for them as well. Where they are going to have to decide if Egypt truly wants a better future for their people, one where their economy is growing and is prosperous and young people can fulfill their aspirations. They are going to have to unequivocally reject this kind of stuff or they are going to be trapped in the 18th century forever.
“In Libya, they are trying to cooperate with us. They’re allowing us to move forward. We should work with them and strengthen them, not abandon them.
“I did not mention Pakistan, but that is important too. Let me just say, I think it is outrageous that doctor is being held there. I believe every charge against him is trumped up and I think that we should demand, and I think it is right to condition some, if not all, of our foreign aid and cooperation for Pakistan on his status and on his release.
“I hope Senator Paul and those who support his amendment will consider, at a minimum, restructuring that amendment to recognize that there is a difference between Libya and Egypt, and that we should take different approaches in that regard. We have a right to be outraged. We have a right to be angry. But we should never abandon being smart.”
To view the full speech, visit here.