Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio is outlining a foreign policy doctrine centered on aggressive use of U.S. power, boosting military spending and protecting the rights of minorities around the world.
The Florida senator, who has staked out hawkish views on world affairs, is also directly warning Russia, China and Iran against “attempts to block global commerce,” according to excerpts of a speech scheduled for Wednesday afternoon at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York.
In a wide-open Republican primary field, Rubio has been touting his foreign policy experience and using it as a way to set himself apart from his competitors. The first-term senator serves on the Foreign Relations Committee and the Intelligence Committee, and he has become a sharp critic of President Barack Obama's handling of international issues.
In his first major policy speech as a presidential candidate, Rubio details a three-pronged foreign policy doctrine that he says would guide his potential presidency.
Rubio, 43, argues that the government must “adequately fund our military,” even in times of peace and stability. Earlier this year, he introduced a budget amendment to increase defense spending, but the measure failed. It's unclear whether Rubio will call for specific spending levels Wednesday.
Rubio also calls for using “American power to oppose any violations of international waters, airspace, cyberspace or outer space.” He singles out attempts to cause economic disruption either through direct invasions or by blocking transit through the South China Sea or the Strait of Hormuz, where Iran recently seized a Marshall Islands-flagged ship.
“Gone will be the days of debating where a ship is flagged or whether it is our place to criticize territorial expansionism,” he says in the excerpts.
Seeking to look beyond sheer military power, Rubio says he would support the spread of economic and political freedom, resist efforts by large powers to control smaller neighbors, and advance the rights of women and religious minorities around the world.
“The American people hear their cries, see their suffering, and most of all, desire their freedom,” he says.
The senator has been particularly critical of Obama's thaw with Cuba, the communist island nation his parents left in the 1950s. He's argued that the president's overtures to Havana are a premature reward for a nation with a repressive government and dismal human rights record.