In a speech before an influential foreign policy group Wednesday afternoon, Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida plans to lay out the principles that should govern the exercise of U.S. power.
“The 21st century requires a president who will answer that question with clarity and consistency – one who will set forth a doctrine for the exercise of American influence in the world – and who will adhere to that doctrine with the principled devotion that has marked the bipartisan tradition of presidential leadership from Truman to Kennedy to Reagan,” the senator plans to say, according to excerpts of his speech made available in advance of the event.
Rubio is appearing in New York Wednesday afternoon before the Council on Foreign Relations, an influential, nonpartisan think tank. It’s being billed as the senator’s first policy speech since announcing his run for the presidency last month, and it will be before heavyweights of foreign policy and political circles.
With the spotlight on him, political analysts say Rubio needs to articulate a broad foreign policy vision. He’s generally considered among the most hawkish of the Republicans seeking the presidency, and analysts say he has displayed an aggressive enthusiasm for intervention abroad.
He has urged military action or support in Libya and Syria, for example, and supported giving authorization to the president to take the military steps necessary to destroy Islamic State terrorists in Iraq. He has also been supportive of foreign aid – something often targeted by conservative deficit hawks – and has said U.S. leadership in the world doesn’t have to be just through its military.
In his speech Wednesday, Rubio plans to lay out his foreign policy doctrine, consisting of three pillars: ensuring American strength and adequately funding the U.S. military; articulating America’s core values worldwide; and protecting the American economy in a globalized world, in part by opposing any violations of international waters, airspace, cyberspace or outer space.
“This includes the economic disruption caused when one country invades another, as well as the chaos caused by disruptions in chokepoints such as the South China Sea or the Strait of Hormuz,” Rubio’s prepared remarks say. “Russia, China, Iran or any other nation that attempts to block global commerce will know to expect a response from my administration. Gone will be the days of debating where a ship is flagged or whether it is our place to criticize territorial expansionism. In this century, businesses must have the freedom to operate around the world with confidence.”
He also plans to say: “As president, I will support the spread of economic and political freedom, reinforce our alliances, resist efforts by large powers to subjugate their smaller neighbors, maintain a robust commitment to transparent and effective foreign assistance programs, and advance the rights of the vulnerable, including women and the religious minorities that are so often persecuted, so that the afflicted peoples of the world know the truth: the American people hear their cries, see their suffering, and most of all, desire their freedom.”