Senator Rubio and The Foreign Policy Gap
Via ThinkProgress, an important moment in the discussion regarding US foreign policy with respects to Iran occurred between Senator Marco Rubio and Secretary of State John Kerry:
During a tense exchange with Kerry at a Senate Foreign Relations committee on Wednesday, Rubio confronted the former Massachusetts senator. “I believe that much of our strategy with regards to ISIS is being driven by a desire not to upset Iran so they don’t walk away from the negotiating table on the deal that you’re working on,” the potential GOP presidential candidate declared. “Tell me why I’m wrong.”
Kerry responded forcefully. “Because the facts completely contradict that,” he said, before offering to discuss more details in classified session with Rubio. But the likely GOP presidential contender didn’t take up the offer and pressed on with the line of questioning, claiming that the United States is going easy on terrorism because Iran does not support America’s campaign against ISIS.
But of course, the two assumptions that he has are false—of course, the US is involved in fighting ISIL, whether Sen. Rubio thinks the response is adequate or not, and of course, Iran is also opposed to ISIL, because why in the world would a Shiite government want a radical Sunni Wahhabist caliphate in their backyard? To think, nay, insist, that the Obama Administration is soft-pedaling the fight with ISIL to please Iran would be weapons-grade ignorance. And that is precisely where Rubio is coming from.
You know what this reminds me of? American Idol tryouts. In the very first episodes each season, you get to see some very not-talented and badly-prepared people try to perform and they are the worst. I’ve stopped watching for that very problem—I used to mock those people, but then I realized nobody loved them enough to tell them they were awful and needed to either practice more or quit and it made me very sad for them. And that’s Senator Rubio—because he’s said this nonsense a bunch of times before, but no one loves him enough to point out that it is nonsense. They just let him step on the old rake.
Now, this sort of thing might be sort of understandable when it’s just some fringe guy from out of obscurity. But Senator Rubio is seriously considering being president, and does not seem to know things a person with a newspaper subscription would—and he’s a US Senator. Knowing this stuff right now would totally help him be a better senator which is the job he has right now. Understanding foreign policy isn’t brain surgery, oh hell no—you actually have to keep up everyday. And not for nothing, as a person who just wants to vote in an informed way—I keep up with this stuff on the reg. It isn’t my job. It’s just the basic curiosity about the world I live in and the problems thereof that I see as necessary to understand in order to be an engaged, cosmopolitan citizen of my own country who appreciates our national interests. Why shouldn’t I expect that level of understanding as a minimum requirement to perform in the offices with which our elected official are charged?
I’m blasting Rubio at the moment, but this is a general complaint—whatever happened to professionals in public service who knew how to make things work and knew what they were making them work for? You take this “congressional oversight” flap over the Iran/US nuclear negotiations—there was a perfectly legitimately-crafted bill from Sens. Corker and Menendez waiting there with bipartisan support built-in. I don’t agree with it because I know an executive agreement from a treaty and don’t want the State Department hobbled by politics, but at least that’s a Constitutional path on paper, as opposed to a media stunt.
Well, I guess I vented enough. And I should appreciate that lots of my fellow countrypersons do not appreciate history, geography and procedure enough to know why a foreign policy gap like Rubio’s is distinctively problematic for our future, when it looks to me like younger politicians seem to appreciate protocol and possess a cosmopolitan finesse less and less. And yet somehow, they will inherit the Earth that I will, if modern medicine is right, live in for at least the next forty-fifty years.
What I’m saying is, in other words, will you whippersnappers go do homework?
(X-Posted at Strangely Blogged.)