By Doug Bandow for Forbes
The Republican presidential race is heating up as 17 candidates seek attention and votes. But the GOP’s highly touted “adult” debate in Cleveland offered little on foreign policy.
The irrepressible Donald Trump may have made the most interesting comments elsewhere on the topic, challenging Washington’s defense of its rich allies in Asia and Europe. That subject didn’t come up in the debate, unfortunately.
Generally praised was the performance of Florida Sen. Marco Rubio. Alas, on foreign policy he sounds little different from anyone else, believing intervention and war to be the first resort for most any international problem.
South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham is more bellicose and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is less respectful of civil liberties. Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee more clearly take the “kill a foreigner for Jesus” position, mixing religious fervor with a foreign policy founded on war.
But Rubio seems distinctive in his willingness to sacrifice American lives, wealth, and prosperity and wreak death and destruction around the globe for most any reason. If you don’t think the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya, drone campaigns in Pakistan and Yemen, and transnational fight against the Islamic State were enough over the last decade, Marco claims to be your man.
Rubio, like Christie and Jeb Bush, has delivered a signature talk on foreign policy. And, like them, he offered the usual neocon clichés, praising American greatness, promising “leadership” based on confrontation and conflict, and acting as if an angry glance from the U.S. president could bring the globe into line with Washington’s desires.
Rubio shares with Christie the delusion that the world has grown more dangerous. Warned Rubio: “Since the end of the Cold War, the threats facing America have changed, but the need for American Strength has not. It has