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The ‘Rubio Doctrine’: Sen. Marco Rubio Gets Serious About Russia

His policy speech on how to handle the Putin regime is well-considered.

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May 5, 2012 - 12:00 am

Florida Senator Marco Rubio recently gave a speech at the left-leaning Brookings Institution, where he was introduced by his colleague Joe Lieberman. In the speech, Rubio announced a bold new policy towards Russia. Considering two frightening recent pronouncements from Putin supporters, this new Rubio Doctrine cannot be implemented soon enough.

The five principles of the Rubio Doctrine:

  1. Recognition
  2. Leadership
  3. Circumvention
  4. Displacement
  5. Revolution

Rubio argues that the U.S. must recognize that Russian interests are diametrically opposed to our own and that Russia will not act for the global common good. Rubio calls Russia “increasingly belligerent” despite four years of “reset” by the Obama administration, and he also states:

I feel like we have gotten precious little from Russia in exchange for concessions on nuclear weapons.

Russia wants to raise world oil prices, America wants to lower them. Russia wants autocracy, America wants democracy. Russia wants to recreate the USSR, America wants to consign it to history.

Having made this recognition, the U.S. must lead the opposition to Russia’s anti-Western core values and interests. Russia will continue siding with rogue regimes in places like North Korea, Iran, Venezuela, and Syria, so America must unify and lead Europe.

Once leadership is established, three concrete policies must be pursued as leader: circumvention, displacement, and revolution. Says Rubio:

In those instances, where the veto power of either China or Russia impede the world’s ability to deal with a significant threat, the U.S. will have to organize and lead coalitions with or without a Security Council resolution.

Where possible, the U.S. must circumvent Russia — particularly on the UN Security Council — and take necessary action regardless of Russian moves on the Council.

Rubio continues:

If we are successful in forming a Western Hemisphere energy coalition that takes advantage of the shale-gas revolution, we will be able to help our European allies reduce their coerced dependence on Russian energy as well.

The U.S. must develop its own energy assets within its coalition so that Russian assets and those Russia seeks to control in the Middle East are displaced and marginalized.

Further, Rubio urges the U.S. and European partners to forge alliances with freedom fighters inside Russia who are battling the country’s pandemic economic and political corruption. Only when that regime has been obliterated, Rubio believes, can there be a realization of the “bipartisan American vision, endorsed by the Clinton administration and both Bush administrations, of a Europe ‘whole and free.’”

As if on cue, three Russian figures released anti-American pronouncements that support the analysis behind the Rubio Doctrine. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told Europe it had better not dare impose sanctions against Iran in response to that country’s burgeoning nuclear arms program, because Europe would soon find it could not afford to satisfy its energy needs. Then, academic Ruslan Pukhov accused the U.S. of seeking “absolute security” through missile defense, claiming this would make every other nation, especially Russia, absolutely insecure. Pukhov urged the U.S. to realize that it had to expose itself to the risk of nuclear annihilation by abandoning effective missile defense or face protracted cold war with Russia.

Next, Nikolai Makarov — Chairman of the Russian version of the Joint Chiefs of Staff — announced that Russia was considering a unilateral first strike against U.S. defensive missile systems, and that one of his (anonymous) underlings told the Wall Street Journal Americans could avoid this strike if they’d only vote for Barack Obama.

The three remarks highlight the central fact about U.S./Russia policy which President Obama and his Russia advisor Michael McFaul stubbornly refuse to face: Russian interests are fundamentally opposed to American interests. Russia is ruled, likely for life, by a proud KGB spy who is the living embodiment of anti-American hatred.

Clear in the statements is the arrogant notion that Russians know better than Americans what is proper for U.S. security. Both statements also imply that Americans are so foolish they don’t understand how to advance their own interests. Perhaps the most unsettling feature of this arrogance is the extent to which it mimics the attitude of the former USSR.

Russia does not want America to be the world leader; it wants to lead instead. Russia does not want low oil and gas prices to fuel the American economy; it wants high prices to fuel the Russian dictatorship. Russia does not want stability in the Middle East; it wants tumult because tumult leads to higher prices and more chances for Russian influence over corrupt dictators.

For the last four years, Obama and McFaul have been lying to Americans about the threat they face in Russia. These lies have been devastatingly effective, causing polls to show Americans are dropping their guard and expressing trust in the Kremlin.

The announcement of the Rubio Doctrine has come not a moment too soon.

Rubio is a wise choice for vice president: he gives Romney a southern strategy, a conservative credential, and a strong echo of Romney’s newly found voice where Russia is concerned. Even if Romney does not choose Rubio as his running mate, he should encourage Rubio to develop the Rubio Doctrine by offering him either a cabinet position related to security policy or the ambassadorship to Russia.

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