When he described it as increasingly important to “speak to the American people” about world affairs because “we no longer live in a national economy, we live in a global economy,” Rubio sounded like he could have been quoting John Kerry’s first speech earlier this month as secretary of State.
Rubio said he agreed with the president that negotiations with Iran must be given a chance, but that the Islamic Republic must never be allowed to obtain a nuclear weapon. He agreed that the US should not send weapons into a Syria “already awash in arms.” And he said he supports the administration’s efforts to further the Palestinians’ “governance” expertise and economic development.
Just back from a trip to Israel, Jordan, and the West Bank, Rubio said he talked to Israelis concerned about what Mr. Obama’s intends to do when he visits Israel in March. He said he told them “that it’s my sense the president is coming more to listen than to dictate” on the issue of Israeli-Palestinian peace. And he said he believed that, at this point, with Iran and other regional security issues topping Israel as a priority, that such a stance is the right one for the president.
On Syria, Rubio demonstrated a command of the complexities of the civil war and laid out a plan of action that sounded closer to where the White House appears to be headed than to some of his more hawkish Republican colleagues. He suggested providing more nonlethal supplies to the rebels.
“I’m uncomfortable if we’re doing anything to escalate violence,” he said.