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The hawkish bits of VP hopeful Marco Rubio's foreign policy speech

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But if the unstated goal was regime change, it's hard to imagine more bang for the US buck than Libya. The total cost to the US was under $1 billion. There were no US (or any other foreign) casualties, and the mission wrapped up in less than a year. Could Qaddafi have been toppled a few months faster if the US was more active? Perhaps. Would that have also led to more civilian casualties at the hand of US airpower? Also perhaps. The Iraq war, a much more ambitious undertaking, will ultimately cost the US taxpayer about $4 trillion when replacement of equipment and total medical claims for veterans are factored in.

Senator Rubio would also appear to favor military action against Iran, and perhaps in Syria. "The goal of preventing a dominant Iran is so important that every regional policy we adopt should be crafted with that overriding goal in mind," he said. "The current situation in Syria is an example of such an approach. The fall of Assad would be a significant blow to Iran’s ambitions. On those grounds alone, we should be seeking to help the people of Syria bring him down."

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