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Politics / Issues

USF Policy Expert Weighs in on 'Rubio Doctrine'

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Photo Courtesy of the Council on Foreign Relations

Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio is making moves to establish himself with the foreign policy community. 

He gave a speech Wednesday at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York City. 

The Florida Senator's experience with foreign policy includes serving on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. His speech highlighted his vision for America in the international arena. 

Rubio's foreign policy agenda, which he has named The Rubio Doctrine, consists of three main pillars. These pillars include American strength, the protection of the American economy in a globalized world, and moral clarity regarding America's core values.

"President Kennedy, like most presidents before and since, understood what I believe our current President does not," said Rubio. "That American strength as a means of preventing war, not promoting it, and that weakness on the other hand, is the friend of danger, and the enemy of peace."

Critics, including groups such as the American Bridge 21st Century, consider his foreign policy resume "lackluster."

Dr. Mohsen Milani, Executive Director of the University of South Florida World Center for Strategic and Diplomatic Studies, said Rubio designed his speech to establish his gravitas in foreign policy, within the foreign policy community and the base of the Republican party.

Milani said Rubio shares a vision for American foreign policy that is in line with his party's views of President Obama. It outlines a stronger, more assertive vision in critique of the weakened position they claim the current administration has brought about. Besides setting himself apart from the current administration, Rubio is also committed to showing he is different from the other presidential competitors.

"He wanted to show that in comparison to other Republican Presidential candidates, he is going to offer a foreign policy that is at least as muscular and hawkish as any of them, if not more," said Milani.

To increase America's strength, Rubio believes the country must invest in the military and intelligence agencies, including extending Section 215 of the 2001 Patriot Act. Section 215 has allowed the bulk collection of domestic telephone information by the National Security Association, which a federal appeals court ruled last week is illegal.

Understanding foreign policy is important, Dr. Milani said, because events around the world can affect Americans, even if the events are not happening within the U.S.

"We live in a interconnected and globalized world, and we need to have an American president who understands foreign policy because it is becoming almost impossible to determine where domestic policy ends and foreign policy begins," Milani said.

Over the next few months, Milani expects the key issues of Rubio's campaign will include Iran and a nuclear agreement, the role of China, talks about Cuba, and dealing with Russia.

Rubio's talk is one of many speeches expected to be given that focus on the presidential candidates' foreign policy agendas.

Richard Haass, President of the Council on Foreign Relations, said the council is looking forward to running more articles and interviews with the other major presidential candidates.

Watch Rubio's speech or read the transcript here.