The Cato Institute’s Chris Preble explains how Marco Rubio misperceives, fails to appreciate, minimizes, oversells and ignores.
Cato’s vice president for defense and foreign policy studies notes that Rubio pledged: “As president I will use American power to oppose any violations of international waters, airspace, cyberspace, or outer space.”
As Chris concludes, “(any? Whew!).”
To be sure, many people around the world may be happy to allow U.S. soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines to attempt such an ambitious undertaking, and to have American taxpayers pick up the tab. It is reasonable to guess that most foreign leaders are anxious to preserve the current order—so long as the U.S. government provides for their defense, they are free to spend their money on other things.
But the fact that foreigners like this arrangement doesn’t explain why most Americans would. When Rubio calls for huge increases in the Pentagon’s budget, he is telling Americans that they should be content to accept higher taxes, more debt and less money to spend here at home, so that U.S. allies elsewhere can neglect their defenses and feed their bloated welfare states.
Americans, unsurprisingly, and by a wide margin, favor something else. A poll taken last year by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, for example, found a mere 38 percent of Americans who considered “defending our allies’ security” to be a “very important” foreign goal, below “combating world hunger” and “limiting climate change.”