Rubio recently said that the U.S. has “no choice” but to try to improve relations with Russia, but everything in his record tells us he isn’t serious:
Rubio has in the past said that he would diplomatically isolate Russia by excluding them from all talks unrelated to the Ukraine crisis. His position listed on his campaign website is to “cease diplomatic engagement with Moscow on issues not related to resolving the Ukraine crisis.” He said the same in a speech in October and in a March 2014 column in the Washington Post, where the Florida senator wrote that Russia “should be removed immediately from every international forum not essential to resolving this crisis, including the Group of Eight.”
It’s not just his record on Russia that makes it hard to believe that he wants improved relations. He has been a consistent opponent of diplomacy with Iran, he is bitterly opposed to normalization with Cuba, and he was an early opponent of restoring ties with Syria before the civil war there. Like most other Republican hawks, he has denounced the “reset” with Russia, but for some reason we’re supposed to think he wants to copy it. Rubio has always opposed attempts at diplomatic engagement with hostile or rival states, and he is always among the first to condemn any agreements produced by such engagement.
The problem isn’t just that Rubio couldn’t be trusted to pursue better relations, but that every position he has taken on issues related to Russia is guaranteed to worsen them. He wants to send arms to Ukraine. He favors greater U.S. intervention in Syria, including a “no-fly” zone that would put the U.S. on a collision course with Russia. When asked if Americans would be afraid of getting into a war with Russia over Syria, Rubio gave this stunning answer:
Sure, but the consequences of not doing anything would scare them even more.
These are not the policies of someone interested in maintaining, much less improving, relations with Russia, and no one should pretend otherwise.