Home/Daniel Larison/Rubio’s Foreign Policy Confusion Continues

Rubio’s Foreign Policy Confusion Continues

Marco Rubio displays more of his confusion on foreign policy:

In an interview with The Associated Press, Rubio said the next U.S. president “should not be bound” by a potential Obama administration agreement, even if European negotiating partners stand behind the deal [bold mine-DL].

“The United States, although it’s less than ideal, could unilaterally re-impose more crushing and additional sanctions,” Rubio said. He said he would also “use the standing of the United States on the global stage to try to encourage other nations to do so.” [bold mine-DL]

Rubio doesn’t seem to grasp the basic contradiction at the heart of what he says here. If the U.S. backs out of a multilateral agreement that several of our major allies have now worked for years to negotiate, it isn’t going to have the same “standing” and it won’t be able to “encourage” other states to do anything more on this issue. It isn’t possible to disregard the preferences of other states so completely on a major issue and then expect them to continue paying attention to what the U.S. asks of them on the same issue. Nothing would more quickly unravel international support for existing sanctions than a unilateral U.S. decision to renege on a deal that has the support of some of our closest allies. Governments around the world would understandably ignore U.S. requests to keep the pressure on Iran, since they would regard such punitive measures to be completely pointless–and contrary to their own economic interests–once the U.S. walked away from an agreement.

The “standing” of the U.S. on this issue would be greatly reduced, and Washington’s ability to gain the cooperation from other states to pressure Iran would be similarly diminished. In the absence of that cooperation, there would be no question of imposing “more crushing” sanctions, since Iran would be able to able to evade additional U.S. measures with the help of any number of other states. Trashing a diplomatic process carried out in good faith inevitably makes it more difficult for the U.S. to gain support from other governments, but that is “absolutely” what Rubio thinks the next president should do. That is just one more reason why Rubio shouldn’t be that president, and neither should anyone that shares this absurd and destructive view.

about the author

Daniel Larison is a senior editor at TAC, where he also keeps a solo blog. He has been published in the New York Times Book Review, Dallas Morning News, World Politics Review, Politico Magazine, Orthodox Life, Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and was a columnist for The Week. He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Lancaster, PA. Follow him on Twitter.

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