Marco Rubio reminds us once again why no one should ever listen to him on foreign policy:
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) September 16, 2019
The senator is threatening to penalize a small country for switching their diplomatic ties from Taiwan to the People’s Republic of China. Not only is this a heavy-handed and stupid response to growing Chinese influence, since it would guarantee that the Solomons become even more dependent on China, but it is utter hypocrisy for an American politician to berate another government for doing what our government did forty years ago. It is also a good example of how many hawks view the sovereignty and independence of small states. As long as small states take the “right” foreign policy positions, the hawks say they have every right to make their own foreign policy without interference, but as soon as they do something that hawks don’t like they will be targeted for punishment. It is crude bullying against one of the poorest countries in the world, and Floridians should be embarrassed to be represented by someone who engages in it.
Rubio’s statement met with plenty of well-deserved mockery and scorn:
If a free and open Indo-Pacific is to be about actually maximizing sovereignty for small states and not about choosing sides, then this kind of thing is counterproductive and silly. But sure: when we don't know what to do, why not do sanctions? ? https://t.co/1JCsEwLCJK
— Ankit Panda (@nktpnd) September 17, 2019
Could you please go ONE DAY without beclowning American foreign policy?! https://t.co/j2JOVWBGZP
— Daniel W. Drezner (@dandrezner) September 17, 2019
This is beyond idiotic. Doesn’t the USG recognize the PRC? And how does cutting off one’s own contact w/ a country improve anything? This bullying is beneath a US politician.
— Michael D. Swaine (@Dalzell60) September 17, 2019
Let’s punish the Solomon Islands by driving them into greater dependency on China’s for financial assistance. The height of strategy. https://t.co/mA64dzyxkB
— Eric Gomez (@EricGomezAsia) September 17, 2019
You could hardly ask for a better demonstration of how mindless and knee-jerk the addiction to sanctions is than Rubio’s threat against this small Pacific nation. When hawks talk about a Cold War with China, this is the sort of thing that we can expect to see more of in the years ahead: trampling on smaller nations to score points in an unnecessary rivalry. If Rubio’s deranged threat were carried out, the population of the islands would be the ones to suffer for their government’s decision. It is more of the same petty cruelty that we have seen from hard-line sanctions advocates taken to its absurd extreme.