Conventional wisdom among many of my peers in the “pro-Israel” community is that Rubio & Cruz are indistinguishable as it relates to support for Israel, and on Foreign Policy as a whole. Is that indeed true?
To thoroughly examine their records & viewpoints, we need to first examine the points of conflict between Jerusalem & Washington.
There were three central points of conflict with the Obama Administration; “settlements”, the “Arab Spring”, & the “Iran Deal”. Truth be told, the Bush White House also supported the “Two State Solution”, supported the “Democracy Agenda”, & even held non-nuclear related talks with elements of the Iranian regime pre Afghanistan & Iraq Wars. I’m not suggesting the two are identical, rather only that if we are seeking a total departure from the Obama FP, reverting to the Bush FP wouldn’t cut it.
“Settlements” & the “Two State Solution”:
Jeb Bush & Marco Rubio support the “Two State” objective, but believe that ‘currently’ it’s not the time. That is the traditional American Foreign Policy. Israel would still be asked, albeit more politely, to halt any new settlement expansion.
Cruz on the other hand has been unequivocal that he will part ways from this traditional bipartisan viewpoint. In an interview with the Jerusalem Post’s Caroline Glick, Cruz said “I do not believe the American government should be dictating terms of peace or settlement policy to the nation of Israel. Israel is a sovereign nation. Israel is our ally. We should stand with Israel. We should not presume to dictate matters of internal governance for the nation of Israel. If I am elected president we will not do so.”
The “Arab Spring” & the “Democracy Agenda”:
Marco Rubio has been as prominent a voice in support of the Arab Spring as Senators McCain & Graham. He considers the “Democracy Agenda” central to his Foreign Policy Doctrine. When Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak relinquished power, Rubio remarked “This is an historic moment for Egypt and the Middle East. For perhaps the first time in its long history, Egypt’s government has listened to and heeded its people’s legitimate demands for greater freedoms and an end to corruption. This is an opportunity for the Egyptian people to chart a new, more hopeful and democratic future. Today’s events should hearten those struggling for greater freedom and respect for human rights in our own Hemisphere.”
Unlike Rubio, Senator Cruz finds the concept of forcing “Democracy” on a society unripe for it not as a “punishment” (as was widely accepted by the Bush Administration), but rather a ‘reward’. Prematurely implanting democracy undermines the very geopolitical order the terrorists want destroyed, & allows for political & militant Islam to thrive
The “Iran Deal”?—?“Rapprochement with Iran”:
Is Rubio a “Hawk”?
For too long we’ve allowed the foreign policy debate in this country to be framed as between isolationism vs. interventionism, “hawks” vs. “doves”. But intervention is nothing more than the tactic; the real discussion must be centered on ‘defining’ our national interests abroad.
Is “Democracy Promotion” our Foreign Policy guiding principle, or is it a regional order where in conjunction will our allies we contain Moscow’s reach and the expansion of Iran’s Islamic revolution region-wide? Is it “values”, or is it “interests”?
The US-Israel Special Relationship:
When it is democracy that is the defining attribute in the USA-Israel relationship, naturally the “rights” Palestinians are neglected will fraught the relationship. For this reason, it is the Bush-Rubio “values” camp that considers the “Two State Solution” an American priority & objective.
But if “interests” defines our Foreign Policy agenda as Senator Cruz believes, the “Two State Solution” isn’t an American priority or objective. For this reason Senator Cruz has indeed walked away from this traditional bipartisan foreign policy prescription. Whether it is Military, Intelligence, Cyber, or Counterterrorism, Israel shares our ‘interests’, they fight our enemies, & give us reliant & unparalleled National Security advantages.
The Cruz FP vision & resolve isn’t theoretic, it has been publicly demonstrated on multiple occasions:
When the FAA shut down travel to Israel’s Ben Gurion Airport, it was Senator Cruz who without delay vowed to block all diplomatic appointments until the issue was resolved. Macro Rubio was AWOL at the time.
These words exemplify Senator Cruz’s belief system; Israel isn’t a ‘liability’, it is an “asset” worthy of protection and cherish. It is this clarity & courage that has so many in Washington envious & resentful of Senator Cruz. There’s someone in Washington not blindly following the failed Domestic & Foreign Policy status quo.
Whether it is Israel’s sovereignty, our Sunni Arab Allies stability, or talks with Iran, Cruz has shown consistent clarity & resolve where Rubio hasn’t. If you want to revert to the Bush Foreign Policy, Jeb & Rubio are your choices. But if you want a wholesome departure from the historically bipartisan Washington Foreign Policy, Cruz is the candidate who has the vision & resolve necessary to change the rules of engagement.
Thanks for reading!
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