Rubio lays out foreign policy doctrine
© Getty Images

Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioTrump faces difficult balancing act with reelection campaign Republicans wary of US action on Iran California poll: Biden, Sanders lead Democratic field; Harris takes fifth MORE (R-Fla.) detailed the pillars of his foreign policy platform in his first major policy address as a presidential candidate on Wednesday, making the case that he’s the strongest Republican on the issue of national security.

ADVERTISEMENT

“What principles should govern the exercise of our power?” Rubio asked at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York.

“The 21st century requires a president who will answer that question with clarity and consistency,” Rubio continued. “One who will set forth a doctrine for the exercise of American influence in the world and who will adhere to that doctrine with the principled devotion that has marked the bipartisan tradition of presidential leadership from Truman to Kennedy to Reagan. Today, I intend to offer such a doctrine. And in the coming years, I intend to be such a president.”

Rubio also called for a stronger military, an international defense of the American economy, and “moral clarity regarding America’s core value.”

The top priority in Rubio’s foreign policy doctrine will be to show American strength through military might.

“To ensure our strength never falters, we must always plan ahead,” he said. “It takes forethought to design and many years to build the capabilities we may need at a moment’s notice. So to restore American strength, my first priority will be to adequately fund our military. This would be a priority even in times of peace and stability, though the world today is neither.”

The second pillar of Rubio’s doctrine is to protect the American economy from interruptions abroad.

“Russia, China, Iran, or any other nation that attempts to block global commerce will know to expect a response from my administration,” he said. “Gone will be the days of debating where a ship is flagged or whether it is our place to criticize territorial expansionism. In this century, businesses must have the freedom to operate around the world with confidence.”

And Rubio made the case that the U.S. has “superior aims,” and therefore moral authority to actively engage abroad.

“I will support the spread of economic and political freedom, reinforce our alliances, resist efforts by large powers to subjugate their smaller neighbors, maintain a robust commitment to transparent and effective foreign assistance programs, and advance the rights of the vulnerable, including women and the religious minorities that are so often persecuted,” Rubio said. “The afflicted peoples of the world know the truth: the American people hear their cries, see their suffering, and most of all, desire their freedom.”

National security has emerged as a major issue among Republicans in the early stages of the race for the GOP nomination, as the Obama administration’s nuclear negotiations with Iran and the emergence of terror groups like the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria have dominated political discourse in Washington.

From his spot on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Rubio has positioned himself as one of the party’s foremost foreign policy experts and chief critic of the Obama administration’s national security policies.

Rubio and his allies have been pointing to his foreign policy expertise as a big reason he should be considered presidential material, and he’s endeared himself to many of the foreign policy hawks in the GOP.

This story was updated at 3:55 p.m.