At least one good thing came out of the Republican Presidential debate on CNN this week. The differences between Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio were made clear and unmistakable. The race to the nomination may very well come down to these two men, since I still have the feeling Donald Trump really doesn’t want the job.
While the CNN instigated cage match between Jeb Bush and Trump delivered little new about the dynamic between those two candidates, we learned a great deal from Cruz and Rubio going toe-to-toe. They promote clear, highly substantive differences on issues vital to our security that all voters need to understand.
First, Cruz co-sponsored the USA Freedom Act that ended the widespread collection of cellphone metadata. This is consistent with the ruling by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals that the practice was unconstitutional. Rubio however blasted Cruz with the charge that the ending of metadata collection will undermine our ability to fight terror in the country. I guess Rubio missed the law school class on the Fourth Amendment.
Their differences on illegal immigration could not be more apparent. Rubio was the ringleader with the liberal hack Chuck Schumer on the “Gang of Eight” bill. This bill would have legitimized illegals in the country, provided them a path to citizenship and given Democrats what they are really after – millions of new Democrat voters. I can’t figure out what was in this for Rubio. I guess just big corporate money and a higher percentage of the Latino vote.
Cruz provided amendments to the bill that essentially killed the “Gang of Eight” sham. Pay no attention to the establishment’s efforts to pin down Cruz as being “for it before he was against it”. We do not need a massive immigration overhaul, just enforce the laws and policies already in place that have served this country well for over two hundred years.
The most consequential point of difference between the candidates was in how to move forward in the battle with the Islamic threat in the Middle East. A lot of the discussion was about tactics for fighting ISIS – where to bomb, how much to bomb, boots on the ground, or do we arm the Peshmerga? These are important questions but there is a more strategic aspect that came into focus.
What do we do when the bombing stops? When ISIS is decimated and the wide military action is over, what do we do further in the region?
It’s clear that Rubio is marching to a neo-con drumbeat and after an ISIS defeat, the U.S. should move on to take out Assad of Syria. He believes that another regime change in the region will somehow make us safer. Cruz on the other hand looks at what the last fourteen years of the War On Terror has produced in the Middle East and questions the strategy.
We’ve had regime change in Iraq, Libya, and Egypt and in each case the safety of the American people has not been served. We took out Hussein in Iraq and our nation building was then abandoned and the country collapses. Now we have an absolute mess. ISIS and Iran now control most of the territory. How does that make us safer?
We promoted the ouster of Khadafy in Libya to the point of arming Al Qaeda terrorists, terrorists who perpetrated the worst attack on American soil. Khadafy was an awful guy but he had turned around and was becoming an asset in our effort to stabilize the region. Now he’s gone and Libya has descended into a terrorist cauldron that will serve ISIS’ interests in spreading their caliphate into Africa. How does that make us safer?
We supported the Muslim Brotherhood’s efforts to overthrow Mubarak in Egypt. Again, Mubarak was no saint, but he was helping to keep peace and stability in the region. Egypt would mirror Libya today if the Egyptian military had not thrown the Muslim Brotherhood out.
And now Rubio and other candidates like Bush and Kasich want to throw Assad out of Syria because he’s another bad guy. We all agree he’s a bad guy; but once he’s gone whom are you going to replace him with? Without Assad, Syria will become another part of the ISIS caliphate. How does that make us safer?
The problem with this nation building strategy is that we ignore the culture of the people involved. We think that if we get rid of the bad guys with guns, we can then whip a little democracy on the population and just like that you have an American-type freedom loving society. Sorry, but it doesn’t work that way.
America with its founding principles of individual freedom and sovereignty could not have come about without its civil society existing first. Our civil society created the American constitutional republic we now enjoy. The Constitution did not create the civil society. The government a society lives under reflects the type and character of that society, not the other way around.
Therefore, removing dictators and expecting that we can create little constitutional republics around the Middle East is simply ignorant and doomed policy. Cruz recognizes this. I hope at some point, Rubio will, as well. The Rubio strategy fails to remember its top priority – the safety of the American people.
There is a place though where regime change is imperative. It’s a place called Washington.
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