February 25th, 2014
01:23 PM ET
7 months ago

Rubio: U.S. in a 'geopolitical battle for influence'

(CNN) - Sen. Marco Rubio said Tuesday the Defense Department's plan to reduce troop levels comes at a time when there's great unrest in parts of the world.

"In the middle of all of this, the U.S. announcing that we may have troop levels as a low as they've been since World War II. I think that's a pretty startling contrast in terms of where our priorities are and where the world's challenges look like," the Florida Republican told CNN's Wolf Blitzer.

He cited tensions between Japan and China, North Korea and South Korea, as well as unrest in Ukraine and Syria. He pointed to instability in the Middle East because of Iran's nuclear program as another example of a challenge the U.S. faces overseas.

He also argued Russia has violated "every significant arms treaty."

"We are certainly in the midst of a geopolitical battle for influence around the world," he added.

Watch the rest of the interview on CNN's "The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer" at 5 p.m. ET.


Filed under: Marco Rubio
soundoff (28 Responses)
  1. rs

    Gee, Mr. Rubio- how about some of theta influence at home, eh? Wouldn't be nice for you and your neocon buddies spend some money and time making America a better place for ALL Americans?

    February 25, 2014 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  2. Malory Archer

    Someone should tell little marco that due to budget constraints, the United States can no longer afford to play world policeman, or at least we need to learn to do so with more realistic spending restraints. We spend more than the next ten nations combined and have done so for decades, so obviously there's a great deal of waste and abuse that needs to be dealt with. Time for a top to bottom audit of our armed forces and the private contractors who supply them.

    February 25, 2014 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  3. Marie MD

    The teaklans are walking on their own poop and they don't realize it.

    February 25, 2014 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  4. tom l

    @Sniffit

    "It is the mindlessness of the Right that is so numbing. No matter how much sense the initiative makes (i.e. it is for children's health), because it comes from the government (and potentially this President and his family) whatever it is it is inherently evil."

    Au contraire....had this been 2007 and Laura Bush was pushing this idea in the context of her having been a teacher, etc., they'd be all over it. It's only "big government" and "invasive" if a Dem/liberal proposes it.
    ======

    Says the person who admittedly wasn't in support of something simply because it came from Rand Paul. Something you agree with. Pot meet kettle.

    February 25, 2014 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  5. drake mallard

    Let's see how committed to spending reductions Republicans are now. Let the hypocrisy begin

    The budget passed the senate 64-36, bringing the final number to 178 Republicans who abandoned our military.

    Here are the 36 senators who voted against the bill:

    Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.)
    Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.)
    John Barrasso (R-Wyo.)
    Roy Blunt (R-Mo.)
    John Boozman (R-Ark.)
    Richard Burr (R-N.C.)
    Dan Coats (R-In)
    Tom Coburn (R-Okla.)
    Thad Cochran (R-Miss.)
    Bob Corker (R-Tenn.)
    John Cornyn (R-Texas)
    Mike Crapo (R-Idaho)
    Ted Cruz (R-Texas)
    Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.)
    Deb Fischer (R-Neb.)
    Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.)
    Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.)
    Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa)
    Dean Heller (R-Nev,)
    James Inhofe (R-Okla.)
    Mike Johanns (R-Neb.)
    Mark Kirk (R-Ill.)
    Mike Lee (R-Utah)
    Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.)
    Jerry Moran (R-Kan.)
    Rand Paul (R-Ky.)
    James Risch (R-Idaho)
    Pat Roberts (R-Kan.)
    Marco Rubio (R-Fla.)
    Tim Scott (R-S.C.)
    Pete Sessions (R-Ala.)
    Richard Shelby (R-Ala.)
    John Thune (R-S.D.)
    Pat Toomey (R-Pa.)
    David Vitter (R-La.)
    Roger Wicker (R-Miss.)

    These are the 9 Republicans who voted for the bill:

    Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.)
    Susan Collins (R-Maine)
    Orin Hatch (R-Utah)
    John Hoeven (R-N.D.)
    Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.)
    Ron Johnson (R-Wiss.)
    John McCain (R-Ariz.)
    Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska)
    Rob Portman (R-Ohio)

    Without taking a stand on whether Republicans should or should not vote for a budget, I would like to know how in any Republican’s world it is acceptable to vote for a budget that cuts military pensions. The cut is to their COLA increases. I mustn’t forget to mention that almost all the Democrats approved this cut.

    The military are the only ones being told they have to accept a cut to their pensions.

    February 25, 2014 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  6. ghostwriter

    Well Marco...maybe you guys should have been a bit more forward thinking. Instead of starting a war for variable reasons (meaning the reasons changed over time), maybe we should reserve military action for those situations that call for it.

    You just had your war. And right now, we just ain't got it.

    February 25, 2014 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  7. Rudy NYC

    Malory Archer wrote:

    Someone should tell little marco that due to budget constraints, the United States can no longer afford to play world policeman, or at least we need to learn to do so with more realistic spending restraints. We spend more than the next ten nations combined and have done so for decades, ... .... ...
    -----------------
    Yup, money, and the fact that our fighting forces have just fought two wars for at least a decade. Besides, it is not our job to start wars. We're supposed be the ones who end them.

    February 25, 2014 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  8. Tampa Tim

    The outrage is that we have fewer mules in the Army than we did in WW I. Paul Ryan's budget that passed the house and senate and was signed by our president, had even deeper cuts to the military than Hagel has asked for.

    Rubio is not very bright, but thanks to Jeb, he is a politician.

    February 25, 2014 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  9. drake mallard

    Umm, whut? As Rubio points out, he did vote against the Budget Control Act that produced the sequester. His reasoning was basically this: Slash Medicare, not the military budget, and OMG, what if this leads to tax increases? Well, we got sequestration rather than tax increases on the wealthy and corporations because Rubio's party wanted it that way. And now he's whining that President Obama is posing some kind of false choice between big government and flight delays, as if magical budget fairies are going to sneeze out the services people expect, want, and need from the government without it costing anything or requiring revenue.

    Sequester effects that Rubio doesn't have room to mention: cuts to unemployment insurance checks, domestic violence programs, Meals on Wheels, national parks. Rubio doesn't spare a word for all the federal workers who are losing big chunks of their pay to furloughs. He spends more words on flight delays that Congress already acted to prevent than he does on Head Start cuts (if that's even one of the things he means by "education services") that are leaving low-income kids without preschool, teachers without jobs, and parents having to scramble to find child care if they're going to be able to keep their jobs or look for work. "The loss of safety net medical assistance," meanwhile, is a nicely bloodless way to describe cuts to cancer treatment for Medicare patients.

    February 25, 2014 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  10. Tampa Tim

    Tom l – Can you say TARP?

    February 25, 2014 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  11. drake mallard

    The same Marco Rubio? That Talks Big but Fails to Deliver?

    what did this mor on accomplish other than running up a tab on the taxpayers backs

    Rubio is a hypocrite he want his family to have health insurance but not the taxes payer. who pay his salary and health insurance the laugh is on the people who voted for him who might need and will benefit from the ACA.Poor Marco Rubio. He's only signing up for Obamacare and pocketing those ten grand because he's FORCED to, lol. What a terrible fate! Obamacare is worse than slavery, LOL

    February 25, 2014 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  12. Tommy G

    Putin is playing chess, Obama is playing golf. Obama doesn't care if our strategic interests are damaged. Putin is showing him for the inexperienced commuity organizer he is.

    February 25, 2014 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  13. CB FL

    Maybe we could use the money that we save to finally take care of all the men & women coming home who are in need of medical help. I think it very sad that everytime I turn on the TV there are ads from private organizations asking for money to help our veterans. Congress has no problem sending these people to war. But when they come home they are looking at 1 to 2 years before they get the care they need.

    February 25, 2014 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  14. just asking

    Rudy NYC
    Besides, it is not our job to start wars. We're supposed be the ones who end them.
    --

    pretty hard to do with a decimated military thanks to obama. do you think you can just mix up a batch of instant military the next time you need them? it happens every time a democrat gets in the white house. the military gets destroyed. i gues this is the flexibility he was offering putin before the election?

    i guess obama wants to use all of the money to pay for free healthcare and food stamps for all the people he has kept unemployed for years.

    February 25, 2014 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  15. deee510

    Republicans like spending in military forces and going to wars because it generates money for rich gun and weapon supply companies.they don't care about our troops or our middle class economy being shredded.America needs to stop being world police and take care of America.

    February 25, 2014 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  16. drake mallard

    The fat cats in DC need to cut their salaries, benefits and pensions while they are at it. I know, I won’t be holding my breath for that one!!. (They vote on their own raises, healthcare, and pension plans, and we are left with the bill)

    Over 10 Percent Of America’s Largest Companies Pay Zero Percent Tax Rates

    Tax dodging costs the U.S. about $300 billion per year. Much of that lost revenue is from individuals, rather than corporations. The country is cracking down on individual tax dodgers and striking deals with countries like Switzerland and the Cayman Islands that will help identify tax cheats starting in 2014. The corporate tax avoidance problem is thornier, as it is generally done through entirely legal methods.

    February 25, 2014 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  17. Tampa Tim

    Just – I think your information is fact free again.

    February 25, 2014 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  18. Anonymous

    deee510
    Republicans like spending in military forces and going to wars because it generates money for rich gun and weapon supply companies.they don't care about our troops or our middle class economy being shredded.America needs to stop being world police and take care of America.
    -–

    The quickest war to find yourself in a war is to show others you are weak and easy prey. History proves this over nad over again. Leftists always disarm the country and invite conflict all over the globe, just as we are seeing now. When the USA leads from behind, or doesn't lead, then the vacuum is filled by others, and they are usually the bad actors around the globe.

    February 25, 2014 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  19. Rudy NYC

    just asking

    Rudy NYC
    Besides, it is not our job to start wars. We're supposed be the ones who end them.
    -

    pretty hard to do with a decimated military thanks to obama. do you think you can just mix up a batch of instant military the next time you need them? it happens every time a democrat gets in the white house. the military gets destroyed. i gues this is the flexibility he was offering putin before the election?
    -----------------------------
    You have a funny way of connecting the dots. You keep adding in extra dots of your own, and reaching conclusions that people never meant, nor even suggested. Read my post. I'd pointed out that money is a problem. Troop morale and just plain old war weariness are problems.

    The right wing has lots of criticisms to hand out to the president, but have yet to offer up any credible solutions. They haven't one solution to any current problems in the world besides a proactive military option.

    February 25, 2014 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  20. Tampa Tim

    We spend more on our military than the next ten countries combined, and still will with these cuts. Despite what republicans say, it is not the end of the world.

    February 25, 2014 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  21. jboh

    I don't see any TEA/GOP posters saying anything about $600 hammers, and $2000 toilet seats. How about all the tanks congressional GOP keeps buying that the Pentagon doesn't want because they don't need them. Much defense spending is little more than corporate welfare that primarily benefits red "taker" states. Sen. Corker's immigration compromise is a prime example. As to showing what easy prey we are, Bush's "most experienced foreign policy team since WWII" did that at Tora Bora by letting Bin Laden escape, and botching Iraq.

    February 25, 2014 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  22. Sniffit

    Post Cold War military budget shrinkage (i.e., during Reagan's presidency) – 36% reduction down to under $400B

    What we're about to witness that has GOPers pretending the sky is falling – 31% reduction down to slightly over $500B (a level that is still $100B+ more than it shrank to under Reagan...and yes, that's adjusted to all be in TODAY's dollars) and with far more active troops as well

    February 25, 2014 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  23. The Real Tom Paine

    -just asking

    Rudy NYC
    Besides, it is not our job to start wars. We're supposed be the ones who end them.
    -

    pretty hard to do with a decimated military thanks to obama. do you think you can just mix up a batch of instant military the next time you need them? it happens every time a democrat gets in the white house. the military gets destroyed. i gues this is the flexibility he was offering putin before the election?

    i guess obama wants to use all of the money to pay for free healthcare and food stamps for all the people he has kept unemployed for years.
    *************
    I seem to remember the first President Bush talking about a " peace dividend" at the end of the Cold War, with reducing bases and troop levels. That policy continued under Clinton, and undoubtably would have continued under Bush 43 were it not for 9/11. In a war being fought with Special Forces and cyber technology, how do we justify large expenditures on ground forces when they are not not needed, and are unlikely to be needed, until the next GOP president decides to send us into another ground war that lasts for 13 years? Russia is not sending troops abroad, in case you've not noticed, so the other part of your " thesis" is wrong as well. In an age of stand-off weapons systems and nuclear carrier battle groups, its not numbers, but quality that counts. We will still have more men and women under arms than most countries, and they will always be better equipped.

    February 25, 2014 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  24. Sniffit

    There is no "disarming" of the country going on and no "exposing us to threats" and no "we're suddenly going to be unable to compete" about it. That is all nothing but pure, absolute, unadulterated NONSENSE. We'll still be spending more than any other country and more than the next 15+ countries combined, will still have the largest standing army, will still have the most and best tech, equipment, vehicles, nukes, etc. What this really is, is the GOP/Teatrolls trying to scare people and create unwarranted resentment because they worry that if military spending in their red states is reduced, they'll have to find some other way of hiding that their conservative economic policies are a complete disaster...you know, as opposed to fluffing their economies with unnecessary military and defense contractor spending and the unnecessary jobs it creates to be making unnecessary equipment. The military is not a "jobs creation program" and is not a viable or sane means of trying to bolster the economy. These guys are exactly what Eisenhower warned us about.

    February 25, 2014 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  25. tom l

    Yes, Timmy, I can say TARP. It's the Troubled Asset Relief Program signed into law by George Bush and utilized by both Bush and Obama. I was against it when it was signed into law. I'm sure you were too. But then you support Obama for "saving Detroit" and he utilized that very same program. So, yes indeed, I can say TARP. How about you? I am very excited to see you respond.

    February 25, 2014 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
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