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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Rubio votes against Syria strikes



Sen. Marco Rubio just voted against a resolution authorizing President Obama to use military force against Syria, a notable development given his strong views on interventionism. The resolution passed the Foreign Relations Committee 10-7.

Rubio has been a hard-line voice against Syria, Egypt and other Middle East hotspots. But in explaining his vote this afternoon, he said he had never been for military engagement. At the same time, the Florida Republican has called for arming Syrian rebels.

Though his vote puts him in step with Sen. Rand Paul, another possible 2016 presidential candidate, Rubio said he does not agree with the isolationist view Paul espouses. The U.S. can't solve every crisis, Rubio said after the vote, but must be a leader. If not, "we will pay a terrible price."

Rubio's statements in recent days hinted at his vote. Last night on CNN, he said:

"I’m concerned that no matter what we do at this point we are not going to get the outcome that is in our national security interest. I think military intervention is one of the tools in the toolbox of our foreign policy. I’m just concerned that there is no military intervention at this stage that could actually lead to that possible outcome. For example, what the President is advocating is basically a symbolic action. By his own admission he’s called it a ‘shot across the bow.’ And now they are saying the stated purpose is to prevent Assad from using weapons in the future, but I’m not sure the type of strike that they have in mind would do that. Assad is using these weapons because he is trying to survive, I mean literally survive both physically and politically. I don’t think three days’ worth of missile strikes is going to dissuade him from doing whatever it takes to survive in the future. And so, I think that is a problem that we face. Look, I hate to keep going back to this point, but we may have reached a point now where there is no good outcome possible in this conflict, and again, it is the direct result of the mismanagement of this administration.”

[Last modified: Wednesday, September 4, 2013 4:26pm]


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