Among the GOP victories in 2010, none was sweeter than that of Marco Rubio.
The charismatic young Cuban-American challenged Gov. Charlie Crist in a Senate primary, ran him out of the party and swept to victory by 19 points in a three-way race.
Among those mentioned as running mates for Mitt Romney, it is Rubio who generates the most excitement. That he is young, Hispanic and conservative, and his place on the ticket might secure Florida, are the cards he brings to the table.
So it was a surprise this week to see Rubio being chaperoned over to the Brookings Institution by Sen. Joe Lieberman to take final vows as the newest neoconservative.
John Quincy Adams' declaration that America goes not "abroad in search of monsters to destroy," says Rubio, is an idea that he rejects.
A wiser guide, said the senator, is Bob Kagan, Barack Obama's favorite neocon, who calls it a myth that America is in decline and who urges a more robust and interventionist foreign policy.
Rubio says that on arrival in the Senate, he was astonished to find conservative colleagues advocating "withdrawal from Afghanistan and staying out of Libya."
"Today in the U.S. Senate, on foreign policy, if you go far enough to the right, you wind up on the left," Rubio joked.
But is it leftist for senators, after 10 years of fighting two wars, with 6,500 dead, 40,000 wounded, $2 trillion sunk and a harvest of hatred reaped, to think that perhaps it may not have been wise to plunge into Mesopotamia and the Hindu Kush?
"I always start," said Rubio, "by reminding people that what happens all over the world is our business. ... The security of our cities is connected to the security of small hamlets in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia."
This is not a bold new idea. It is an old cliche. We must fight them over there so we do not have to fight them over here.
But it misses a fundamental point. They are over here because we are over there. Osama bin Laden declared war on us because U.S. troops were sitting on the same sacred soil as Mecca and Medina, in his country, Saudi Arabia.
Like most neocons, Rubio is fixated on Iran.
"The goal of preventing a dominant Iran is so important that every regional policy we adopt should be crafted with that overriding goal in mind. ... We should also be preparing our allies, and the world, for the reality that ... if all else fails, preventing a nuclear Iran may require a military solution."
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