Senator Rubio Discusses Future of U.S. Foreign Policy “For this century is a time of tremendous challenge. But it is also a time of tremendous promise. This is indeed the world America made. And it is freer ......
rule by the consent of the governed must be responsive to the material needs and demands of their people, they are less likely to engage in costly confrontations that harm their economies and deprive their people of the opportunity to improve their circumstances.
The expansion and success of political and economic freedom is critical to our interests in every region of the world, and nowhere more so than in our own hemisphere. It is no coincidence that the rise of economic prosperity in the Western Hemisphere directly coincides with the democratic gains of the previous two decades. Mexico, Peru, and Colombia are three examples of nations that have weathered the global economic downturn in a stronger position than ever.
Our goal for our own region should be pretty straightforward: a coalition of neighboring democratic nations that trade freely and live peacefully with one another.
Other than overcoming our own past indifference and lack of focus on this goal, there are two other challenges. The first is Venezuela's and the other ALBA countries' overt anti-Americanism. They make a lot of noise, and we can't ignore their anti-democratic abuses or their growing closeness to Iran.
But our greater challenge really is a second more subtle one. That is the efforts of some nations to replace our influence with their influence and to use of protectionism and other unfair practices to pursue that aim. The antidote for both is to reengage energetically in the region.
First, we must be a clear and consistent advocate for freedom. To be free isn't limited to holding elections; it's a way of governance. And in Venezuela, Nicaragua, Bolivia and Ecuador, elected leaders have used their power to undermine fundamental freedoms by attacking the press, the courts and their political opponents.
Second, we need to commit to being a reliable partner as our neighbors cope with significant security challenges. Both Mexico and Colombia, they need our continued commitment to win their respective wars against criminal organizations. And we must also make it abundantly clear that we will not tolerate Iran exporting violence and terrorism to our hemisphere.
Third, we must reject protectionism and instead embrace the ultimate goal of a free trade area of the Americas. The recently approved free trade agreements with Colombia and Panama was a good step. We need to move forward to bring both Canada and Mexico into the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
And fourth, we should move aggressively to form a strong energy partnership with Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Colombia, and a post-Chavez Venezuela. A stable Western Hemisphere displacing an unstable Middle East and an increasingly belligerent Russia as the center of the world’s energy production would create countless jobs for Americans and energy security for the world.
In Asia, the question of whether China's rise will be peaceful and respectful of their neighbors is one of our biggest long-term challenge. We must make it abundantly clear that we are firmly committed to our defense agreements and firmly committed to our allies to freedom of navigation