The past few days may have been chock full of more strategy-derailing posturing and political theatre than we wanted or deserved, but hidden between the folds of intra-party fighting was a nugget of relevancy that we should dust off when we resume debates over who deserves to serve as our next post-cycle whipping boy Presidential candidate.

Senator Marco Rubio (F-FL) took to the Senate floor for a palate cleanser on foreign policy, and it was impressive. The video below is 43 minutes long, but hit play and let it serve as background sound for your Sunday afternoon internet binge:

Senator Rubio recently engaged fellow Senator cum Presidential contender Rand Paul (R-KY) during a committee meeting over an amendment sponsored by Paul that would limit the regions to which American soldiers could be deployed to fight ISIS.

Paul, a critic of recent Republican and Democratic foreign policy, argued that inserting language in the AUMF that would limit the fight to Iraq and Syria would keep the effort from involving the nation in “a worldwide war.”

He was also critical of the AUMF applying to “associated forces.” Paul cited a group called Terrorism Research and Analysis Consortium that lists 60 jihadist groups that are allied with ISIS in 30 different countries.

“There is a tendency for executives from both parties to abuse this wording and to make it mean anything they want,” Paul said, adding that the authorization is too open-ended with out a geographic limit.

Paul said that if ISIS moves beyond the limit, Congress can revisit the issue and vote to broaden the fight.

Rubio said the amendment would be too limiting because he believes ISIS could quickly redeploy itself to another location, such as parts of Libya where they are entrenched.

Rubio and Paul aren’t the only ones bolstering their international cred for the upcoming cycle—Texas Governor Rick Perry has also spent a lot of time working with past Administration officials to give his foreign policy chops more gravitas amongst the growing sea of contenders. I want to see more debates and speeches like this because, especially now, it’s important that the Republican nominee demonstrate not only an understanding of America’s place in the world, but of the world’s place in America.

Progressives are pushing for a more “international” (read: less American) America, but we need a leader who values an international perspective within the context of our Constitutional republic. Strategic depth in both domestic and foreign policy is going to be important for candidates in 2016 not only because of rising conflicts in the Middle East, Africa, and Eastern Europe, but because President Obama has done otherwise irreparable damage to America’s reputation as a global leader.

Foreign policy may not be a #1 priority of voters, but it should be a priority for candidates whose goal is to actually be successful if they do eventually make it to the Oval Office.


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