Mitt Romney VP Pick: Marco Rubio and Rob Portman Have No Foreign Policy Skills


It is vice president/running mate season again and Mitt Romney is going to have to make that critical decision about who is going to go down in flames with him come November.

Since it has always been my forte, I find it important to weigh the foreign policy stance of a couple of likely candidates for Mitt Romney's running mate, Senators Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Rob Portman (R-Oh.). 

Both senators have been trying to make the case lately that they’d be great for the job. Of course, they’ve been making the all too obvious moves that would be typical of anyone running for office.

Portman took it upon himself, two days after Romney clinched the Republican nomination, to jet set straight to Israel and shake hands with Bibi Netanyahu and Ehud Barak (AIPAC approval, check!). 

First on the priority list, make sure Israel knows we have their back: “This past year has been very turbulent for the Middle East, and my conversation with Prime Minister Netanyahu strengthened my belief that we need to remain vigilant in our support of our critical ally,” Portman said.

Nothing new here, I suppose, but typical and potentially dangerous nonetheless. Rubio has paid plenty of lip service to Israel in the past as well.

Rubio also seems to stand with Romney in his push to get tough on China, and especially Iran and Syria. In a recent address at the Council on Foreign Relations, Rubio stated that people need to begin to be prepared for war with Iran if all else fails. 

On removing Syrian president Bashar Al-Assad, Rubio said “I think there’s no doubt that he can no longer be there, and now the question is what is America’s role in hastening that and making that happen?” 

These sentiments are right in line with many of those in Romney’s hawkish foreign policy team. Rubio also recently addressed the Brookings Institution, making the case for interventionist policies, but completely failing to mention one of our worst blunders in interventionism, the Iraq war.

Portman isn’t much better. In fact, he has virtually no experience as a foreign policy wonk. It almost seems as though he has intentionally stayed out of the international arena, with far more experience in domestic issues than those abroad. 

However, he toes the Republican Party line, which is all they ask for. This lack of experience could explain his trip to the Middle East to try and bone up on the issues, but a week long trip simply won’t cut it.

Most vice presidents aren’t expected to do much anyways, I guess the only thing that matters is whether the country likes Rubio or Portman more. Personally, I don’t like either one of them very much.