Marco Rubio, Rand Paul differ on Middle East
Sens. Marco Rubio and Rand Paul â€” in what could be a preview of a 2016 Republican presidential primary showdown â€” are staking out markedly different positions on U.S. intervention in the world, and particularly on American policy toward the Middle East.
Kentuckyâ€™s Mr. Paul, who visited Israel and Jordan in January, is calling for Republicans to adopt a more restrained and less interventionist approach to global affairs, and is embracing the sequester cuts to the defense budget that is sending military hawks into a tizzy.
Mr. Rubio, who visited Israel and Jordan last month, is advocating a more muscular brand of global leadership and observers said it is significant that the Florida lawmaker tapped Jamie Fly, an adviser to President George W. Bush, as a counselor on foreign affairs and national security.
â€œWhat you are getting from Rand is really what he thinks,â€ said James Jay Carafano, vice president of defense policies studies at the Heritage Foundation. â€œWhat you are getting from Rubio is in part Jamie, who is more senior, more experienced, and who is more on the side of the offensive realists.â€
The battle shaping up between the two Republican senators would be Round 2 of the fight that played out last year between Mr. Paulâ€™s father, former Rep. Ron Paul, and the rest of the Republican presidential field. The Texas Republicanâ€™s non-interventionist message hit home with some voters â€” but not enough to give the elder Mr. Paul a realistic shot at the nomination.