The junior senator from Florida has been making noise about the Middle East, warning that the Obama administration has been afraid to go after ISIS because that would upset Iran. Wow, that would be a good reason, except that Iran hates ISIS as much as everybody else. It’s like saying the Allies went easy on Germany in World War II so as not to piss off the Russians.
Yesterday Mr. Rubio had a chance to take his concerns to Capitol Hill and hog a little camera time while grilling Secretary of State Kerry about the nuclear deal with Iran. He thought he could show the rest of us — or at least the GOP base — that he’s ready to take on the world.
Yeah, it didn’t turn out so well. Via Steve Benen:
At the recent CPAC gathering, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), a likely Republican presidential candidate, seemed to stumble on one of the basic facts of the Middle East. “The reason Obama hasn’t put in place a military strategy to defeat ISIS is because he doesn’t want to upset Iran,” the Florida Republican said.
The senator seemed confused. In reality, President Obama has put an anti-ISIS military strategy in place, and that’s fine with Iran, since Iran and ISIS are enemies.
I’d hoped that Rubio just misspoke, or had been briefed poorly but an aide, but apparently not – -at a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing this afternoon, the far-right Floridian continued to push this strange theory, pressing Secretary of State John Kerry on the point. “I believe that much of our strategy with regards to ISIS is being driven by a desire not to upset Iran so they don’t walk away from the negotiating table on the deal that you’re working on,” Rubio said. “Tell me why I’m wrong.”
And so, Kerry told him why he’s wrong.
Rubio went on to insist that many of our Sunni allies in the region – including Jordan and U.A.E. – feel as if we’ve kept them “in the dark” about the nuclear talks with Iran, reducing our “trust level” in the region.
Again, Kerry had to patiently explained to the Republican, “Senator, that is actually flat wrong.”
Honestly, it was like watching a competent teacher trying to explain the basics of current events to a student who failed to do his homework. Andrea Mitchell said the Secretary of State took Rubio “to school.”
Sounds like Marco has a lot of catching up to do.