Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney wants to arm the Syrian rebels, but the man being touted as his most likely choice for a running mate, Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) isn’t so sure that Romney’s course is right for America. In an interview with The Cable, Rubio said, "The most important thing we can do in the short term is help them help themselves become a more effective fighting force and a more accountable one. And I think once that happens [arming the rebels]would be an option.” "Where we could be most helpful to them is that we could be providing them with logistical support, medical support, and humanitarian support, which will allow them to become more cohesive in their fighting capabilities," the Tea Party favorite continued.
Not surprisingly, Rubio’s position is remarkably similar to the tack already publicly being promoted by President Obama. As The New American has reported, however, behind the scenes it seems that the White House has directed the CIA to take a more substantial albeit secretive role in facilitating the flow of weapons to the forces opposing Syrian President Assad. As our Alex Newman writes:
Even as the United Nations and human rights groups warn that the Western-backed jihadist rebels are committing war crimes and slaughtering Christians in Syria, reports indicate that President Obama has signed a secret order purporting to authorize even more “covert” U.S. government support to the armed opposition. Multiple establishment press outlets reported the latest development citing official sources, indicating that the administration likely released the news for a purpose.
According to media reports, Obama’s latest secret “intelligence” order claims to grant the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and other U.S. government agencies even broader latitude in supporting the “revolutionaries.” But Western governments, brutal Sunni-Arab dictatorships, an assortment of terror groups including al-Qaeda, and other powerful interests have all been backing the uprising since long before violence even broke out last year.
Rubio, reports The Cable, worries that there’s no way to control where weapons sent to Syrian opposition forces will ultimately end up. "Once they become more responsible and establish a chain of command so that the weapons aren't going to be used for ill-intended purposes and we know they have control over the supply chain, then I think we can explore arming the rebels," Rubio said.
Romney doesn’t seem so concerned, however. During a foreign policy debate sponsored by the Brookings Institution, former Bush administration official and current Romney advisor Richard Williamson clarified his boss’s position on the Syrian question: "[Romney has] said we should be willing to arm the moderate opposition," Williamson said. "He's said repeatedly he'd be willing and support arming the moderate factions within the opposition."
The Romney 2012 website sets out the sum of their man’s Syrian policy position:
The United States must recognize Syrian strongman Bashar al-Assad for what he is: an unscrupulous dictator, a killer, and a proxy for Iran. For far too long, the Obama administration held out hope that it could negotiate with Assad to stop his violent crackdown on pro-democracy protestors. It even labeled him a “reformer” while he was turning heavy weapons on his own people. Mitt Romney holds no illusions about Assad’s character or about Iran’s interest in maintaining a client regime in Damascus.
Mitt Romney believes the United States should pursue a strategy of isolating and pressuring the Assad regime to increase the likelihood of a peaceful transition to a legitimate government. We should redouble our push for the U.N. Security Council to live up to its responsibilities and impose sanctions that cut off funding sources that serve to maintain the regime’s grip on power. We should work with Saudi Arabia and Turkey to call on Syria’s military to protect civilians rather than attack them. This effort would aim to drive a wedge between Assad and his military, minimize violence, and increase the possibility that the ruling minority Alawites will be able to reconcile with the majority Sunni population in a post-Assad Syria. And we should make clear that the United States and our allies will support the Syrian opposition when the time comes for them to forge a post-Assad government.
Notably, in that declaration Romney subtly advocates the surrender of American sovereignty by committing to take his cues from the globalists at the United Nations. Such a remark could be interpreted as a preemptive statement of intent to violate the presidential oath of office wherein the president swears to “preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States.”
Mitt Romney’s source for international advice on dealing with Syria isn’t confined to the United Nations, however. Although it has not been widely reported, during his recent overseas trip, Romney received an intelligence briefing from John Sawers, the head of MI6, the British Secret Intelligence Service. “I appreciated the insights and perspectives of the leaders of the Government here and the opposition here as well as the head of MI6 and as we discussed Syria and the hope for a more peaceful future of that country,” Romney told a British newspaper.
Despite some differences of opinion with Romney in regard to arming the Syrian rebels, however, Rubio locks step with Romney when it comes to his deference to the United Nations. In a video message addressing the Syrian “problem,” Rubio said:
I’ve been talking about the situation in Syria for weeks, and at a time with so many problems here at home, people ask, "Well, why should we care?" Well, here’s why we should care: because the single greatest risk to American security in the Middle East is Iran, and Iran’s number one ally is Syria. And the loss of Assad and the Assad regime would be a devastating blow to Iran and their plans to hurt the United States.
But here’s the second reason why we should care: innocent women, children and civilians are being massacred every single day in the streets of Syria. Now everyone says, "Let’s rely on the international community to deal with it." The problem is the international community is being held hostage by China and Russia, two countries that appear to want to reserve the right to do the same thing to their people if things get out of hand in their own country. That’s why they just vetoed a United Nations Security Council resolution condemning the Assad regime. Every time that’s been tried, they have blocked it. These countries are an impediment to the international community dealing with this issue once and for all.
All the Syrian people are asking for is support in our voices and in our activities, and they deserve that. America needs to be on the side of freedom, democracy and human rights in every single case. We’re seeing dividends of that already in Libya, where a free election just elected a pro-American, pro-Western government in charge in Libya. It’s going to be much harder to recruit anti-American jihadists in Libya in the future because of the critical role America played — although had we played it sooner, that transition would have happened much quicker and less destructively.
Romney isn’t expected to announce his VP choice until the Olympics are over, giving Marco Rubio about 10 days to adjust his views on those few issues on which he and the man at the top of the ticket disagree.