Sen. Marco Rubio calls Putin 'weak' and says U.S. must deal with 'China of today'

See the video of Sen. Rubio’s address below, which is broken into five parts.

Sen. Marco Rubio, potential Republican vice presidential candidate, gave a major address on foreign policy at Brookings Institution at noon Wednesday. Human Events obtained an exclusive early release of the speech. It is available in its entirety here.

In his wide-ranging speech, Rubio advocates for a more active and energetic U.S. foreign policy — both as an exporter of freedom and a promoter of capitalism abroad. Rubio repeatedly stresses that American engagement has made the world a better, freer and richer place.

While not as hawkish as some neoconservatives might like, Rubio hits a number of notes that will, undoubtedly, resonate with most Republicans. The Senator argues that, “while there are few global problems we can solve by ourselves, there are virtually no global problems that can be solved without us. In confronting the challenges of our time, there are more nations than ever capable of contributing, but there is still only one that is capable of leading.”

Rubio, who generally avoids taking shots at the Obama administration, will argue that the foreign policy debate had shifted beyond traditional left-right politics: “I found liberal Democrats and conservative Republicans working together to advocate our withdrawal from Afghanistan, and staying out of Libya,” Rubio will explain, though he did found himself partnering with Democrats “for a more forceful foreign policy.”

And it is inarguable that Rubio’s rhetoric will be more “forceful” than that of the White House.

On Russia, Rubio bluntly states that President Putin “might talk tough, but he knows he is weak. Everywhere he looks, he sees threats to his rule, real and imagined. And so he uses state-owned media to preach paranoia and anti-Western sentiments to Russians.”

Rubio assails China’s “curtain of secrecy,” explaining that “we hold out hope for a new China of tomorrow, but for now we must deal with the China of today.” The Florida Senator went on to say that it would be “foolish” to count on China to “defend and support global economic and political freedom or take up the cause of human rights.”

Human Events Reporter Hope Hodge has a wrap-up of the speech here.

Part One: Containing a nuclear Iran

Part Two: U.S. influence in the Western Hemisphere

Part Three: Russian autocracy and free Europe

Part Four: America’s global engagement

Part Five: Ending the crisis in Syria