Sen. Marco Rubio delivered foreign policy remarks targeted at the younger attendees at the Conservative Political Action Conference, hyping the idea of American exceptionalism and pledging that it was possible to make this the "new American century."
Rubio on Thursday was explicit about speaking to the "young people" in the crowd at the Gaylord National Convention Center in Oxon Hill, Md., just outside the Capital Beltway.
"While we are facing true challenges and real obstacles, there isn't a single nation on earth I'd rather trade places with," Rubio said, addressing those who had been born after Ronald Reagan's presidency in the 1980s. "I am convinced that despite the bad leadership we are getting today, we are on the verge ... on a new American century."
The Florida senator said he is pressing for an "unapologetic" foreign policy sustained by strong economic growth.
"We do not have the luxury of seeing the world we hope it would be. ... We have to address these issues before they become unmanageable, and they affect not just our freedoms but our economy," he said. "We have a president who believes by the sheer force of his personality he would be able to shape world events."
Ticking off various foreign policy threats -- Iran's nuclear program, North Korean and Chinese belligerence, and Russia's confrontational moves against the West -- Rubio asked the younger people in the audience to imagine what the world would look like if conservatives did not implement their foreign policy ideals.
"I want you to extrapolate what the world looks like in 10 years ... if you inherit a world where North Korea could [strike] California or the West Coast with a nuclear weapon," Rubio said. "There is only one nation on earth capable of rallying and bringing together the free people of this planet ... and that is ours."
Without stronger American involvement in world affairs, Rubio argued, a more dangerous world would result.
"It doesn't mean we can solve every conflict ... Without American engagement, the world I just explained to you is not just a possibility, it is a real probability," he said.