Sen. Marco Rubio, whose muscular foreign policy doesn’t hesitate to exert U.S. influence or military might around the world, revved up an audience in South Carolina recently by referring to a line from the movie thriller “Taken.”
That’s the one where actor Liam Neeson vows to track down the people who had kidnapped his daughter. The same approach should be applied to global terrorists, said the Florida senator and presidential candidate.
“We will look for you,” Rubio went on, “we will find you, and we will kill you.”
A simple applause line from a Hollywood blockbuster says a lot about Rubio’s foreign policy, which has been central to his rise in Washington. It’s an approach that puts Rubio, a first-term Republican from West Miami, Fla., in the mainstream of his party’s thinking. But he’s also shown himself willing to go further than even his hawkish colleagues, and in some cases – such as his push-back on administration policy on Cuba – when there might not be a political advantage to doing so.
“What differentiates him from the rest of the field?” asked Christopher A. Preble, vice president for defense and foreign policy studies at the Cato Institute, a Washington think tank. “They’re all hawkish – just not to the extent he is. He’s a very strong supporter of intervention generally, and supported the use of force by President Obama as well as President Bush, even at a time it wasn’t politically popular.”
Rubio has, he said, “an aggressive enthusiasm for intervention abroad.”