In May 2012, Senator Marco Rubio gave a speech to the Council on Foreign Relations in New York outlining a humble foreign policy. “I don’t want to come across as some sort of saber-rattling person,” he said, “because I’m not.”
Three years later, the Florida Republican will return Wednesday to the venue for the first major foreign policy speech of his presidential campaign, where he is expected to complete a dramatic shift from moderate to ultra-hawk.
The evolution began early in 2014 as Rubio was working to repair his standing with the Republican base for supporting immigration reform. Within a year and a half, he was publicly taunting America’s enemies in South Carolina, quoting Liam Neeson’s character in the action film Taken: “We will look for you, we will find you, and we will kill you,” he boasted.
The shift has materialized in rhetoric as well as policy. Back in 2013, the senator opposed an increase in military funding without spending cuts to other programs; this spring, however, he proposed a budget amendment to boost defense spending without any corresponding cuts.