Of the 2016 GOP prospects, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio is among the most vocal in advocating a robust flexing of American muscle — which has long been the dominant strain of thought within the GOP but one that has faced stiffening resistance from small-government proponents in the Tea Party era…

“Aside from [Sen.] Rand Paul — who has a clear vision and strategy, even if it’s one I disagree with — too often, the Republican Party is reactionary when it comes to foreign policy,” said Michael Rubin, a former Pentagon adviser and scholar on American diplomacy. “I think it’s instincts that matter. With the exception of Rand Paul, no one fits a specific mold. Ayatollah Khamenei and Kim Jong-un are going to have a much greater influence on which candidate becomes a neocon and which candidate becomes a realist than any adviser here in Washington.”…

“A lot of so-called libertarians who supported Ron Paul didn’t necessarily agree with his foreign policy views,” said Jamie Fly, a former official in George W. Bush’s administration and currently executive director of the Foreign Policy Initiative. “It was actually Ron Paul’s foreign policy views that made it difficult to get beyond a certain level of support in the GOP primaries, so my guess is that if Rand Paul has presidential ambitions, he will have to be very careful about what sort of foreign policy views he advocates.”