Jeb Bush on Foreign Policy
Republican FL Governor; V.P. prospect
Vladimir Putin is a "bully," Bush told reporters during his European trip in June, arguing that the U.S. needs to send a tangible sign that it is on the side of Poland, the Baltics and other nearby states. The White House hopeful said the U.S. ought to "consider putting troops there" and mentioned expanded military exercises as an example of how American forces might be used.
Consider American policy towards Iran, a nation that has waged a relentless campaign of terror and war-by-proxy against US troops and American allies for more than three decades. The administration believes Iran will become a responsible partner for peace once it signs up to a deal that largely leaves in place its nuclear infrastructure. In a region that is in a near-constant state of conflict--with Iran as a primary instigator--this approach is foolish. It is clear that nothing will deter President Obama from a potentially risky agreement that may well allow Iran to intimidate the entire Middle East, menace Israel, and, most of all, threaten America. Instead of projecting American determination and leadership, Obama has either withdrawn from the stage or chosen to trust our enemies.
I have doubts whether this administration believes American power is such a force. Under this administration, we are inconsistent and indecisive. We have lost the trust & the confidence of our friends. We definitely no longer inspire fear in our enemies.
The great irony of the Obama Presidency is this: Someone who came to office promising greater engagement with the world has left America less influential in the world.
The United States has an undiminished ability to shape events and build alliances of free people. We can project power and enforce peaceful stability in far-off areas of the globe. To do so, I believe we need to root our foreign policy in a set of priorities and principles.
Jeb Bush sought to arrange a meeting between his father and exile leaders. He called for economic sanctions that would "tighten the noose on Castro." And he questioned the Justice Department's prosecution of a Cuban militant who had already been incarcerated in "Castro's jail for 23 years."
Jeb Bush also sought a promotion for an Army colonel who he noted could become the first United States general of Cuban origin. The president's staff thought better of acting on that request. "Armed Services promotion board reacts very negatively to any sort of political pressure, perceived or otherwise," wrote one of his father's top aides.
In the fall of 1970, he enrolled in a class called Man and Society, which featured seminars on "poverty, conflicts (violence) and power structure." At the conclusion of the course, students were given the option of spending the winter trimester either in South Boston or central Mexico. Bush chose the warmer locale. It was a decision that would change his life.
The trip to Mexico was designed to introduce a small group of students to another world, a village with an indigenous population where Andover boys would help build a cinder-block schoolhouse. Bush said at the time that he went to Mexico to learn Spanish and study the culture [but the 17-year-old Bush also met his future wife on that same trip].
|Where George W. Bush, Jeb Bush, and George Bush Sr. agree on Foreign issues|
|Where they disagree:||George W. Bush||Jeb Bush||George Bush Sr.|
|Immigration:||Focus on guest workers||Focus on comprehensive reform||Focus on voluntary action|
|Multilateralism:||Opposes U.N.||Wary of isolationism||Eventually embraced U.N.|
|China:||Wary of China||Cooperate with China||Embrace China|
|Global Warming:||Opposes Kyoto||Skeptical on Kyoto||Negotiated Kyoto|
"I would argue that instead of lifting the embargo we should consider strengthening it again to put pressure on the Cuban regime," Bush told cheering supporters at a gathering of the US Cuba Democracy PAC, a pro-embargo advocacy group.
Bush did not spell out proposals for strengthening the embargo. But he implied that he wanted to reverse travel rules made by President Obama that allow Cuban-Americans to make unlimited trips to visit relatives. "Thousands of people travel to Cuba from the US , spending billions of dollars," Bush said. "Would lifting the embargo change the fact that the government receives almost all of the money that comes from these well-intended people that travel to the island?"
In calling for a foreign policy laced with "humility," Bush echoed his brother's call in 2000 to have a "humble" foreign policy. A year later, the US became far more interventionist after the 9/11 attacks, which ultimately helped lead the nation into invading Afghanistan and Iraq.
Bush said Obama failed to accomplish any of these goals: "It undermines our credibility in the world. Our allies don't trust us. And our enemies don't fear us. There is no situation worse for stability and peace than that," Bush said. "The iron rule of superpower deterrent is 'mean it when you say it.' And it has been broken by this president."
Bush also blamed Obama for "gutting the military and our intelligence capabilities in a world where these asymmetric threats are real." Bush concluded that "in every one of those four or five principles of foreign policy I would say that the president's let us down." In explaining Obama's failures, Bush noted, "you need to lead, and reacting is not leadership."
Back in 2012, [one pundit wrote in] Foreign Policy: "The next Republican nominee will need distance both from George W. Bush's foreign policy and from Mitt Romney's campaign. Even Jeb Bush--particularly Jeb Bush--would have to look like he was taking a very different approach to foreign policy than his brother."
Even as he sharply criticized President Obama for his handling of foreign affairs and health care, Bush made clear that he would run against the style of politics that has characterized recent Republican nominating contests.
He was more willing to criticize Obama, naturally. "Leading from behind is so odd to me," he said of the president's foreign policy. And he said it was absurd for Obama to be "doing a victory dance" over the enrollment of seven million people in his new health care program given what Bush considers its deep structural flaws.
"He showed a lot of knowledge about foreign policy that he must have been working hard to acquire," said Ari Fleischer, the former White House Press Secretary and a board member of the RJC, noting Bush discussed diplomatic challenges presented by countries like Ukraine, Russia and Moldova. "He was very rough on the president in terms of his handling of foreign policy, referring to the dangers of 'American passivity.'"
The son and brother of presidents, Bush cautioned the Republican party against "neo-isolationism," a line universally understood as a shot at Rand Paul. Bush also pushed back on Democratic attacks that whenever a Republican calls for a more activist foreign policy that they are "warmongering."
Fast forward. Over 62 years, not that long in historical terms, Korea now is a first-world country. Korea has the highest literacy rate of all the countries in the world. Korean moms and dads, some of them, save everything they have, to assure that their children get tutorial help. When Pres. Obama was in Korea a year ago, he asked, "What is the big challenge that you face in Korea today?" it's that parents want to start English in 4th grade instead of 5th grade, and it's creating enormous political pressure on the system. But If you make a command-focused commitment to education, you can change the course of a country's future.
For his part, Bush said that he will continue making contributions to the development of bilateral ties and economic cooperation between the two nations.
In Miami, when the exile community speaks, Jeb listens. For years, he has listened--and then acted.
Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, the city was the nexus of anticommunist activism in Central America. Jeb, who spoke their language fluently. Jeb, who accepted without reservation their need to overthrow leftist governments and hunt down and kill leftist rebels. Jeb, who would show up in a guayabera shirt at rallies, chanting "Libre! Libre!" with everyone else.
Jeb, in contrast, not only majored in Latin American studies but actually lived for the better part of two years in Venezuela without the accoutrements of officialdom. Whether this results in a different overall direction or merely a more competent version of the same old story cannot be known.
Overall, though, it is hard to imagine that the basic thrust of American diplomacy would be terribly different. Jeb would have far more knowledge of this hemisphere, but countries in South and Central America need to understand that this is not necessarily a good thing. It's not enough, for example, to be a democratic nation. You must also then vote for pro-capitalist leaders.
Just about every structure was off of its foundation. There were people literally walking through the street with very little clothes on and starving. "With tears in his eyes, the son of President-elect George Bush presented candy and gifts today to brighten the Christmas of children injured in Armenia's earthquake," read the article. "This is probably the greatest Christmas gift I could give myself or my own," Jeb was quoted.
"The best thing about that was Gorbachev telling me afterwards that when Jeb went to church in Armenia and shed a tear there, it did more for the US-Russia relationship than anything I could possibly imagine," Dad recalled.
At the time George H. W. Bush was CIA director. The US sanctioned terrorism against Cuba and routinely trained commandos to infiltrate the island. Jeb, who planned to run for governor of Florida, represented a rabid anti-Castro constituency, a voting bloc that held his father's anti-Castro actions at the CIA in the highest esteem. Jeb's public support for paroling Bosch further enhanced his standing in the Cuban community, which considered Bosch a patriot in exile and honored him for his murderous bombings around the globe. At this son's behest, George Bush intervened to obtain the release of the Cuban terrorist from prison and later granted Bosch US residency.
President Bush endorsed Sharon's offer to withdraw from Gaza and parts of the West Bank in exchange for concessions on settlements. Palestinians criticized the plan. Gov. Bush said, "This new US policy, I think, will bring about the chance of lasting peace far better than the current status quo. And if there's any attempt to impose a different vision, the US is committed to intervene and provide support to the state of Israel."
American foreign policy is adrift. Conservatives have criticized the incoherent policies of the Clinton Administration. They have also resisted isolationist impulses from within their own ranks. But conservatives have not confidently advanced a strategi
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