Jeb Bush on Foreign Policy
Republican FL Governor; V.P. prospect
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."
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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