Jeb’s Foreign Policy Speech Hits the Right Notes

 

Jeb Bush’s foreign policy speech yesterday aimed at the exact center of the Republican Party, and it was sure to please. I was cheered by his rejection of both Obama’s disastrous withdrawal from U.S. leadership in the world and Rand Paul’s misguided libertarianism. Over the next few months, he will have to show that he has the chops not only to brush aside neo-isolationists, but also to take on Hillary Clinton and a more left-wing opponent.

Perhaps the most heartening takeaway from the speech was his rejection of misguided libertarianism in national security. In a part of the speech that received less attention than others, Bush described the National Security Agency’s metadata collection program as “hugely important.” He said, “For the life of me, I don’t understand the debate” over the program, despite the cries of civil libertarians that the NSA is violating individual privacy rights. Paul, for his part, is suing the NSA to stop the program (an odd approach for someone who sits in the Senate and has available the political process to oppose the program).

Bush’s position on the NSA is reasonable, sensible, and in line with the views of a majority of Americans and, one expects, most Republican primary voters. It suggests that he would take similarly reasonable views in keeping Guantanamo Bay and military tribunals open, using the combination of drones and surveillance to pursue al Qaeda leaders, and redoubling measures to pursue al Qaeda. Bush also probably represented the views of a majority of Republicans in criticizing the Obama Administration’s withdrawal from world leadership, its failures in the Middle East, and its shrinking response to Russian aggression in Ukraine and Eastern Europe. “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,” he said. Bush’s call for a reinvigorated American role in world affairs will be popular among Republicans and will hopefully help send Paul and other neo-isolationsts to the margins.

But Bush’s speech also aimed at the low-hanging fruit. He should take the important next step of offering a vision of U.S. foreign policy that will go beyond just reaction to current hot spots. Obama’s foreign policy, and that of Hillary Clinton, suffers not just from its shrinking response to the challenges of world leadership, but its failure to develop and follow a strategy toward world events. President Obama has become a ping-pong ball bouncing from one crisis to the next, trying out policies on the fly, without any broader understanding of central U.S. interests. American foreign policy has ceded the initiative to others because of the White House’s lack of strategic vision.

So what would make sense of Bush’s positions on the wide variety of foreign policy challenges facing the nation? He could begin by returning to the traditional goals of U.S. foreign policy. In order of importance, these have been: 1) defense of the nation’s territory; 2) hegemony in the Western Hemisphere; 3) preventing any single power from controlling Europe or Asia; 4) securing free navigation of the seas and airspace above it; 5) maintaining a liberal world order for our us and our allies that allows free trade and democracy to flourish.

Re-doubling the pursuit of al Qaeda and ISIS — including the NSA programs, drones, Guantanamo Bay, and support for our Middle East allies fighting in Syria and Iraq now — is fundamental because it advances the defense of our homeland. Bush can restore American hegemony in the Western Hemisphere by reversing Obama’s opening to Cuba and pressuring Venezuela to overturn its hostile regime. He can focus our response to Russia’s revanchism and China’s rise in the most effective way by building blocking alliances to balance against their moves toward regional dominance. We must restore spending on the navy, air force, and army because of the importance of maintaining open and free seas and air (secured by American bases and forces in maritime nations), and because free trade helps the American economy and supports friendly democratic regimes. This means renewed spending on defense and, as Bush recognized, reinvigorating economic growth at home to support it.

So let’s give Jeb Bush a B+ for his speech — no grade inflation out here in Berkeley — and consider it a down payment on a deeper vision of U.S. foreign policy.

There are 49 comments.

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  1. Ricochet Member
    Ricochet
    @Manny

    In recent weeks I’ve come to lean toward Jeb.  He’s got the most experience, both domestic and international.  He’s got the connections.  He’s got the gravitas, which alluded his brother.  He’s not a polarizing figure.  He’s middle America.  That may not be the most exciting, but I’m tired of exciting.  We need conservative stability.

    • #1
  2. DocJay Inactive
    DocJay
    @DocJay

    Well Bush’s handlers, speech writers, and image makers have sure convinced you.   What Bush actually believes is not to be known of course but let’s give the hired help a B+ instead.

    • #2
  3. DocJay Inactive
    DocJay
    @DocJay

    Manny:In recent weeks I’ve come to lean toward Jeb. He’s got the most experience, both domestic and international. He’s got the connections. He’s got the gravitas, which alluded his brother. He’s not a polarizing figure. He’s middle America. That may not be the most exciting, but I’m tired of exciting. We need conservative stability.

    ?? He’s the most disliked person on the right by the right.  Indies hate his last name.   The left still despises the family.

    • #3
  4. user_7742 Member
    user_7742
    @BrianWatt

    My questions would be, references to his father and brother aside, could Hillary Clinton have given essentially the same speech?

    Or does Jeb take the opportunity, since it was handed to him, to make any specific criticisms of Hillary’s tenure at the State Department and her culpibility in delivering to us the state of the world we find ourselves having to deal with? I know that might be tough for him, since he has such a high opinion of Mrs. Clinton.

    • #4
  5. Ricochet Member
    Ricochet
    @Manny

    DocJay:

    Manny:In recent weeks I’ve come to lean toward Jeb. He’s got the most experience, both domestic and international. He’s got the connections. He’s got the gravitas, which alluded his brother. He’s not a polarizing figure. He’s middle America. That may not be the most exciting, but I’m tired of exciting. We need conservative stability.

    ?? He’s the most disliked person on the right by the right. Indies hate his last name. The left still despises the family.

    Most hated person on the right?  Then who is donating all the big bucks to his campaign?  You seem to think that a majority of the right are bomb throwing radicals.  Most of the right is not made up of Sean Hannity’s.  It’s made up of Bill O’Reilly’s.  A person from the bomb throwing right hasn’t been elected since I don’t know when.  I’ll even argue that Ronald Reagan took three tries before people were convinced he wasn’t part of the 10% no compromise crowd.

    • #5
  6. user_44643 Inactive
    user_44643
    @MikeLaRoche

    Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

    • #6
  7. user_7742 Member
    user_7742
    @BrianWatt

    Manny:

    DocJay:

    Manny:In recent weeks I’ve come to lean toward Jeb. He’s got the most experience, both domestic and international. He’s got the connections. He’s got the gravitas, which alluded his brother. He’s not a polarizing figure. He’s middle America. That may not be the most exciting, but I’m tired of exciting. We need conservative stability.

    ?? He’s the most disliked person on the right by the right. Indies hate his last name. The left still despises the family.

    Most hated person on the right? Then who is donating all the big bucks to his campaign? You seem to think that a majority of the right are bomb throwing radicals. Most of the right is not made up of Sean Hannity’s. It’s made up of Bill O’Reilly’s. A person from the bomb throwing right hasn’t been elected since I don’t know when. I’ll even argue that Ronald Reagan took three tries before people were convinced he wasn’t part of the 10% no compromise crowd.

    Out of curiosity, who is on the “bomb-throwing right”? What “bombs” are they throwing? And is it your suggestion that Reagan was a “bomb thrower” prior to his eventual nomination?

    It will take more than a “B+” foreign policy speech to remove the negative feelings that the Republican base has about Jeb Bush. His support of Common Core and an amnesty for illegal aliens without any stated commitment to secure the southern border will continue to dog him throughout the primary season. And then there’s that Liberty Medal he conferred upon his friend Hillary…after the Benghazi massacre. Yeah, that was smart.

    • #7
  8. DocJay Inactive
    DocJay
    @DocJay

    Manny:

    Most hated person on the right? Yes, no question….not even close

    Then who is donating all the big bucks to his campaign? People who want favors or owe them

    You seem to think that a majority of the right are bomb throwing radicals. Nope, not even close, far more like the O’Reillys but less narcissistic.

    Most of the right is not made up of Sean Hannity’s. It’s made up of Bill O’Reilly’s. A person from the bomb throwing right hasn’t been elected since I don’t know when. I’ll even argue that Ronald Reagan took three tries before people were convinced he wasn’t part of the 10% no compromise crowd.

    I talk to conservatives of all walks every day.   Indies, moderates, libertarians, religious righties, tea partiers.   Bush is hated.  His name is hated.  It produces a groan from the majority of people when they hear it.   

    • #8
  9. Pilli Inactive
    Pilli
    @Pilli

    Mike LaRoche:Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

    Fool me three times?

    • #9
  10. DocJay Inactive
    DocJay
    @DocJay

    I just asked a liberal psychiatrist 3 minutes ago.  His comment on Jeb’s electability,”not a chance in hell”.

    • #10
  11. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    Thank you for providing information to reinforce my 2000 decision never to vote for another Bush.

    • #11
  12. Ricochet Inactive
    Ricochet
    @KermitHoffpauir

    My mind is open to all candidates albeit I am in fact governor centric.

    The nutter websites are the ones misquoting Jeb and taking anything he has said out of context.  I include Breitbart in that group.  It’s become the Sarah Palin cheerleading section.

    I like Jeb and his prospects of competing for the GOP nomination and winning.

    I like others too.

    • #12
  13. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    Manny:He’s got the most experience, both domestic and international.

    He’s got some of the least experience at standing up to the leftwing hate machine.  Cruz, Walker, and even Perry have that kind of experience.  Bush doesn’t have a bruise on his body to show that he can take it.

    • #13
  14. Palaeologus Inactive
    Palaeologus
    @Palaeologus

    The Reticulator:

    Manny:He’s got the most experience, both domestic and international.

    He’s got some of the least experience at standing up to the leftwing hate machine. Cruz, Walker, and even Perry have that kind of experience. Bush doesn’t have a bruise on his body to show that he can take it.

    Do you really believe that the man didn’t notice the way in which his own brother was treated by the Left? Dubya reached out to Ted Kennedy for cryin’ out loud.

    I’d prefer it if Jeb didn’t run. He will have to tote some serious baggage into the general election, and his presence in the primary will deprive potential talent and money from candidates not named “Bush.”

    But whatever else he may be, Jeb is not a moron.

    • #14
  15. Ricochet Inactive
    Ricochet
    @KermitHoffpauir

    The Reticulator:

    Manny:He’s got the most experience, both domestic and international.

    He’s got some of the least experience at standing up to the leftwing hate machine. Cruz, Walker, and even Perry have that kind of experience. Bush doesn’t have a bruise on his body to show that he can take it.

    What leftist did Cruz face?  Do you mean the guy who actually ushered tort reform through the state legislature not once, but twice,  to be enacted?  Cruz was launched by George P. Bush’s Maverick PAC in 2009.  It opened the doors to major donors for him and why he entered the race with a nice warchest of several million buckaroos.

    • #15
  16. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    Palaeologus:
    Do you really believe that the man didn’t notice the way in which his own brother was treated by the Left? Dubya reached out to Ted Kennedy for cryin’ out loud.

    Yes, that’s the problem. GW Bush kept trying to pander to the hate machine, even if it meant stabbing his own base in the back.  A lot of good it did him.

    • #16
  17. iDad Inactive
    iDad
    @iDad

    Kermit Hoffpauir:My mind is open to all candidates albeit I am in fact governor centric.

    The nutter websites are the ones misquoting Jeb and taking anything he has said out of context. I include Breitbart in that group. It’s become the Sarah Palin cheerleading section.

    I like Jeb and his prospects of competing for the GOP nomination and winning.

    I like others too.

    Cite the alleged misquotes by Breitbart.

    • #17
  18. Ricochet Inactive
    Ricochet
    @KermitHoffpauir

    iDad:

    Kermit Hoffpauir:My mind is open to all candidates albeit I am in fact governor centric.

    The nutter websites are the ones misquoting Jeb and taking anything he has said out of context. I include Breitbart in that group. It’s become the Sarah Palin cheerleading section.

    I like Jeb and his prospects of competing for the GOP nomination and winning.

    I like others too.

    Cite the alleged misquotes by Breitbart.

    He wrote a freaking book about it with Clint Bolick  of Goldwater Institute.  Read it.

    Why do you think all of the writers from when Andrew ran the site either left or were booted?  It’s now run by Palin’s documentarist.

    • #18
  19. Palaeologus Inactive
    Palaeologus
    @Palaeologus

    The Reticulator:

    Palaeologus: Do you really believe that the man didn’t notice the way in which his own brother was treated by the Left? Dubya reached out to Ted Kennedy for cryin’ out loud.

    Yes, that’s the problem. GW Bush kept trying to pander to the hate machine, even if it meant stabbing his own base in the back. A lot of good it did him.

    I guess we’ll just have to agree to disagree.

    As I recall, Dubya didn’t spend much time or effort “stabbing his own base in the back.”

    Maybe that’s just me… naw, it isn’t. It’s just bunk. If I recall correctly (and I do) the man tried to fix Social Security in his second term.

    It’s reasonable to argue that the man made mistakes. It’s reasonable to claim that he didn’t succeed (domestically and/or internationally).

    It is patently ridiculous (i.e. worthy of ridicule) to assert that he stabbed his own base in the back.

    • #19
  20. iDad Inactive
    iDad
    @iDad

    Kermit Hoffpauir:

    iDad:

    Kermit Hoffpauir:My mind is open to all candidates albeit I am in fact governor centric.

    The nutter websites are the ones misquoting Jeb and taking anything he has said out of context. I include Breitbart in that group. It’s become the Sarah Palin cheerleading section.

    I like Jeb and his prospects of competing for the GOP nomination and winning.

    I like others too.

    Cite the alleged misquotes by Breitbart.

    He wrote a freaking book about it with Clint Bolick of Goldwater Institute. Read it.

    That’s not an answer.

    • #20
  21. Ricochet Member
    Ricochet
    @

    Well, well well, Jeb Bush has a robust foreign policy, bashes Rand Paul and likes meta data collection. Who could have guessed?

    And the Bushies come out in support. Another shocking revelation.

    The Jebster may as well be shouting down a sewer pipe for all the impact this speech is going to have. He is unelectable. He is hated and it will increase as his quest to be the third  Republican in a row from one family to occupy the White House plays out.

    Jeb says he is “his own man”. If he was his own man, he’d take a nice job on the private sector.

    • #21
  22. Ricochet Member
    Ricochet
    @

    Bush described the National Security Agency’s metadata collection program as “hugely important.” He said, “For the life of me, I don’t understand the debate” over the program, despite the cries of civil libertarians that the NSA is violating individual privacy rights. 

    He doesn’t understand the debate? What, is he stupid?  Should the debate be translated into Spanish so Bush can grasp more subtleties? Is he unaware of the Constitutional questions? Does he trust the US government that much to dismiss the questions about possible misuse of data and abuse of citizens privacy? Does he trust future administrations with these new powers?

    • #22
  23. Ricochet Inactive
    Ricochet
    @KermitHoffpauir

    iDad:

    Kermit Hoffpauir:

    iDad:

    Kermit Hoffpauir:My mind is open to all candidates albeit I am in fact governor centric.

    The nutter websites are the ones misquoting Jeb and taking anything he has said out of context. I include Breitbart in that group. It’s become the Sarah Palin cheerleading section.

    I like Jeb and his prospects of competing for the GOP nomination and winning.

    I like others too.

    Cite the alleged misquotes by Breitbart.

    He wrote a freaking book about it with Clint Bolick of Goldwater Institute. Read it.

    That’s not an answer.

    Okay Roscoe.  First, it is NOT amnesty.  http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2015/02/19/clint-bolick-jeb-believes-in-amnesty-bill-with-his-absolute-heart-soul/  That is what the lunatics at Numbers USA call it, and in the article cited, the same at Breitbart.  There are penalties and fines for those here illegally and Breitbart is also misquoting the VP of the Goldwater Institute regarding “family reunification”.  Immediate family would be able to immigrate but not chain immigration as is the case now.

    Here is a little tidbit the UNIONS and immigration baiters don’t want you to know.  We do NOT have the necessary millions of skilled blue collar workers inside the U.S. already.  We desperately need immigration caps on legal guest workers expanded.  We have been short on INDUSTRIAL construction labor for at least 15 years running.  Presently were are projected to be short 2 MILLION workers just in Texas and Louisiana by 2017 as all those bright and shiny new plants are built to utilize the glut of natural gas in this country.  $100 billion of that capital investment will be in Louisiana alone and most of it at ground zero of where the U.S. industrial base is being revitalized, Lake Charles.

    Did you know that we CANNOT build and maintain production facilities for offshore oil and gas production for the Gulf of Mexico without guest workers?  Did you know that a very major INDUSTRIAL contractor had to import 4,000 workers from India and the Philippines to Montana to manufacture production modules for a contract with Canadian oil companies?  That is correct, they could not find nearly enough citizens with proper welding skills and able to pass a safety test (drug screen) for jobs with pay ranging from $110 to $180 per hour with guaranteed weekly overtime.

    • #23
  24. Ricochet Member
    Ricochet
    @Manny

    Brian Watt

    Manny:

    DocJay:

    Manny:In recent weeks I’ve come to lean toward Jeb. He’s got the most experience, both domestic and international. He’s got the connections. He’s got the gravitas, which alluded his brother. He’s not a polarizing figure. He’s middle America. That may not be the most exciting, but I’m tired of exciting. We need conservative stability.

    ?? He’s the most disliked person on the right by the right. Indies hate his last name. The left still despises the family.

    Most hated person on the right? Then who is donating all the big bucks to his campaign? You seem to think that a majority of the right are bomb throwing radicals. Most of the right is not made up of Sean Hannity’s. It’s made up of Bill O’Reilly’s. A person from the bomb throwing right hasn’t been elected since I don’t know when. I’ll even argue that Ronald Reagan took three tries before people were convinced he wasn’t part of the 10% no compromise crowd.

    Out of curiosity, who is on the “bomb-throwing right”? What “bombs” are they throwing? And is it your suggestion that Reagan was a “bomb thrower” prior to his eventual nomination?

    Besides the Sean Hannity’s and Eric Ericson’s talk show hosts, there are the Ted Cruz crowd that tries to shut the government down every year and the 25 Congressman who refuse to vote for Boehner.  And how can I forget Sarah Palin?  They seem to show up on talk shows every week and throw political bombs.  I’m tired of the childishness from politicians.  I want a grown up.  That’s real conservativism.

    • #24
  25. user_129539 Member
    user_129539
    @BrianClendinen

    My problem is he wants to centralize education and has been preaching common core for a while now. His policies there are extremely dangerous to democracy and freedom.  His very nuanced and in my opinion fairly reasonable immigration policy I don’t love but I can live with. It is better than arrest and ship 10 million people stance, or the amnesty for all stance.

    I also don’t care that he center right on social issues he won’t veto conservative social issues but neither will he champion them but nor will he try to move us to the left. He is more of don’t  rock the boat.

    However, he was the first of the crop of fiscally conservative reform governs we have had over the last decade and a-half. Actually reducing the government payroll headcount  during a huge population and tax revenue boom in Florida speaks well of him as a true fiscal conservative.

    It is just social issues  are screwing over this nation in the long run.  His power grab in education is a horrible long term strategy and that is why I will vote against him. His social stances are just to weak to overcome his few progressive stances.

    Jindal is very similar to Bush but a little more conservative from what I can tell on social issues, but more liberal on fiscal issues. So I am more on the fence with him.

    In the end if all you care about is a decent foreign policy and someone who will reform the fiscal house and actually stand a good chance at reducing the size of government but maybe not the reach of government vote for Jeb.

    I for one think that is great but we can no longer have a hold pattern on social issue policies in the federal government anymore.  If we are going to see this nation turn around we need reforms that over the long-term push the population to be more conservative.  The federal government needs to move to be more libertarian or Conservative depending on the social issue.

    I also think Jeb would easily win the general election against Hillary. He has a proven track records of moderates and socially moderate Democrats actually liking him in Florida. I think there are a lot of candidates that could beat Hillary so that is not saying much.  However, based on what we know he probably would have the essayist go of it.

    • #25
  26. user_966256 Member
    user_966256
    @BobThompson

    I’m a little suspicious about what’s going on here, how about you, Roscoe?

    • #26
  27. user_966256 Member
    user_966256
    @BobThompson

    I’m concerned about the money and the favors and the Bushies and big government/big corporate handshakes. After all, we have a history here and a few bad signs. We have a number of candidates who project handling foreign policy well and who can be more readily trusted on domestic  issues.

    • #27
  28. user_966256 Member
    user_966256
    @BobThompson

    Doesn’t it seem likely that there is something else in the mix when folks, especially those who have a lot to gain, cannot let go their tunnel vision directed toward one candidate when there are several excellent candidates out there.

    • #28
  29. user_7742 Member
    user_7742
    @BrianWatt

    Manny:

    Brian Watt

    Manny:

    DocJay:

    Manny:In recent weeks I’ve come to lean toward Jeb. He’s got the most experience, both domestic and international. He’s got the connections. He’s got the gravitas, which alluded his brother. He’s not a polarizing figure. He’s middle America. That may not be the most exciting, but I’m tired of exciting. We need conservative stability.

    ?? He’s the most disliked person on the right by the right. Indies hate his last name. The left still despises the family.

    Most hated person on the right? Then who is donating all the big bucks to his campaign? You seem to think that a majority of the right are bomb throwing radicals. Most of the right is not made up of Sean Hannity’s. It’s made up of Bill O’Reilly’s. A person from the bomb throwing right hasn’t been elected since I don’t know when. I’ll even argue that Ronald Reagan took three tries before people were convinced he wasn’t part of the 10% no compromise crowd.

    Out of curiosity, who is on the “bomb-throwing right”? What “bombs” are they throwing? And is it your suggestion that Reagan was a “bomb thrower” prior to his eventual nomination?

    Besides the Sean Hannity’s and Eric Ericson’s talk show hosts, there are the Ted Cruz crowd that tries to shut the government down every year and the 25 Congressman who refuse to vote for Boehner. And how can I forget Sarah Palin? They seem to show up on talk shows every week and throw political bombs. I’m tired of the childishness from politicians. I want a grown up. That’s real conservativism.

    Practice hyperbole much? Most of those you’ve cited prefer to stand on principle rather than be complicit in running up the federal debt or giving Obama a free pass to eviscerate the Constitution and fundamentally transform the country. I think your rage should be directed at the Democrats rather than fellow Republicans. If it weren’t for the Tea Party movement both the House and the Senate would still be in Democrat control. But if you really crave conformity over principle, you may be in the wrong party altogether.

    • #29
  30. DocJay Inactive
    DocJay
    @DocJay

    Brian C, you think Bush would have the easiest time beating HRC? Really? Over other candidates who could run against her? F realsies? You actually mean that? The suspension of disbelief to get to that position is profound.

    • #30

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