Bear-hugging his bro might get Jeb Bush through the primaries, but he'll never get through a general election by resting on Dubya's "accomplishments."
If Jeb Bush is elected president, the United States won’t be on speaking terms with Cuba and will partner more closely with Israel. He’ll tighten sanctions on Iran and urge NATO to deploy more troops in Eastern Europe to counter Vladimir Putin. And he’ll order the U.S. military to root out “barbarians” and “evildoers” around the globe.
Far from running from or playing down the views once expressed by his brother George W. Bush, Jeb Bush is embracing them — and emphasizing them.
He is especially concerned by Russia’s Putin, who he told Hewitt is “a ruthless pragmatist” who “tries to undermine or underwrite the risk on every action he takes.” To counter Putin’s threats against the Baltic states, Bush said last month, Obama should consider invoking Article 5 of the NATO treaty, which states that an attack on one ally is an attack on all allies.
“I think there needs to be clarity in Moscow that we’re serious about protecting the one alliance that has created enormous amounts of security and peace in the post-World War II time,” he said, adding later that “if we’re not serious about Article 5, then we ought to have shut down NATO. And I think shutting down NATO would be a disaster.”
“By creating this perpetual negotiation . . . we’re lowering what our expectations are and the Iranians are doing nothing in return,” he said last week in Denver, just days after the agreement was announced.
When it comes to Iraq, Bush is mostly supportive of his brother’s legacy there.
“There were mistakes in Iraq for sure,” he said during a speech in Chicago in February. “Using the intelligence capability that everybody embraced about weapons of mass destruction, it turns out to not be accurate.”
But in that appearance, he also called the 2007 Iraq troop “surge” “one of the most heroic acts of courage politically that any president’s done.”
“It was hugely successful and created a stability that when the new president came in, he could build on to create a fragile but more stable situation,” he said.
Every Republican running for the 2016 nomination should be disqualified for their full-throated embrace of the Cheney/Bush foreign policy. But none more than Jebbie himself, who is simply recycling exactly what voters rejected in 2008.