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What You Need to Read in Jeb Bush’s Foreign Policy Address

Jeb Bush’s “Right to Rise” PAC sends along a transcript his remarks to the Chicago Council on Global Affairs.

The headline of the speech was his assertion of independence from his presidential brother and father:

“Look, just for the record one more time, I love my brother, I love my dad, I actually love my mother as well.  I hope that’s okay.  And I admire their service to the nation and the difficult decisions that they had to make. But I’m my own man and my views are shaped by my own thinking and my own experiences.”

https://youtube.com/watch?v=JYAXncCzbG8%3Frel%3D0

But beyond that predictable stance, Bush laid out a few concrete policy positions. 

This portion was perhaps the most substantive criticism of the administration, and one that at some point Hillary Clinton will be forced to address:

“Prevention of nuclear weapons in Iran was once a unifying issue with an American foreign policy. Leaders of both parties agreed to it. When he launched his negotiations, President Obama said that was the goal – stop Iran’s nuclear program. Now we’re told the goal has changed and the point of these negotiations isn’t to solve the problem, it’s to manage it.

Does any Republican in the field believe that Iran can be permitted a nuclear program? And if not, what do they want to do about it?

And the portion on Netanyahu’s speech seems like just the right tone to emphasize the unreasonable hostility of certain Congressional Democrats and the Obama administration:

“I want to take a moment to talk about the controversy surrounding Bibi Netanyahu’s joint session speech to Congress that’s coming up in the first week of March. I for one am really eager to hear what he has to say. Israel is not at the negotiation table with Iran, but it has lot at stake. I don’t blame him for wanting to share his views.

“In fact, I think it will be important for the American people to get the perspective of our closest ally in the region. I am surprised that the administration is upset to hear from a close and valuable ally on such a sensitive topic. If we want to build confidence and trust of the American position we have to listen.

This portion on energy policy is a bit intriguing….

Modernizing the oil economy in Mexico, making sure that we have — that we don’t stifle the energy revolution in our country, and coordinating ll of this with our strongest trade partner, Canada, will yield a economic powerhouse in this region that could compete with any region in the world.

But it’s not clear how Bush or any American President can get the Mexican government to modernize and/or privatize a state-run oil industry that serves the Mexican government. It’s a fine goal that’s more difficult than it sounds; the ones with the power to change the industry are the ones who benefit the most from the status quo. 

Bush can and will receive pushback on this point about domestic surveillance from other Republicans, particularly Rand Paul:

That requires responsible intelligence gathering and analysis, including the NSA metadata program, which contributes to awareness of potential terror cells and interdiction efforts on a global scale.

For the life of me, I don’t understand the debate has gotten off track where we’re not understanding and protecting — we do protect our civil liberties but this is a hugely important program to use these technologies to keep us safe.

The speech garnered quite a bit of praise.

The full speech, below.

Tallahassee, FL- The following remarks are transcribed as delivered by Governor Jeb Bush:

“Thank you, Craig. Thank you very much.  It is a joy to be here I was expecting to have 100 people come. So it is a little intimidating, with all our friends from the press as well, but Columba and I are delighted to be here.  Ambassador Daalder, thank you for the invite.  Secretary Paulson, it’s always good to see you.

“And many of my friends here in Chicago, it’s a joy to be here. This shows our commitment, both my wife and I, our commitment to Illinois when the Floridian leaves Florida in February.  Thank you very much.

“I want to thank the members of the Chicago Council who have served in the military. Your service and the service of the men and women that are currently serving is an inspiration to all of us in the Bush family. My goal today is to explore how America can regain its leadership in the world. And why that leadership is more necessary than ever.

“American leadership projected consistently and grounded in principal has been a benefit to the world. In the post-World War Two era, the United States has helped hundreds of millions of people out of poverty, secured liberty for an equal number, and has been a force for peace and security.

“Only our exceptional country can make that claim. This has happened because our presidents, both Republican and Democrats, have accepted the responsibilities of American power in the world with the belief that we are a force for good.

“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 and confidence of our friends. We definitely no longer inspire fear in our enemies.

“The problem is perhaps best demonstrated by this administration’s approach to Iraq. We have had 35 years of experience with Iran’s – excuse me, Iran –

 35 years of experience with Iran’s rulers. They have attacked the United States and American troops directly and through their surrogates. They have used terror as a tool of intimidation.

“Today, four world capitals are now heavily influenced by Iran and its proxies, Bagdad, Damascus, Beirut and Saana. Iran’s ambitions are clear in its capabilities are growing. For many years they have been developing long range missile capabilities in their own nuclear weapon program. And during those years America has opposed those efforts.

“Yet the Obama Administration has launched negotiations in which the goal has shifted. The administration no longer seeks to prevent nuclear enrichment. Now it seeks merely to regulate it.

“Prevention of nuclear weapons in Iran was once a unifying issue with an American foreign policy. Leaders of both parties agreed to it. When he launched his negotiations, President Obama said that was the goal – stop Iran’s nuclear program. Now we’re told the goal has changed and the point of these negotiations isn’t to solve the problem, it’s to manage it.

“Iran’s intent is clear. Its leaders have openly expressed a call for the annihilation of the state of Israel. This is an existential threat on Israel and to the world, including the United States. We could face large-scale proliferation issues throughout the region if Iran has the ability to launch a nuclear weapon.  Iran’s neighbors will want their own nuclear capability because of this existential threat.

“No wonder some Democrats in Congress have lost confidence in this administration’s efforts as it relates to Iran. Congress should pass bills to reinstate sanctions in advance if negotiations fail, and require approval of any agreement should one be reached.

“My hope is that this administration is able to rise to meet this defining foreign policy issue of our time. But so far it appears that they’re unequal to the task. And look elsewhere in the region, in the globe.

“Everywhere you look, you see the world slipping out of control. We see the rise of non-state terror organizations, like ISIS, Boko Haram, Al Qaeda still growing in certain parts of the world. We see the breakdown of states like Iraq and Syria, the rise of tribalism and warfare of unspeakable brutality. The beheading of Egyptian Coptic Christians two days ago.  The wiping out of millennia-old Christian communities in Iraq and Syria, the beheading of Americans, Japanese and Europeans, all graphically displayed for us to watch on video.  And the burning alive of a Jordanian pilot. Some of the worst violence is perpetrated by radical Muslims against other Muslims.

 “We reset with Russia, then it invades and subverts its neighbors.  We see the new threats of cyber warfare challenging our national security and our businesses. In Asia territorial conflicts loom under the surface.

“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 work to restore American’s leadership in the world will take a concerted effort. The commitment of new leaders and a sure sense that American is often at its best when it’s tested.

“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 global. To do so I believe we need to root our foreign policy in a set of priorities and principals. Of course, we must look to the challenges of specific regions, and nations, each situation will require its own approach but we must not lose sight of the bigger picture.

“Today I want to outline those principals which will make that possible and help America return to the responsibilities that come of being the world’s leading power.

“I come to these issues with a great deal of thought and experience. One of my most formative experiences is when my wife Columba and I, at the age of 24, accepted the responsibility of opening up a rep office in Texas commerce banking in Caracas, Venezuela.

“We had an 18-month old, now George P. Bush, Land Commissioner George P. Bush, and Noel, and we went down there.  And Caracas was this booming place. And we lived overseas. We lived outside of our beloved country.

“We learned how to use something that our parents used diapers because Pampers cost a dollar a pamper, believe it or not, I and I didn’t make enough money at the time to be able to provide for that. That was okay except we got water one hour of like three times a day.

“And so while we had these personal challenges which were exciting beyond belief, we also saw America from the outside. We saw Venezuela moving away from the United States as part of the so-called nonaligned nation’s movement and I represented the bank in the Indian Pack countries, and many of them were pulling away as well.

“I lived oversees in the Carter era where we saw firsthand what it was like to see the United States this incredible country loose respect of countries, because of a weak and vacillating foreign policy.

“Later on as governor, I had the chance to lead 15 trade missions.  And given Florida’s footprint in the Western Hemisphere, I was actively involved in trade immigration and security issues in the region. We led the largest delegations for example of any state in the — from the United States to Mexico where 500 people participated or Brazil or Argentina.

“I visited Israel five times. And in those — in those meetings I’ve had the incredible joy of seeing the spirit of Israel.

“On my highlight reel of life, whenever it’s complete, I will have a trade agreement signed by the Secretary of Commerce of the state of Florida, Jeb Bush, and Arial Sharon.  It was one of the greatest joys of my life to do that.

“I’ve seen the extraordinary technology of our strongest ally in the region being able to create prosperity, turn Israel into a first-world country. And if you go to Israel, as many of you I am sure have, you see the incredible geography. Geography we take for granted here.

“Big countries with oceans as our borders, have a totally different mentality than a country that is literally ten miles away from countries all around the region, most of whom have never even accepted Israel’s right to exist.

“Since leaving office as governor, I’ve had the chance to travel a lot more.  In fact, I forced myself to go visit Asia four times a year to learn about the dynamic nature of the region.  It’s a long way from Miami.

“Asia is a dynamic region because it’s modeled its rise on our American capitalist system and used — turned it into an uniquely Asian experience.  And yet, our allies in the region watch with anticipation because of a lack of consistent American engagement in that region. As well in the rise of the Chinese ambition.

“I have seen firsthand the difference of power of the American commerce, American leadership and American values. As you might know I’ve always been fortunate to have a father and a brother who helped shape American’s foreign policy from the oval office. I recognize that as a result my views will often be held up in comparison to theirs. In fact, this is a great fascinating thing in the political world for some reason. Sometimes in contrast to their views.

“Look, just for the record one more time, I love my brother, I love my dad, I actually love my mother as well.  I hope that’s okay.  And I admire their service to the nation and the difficult decisions that they had to make. But I’m my own man and my views are shaped by my own thinking and my own experiences.

“Each president learns from those who came before, their principals, their adjustments. One thing we know is this: Every president inherits a changing world and changing circumstances.

“In the 1991 Gulf War time frame hardly anyone knew that the Internet existed or that — or who Al Qaeda was. In 2003 at the beginning of the liberation of Iraq, neither Twitter nor ISIS existed.

“New circumstances require new approaches. So I want to share with you my own sense of the approaches that I think are necessary today. These are the principals I believe will be critical to put American back on the path of firm global leadership.

“First, America can’t be a force for peace and security in the world if our economy doesn’t grow over the long haul. Our aspiration should be 4 percent growth for as long as the eye can see. Imagine a country that would be growing at 4 percent. The middle would begin to see rising income.

“We would be significantly more optimistic about the future. Americans would think their children would have more opportunities again than what they had. And if we fix a few big, complex things, we can do that. In fact, we’re one of the only countries in the developed world that could make that assertion and execute on a plan to make that happen.

“The big things we need to fix is how we regulate, how we tax, how we get our fiscal house in order of course, reforming a broken immigration system and turning it into an economic catalytic converting for sustained economic growth.

“How we transform our education system and how we make sure that we move our training programs into the 21st century. All of these things are important.

“Fixing our entitlement system which will overwhelm all of the long-term spending that is so important to sustain economic growth, infrastructure and research and development will never be able to get back to the levels it needs to get for us to be competitive in the world unless we fix our entitlement problems over the long haul.

“We need to focus on trade and make that continue to make that a core principal of economic vitality in our country.

“Congress should give the President trade promotion authority as he completes the transpacific partnership and the transatlantic trade and investment partnership.

“The good news as I said, is that we probably are the only country that could make this assertion, and if we were serious about it, become young and dynamic and emerging again. Whoever created the terminology of BRIC would have to change the name, because the United States would be in that category if we got this right and our role and confidence than of being a power for peace and security would be sustained over the long haul.

“One other thing about our economic progress that directly ties to foreign policy, in our mist today is an energy revolution that is perhaps the most exciting news that we have.

“It is possible for America to be energy secure with North America resources in relatively short order. If we created a strategy around this, we would create economic activity and hundreds of billions of dollars investment in our own country, but we would also have the lowest cost source of energy for consumers, the lowest cost source of energy to reindustrialize the country, and play a play a significant role in dealing with countries that use their oil for blackmail, for political purposes.

“As we grow our presence by growing our ability to produce oil and gas, we also make it possible to lessen the dependency that Russia now has on top of Europe, and lessen the dependency of other countries, and lessen their economic might, whether it’s Venezuela, Iran or Russia by focusing on this economic strategy.

“Modernizing the oil economy in Mexico, making sure that we have — that we don’t stifle the energy revolution in our country, and coordinating all of this with our strongest trade partner, Canada, will yield a economic powerhouse in this region that could compete with any region in the world.

“One final point about economic growth: Free people, free markets, free ideas, implemented faithfully will set a powerful example of what’s possible to the rest of the world. As people lose confidence around the world of capitalism and the democracy that under pins capitalism, they move in different directions.

“If they see America at its best, growing with a tremendous prosperity, they will emulate that system, and that will bring about a more peaceful world.

“The second principal that I believe in is that there our words and actions must match. So that the entire world knows that we say what we mean and mean what we say. There should we no gap there.

“This administration talks, but the words fade. They draw red lines and then erase them. With grandiosity they announce resets and then disengage. Hash tag campaigns replace actual diplomacy and engagement. Personal diplomacy and maturity is replaced by leaks and personal disparagement.

“The examples keep piling up. President Obama called ISIS the junior varsity four days after they took Fallujah. And when they comprised a fighting force of more than 200,000 battle tested men.**  

“President Obama dismissed Russia as merely a regional power one month after they fomented and participated actively in the violent takeover of Eastern Ukraine.

“And as his administration is lobbed leaks and personal insults to Prime Minister Netanyahu and his cabinet with incredible regularity. And all of these actions we see a careless disregard to the long-term interest of American and the world.

“Instead, what see is an effort to try to win the political news cycle.

“I want to take a moment to talk about the controversy surrounding Bibi Netanyahu’s joint session speech to Congress that’s coming up in the first week of March. I for one am really eager to hear what he has to say. Israel is not at the negotiation table with Iran, but it has lot at stake. I don’t blame him for wanting to share his views.

“In fact, I think it will be important for the American people to get the perspective of our closest ally in the region. I am surprised that the administration is upset to hear from a close and valuable ally on such a sensitive topic. If we want to build confidence and trust of the American position we have to listen.

“Foreign policy should be a place where our long-term security interests are front and center. In the political hacks should be doing the campaigns and staying there. We should strive to make it bipartisan again. A president needs to set a strategy to be clear about it, not overcommit or overpromise, but always strive to deliver.

‘The third principal is that the president’s word needs to be backed up by the greatest military force in the world. I grew up politically, I guess in the 80s where I got to watch Ronald Regan and my dad with incredible people serving by their side, in a bipartisan fashion I might add. And the slogan that I thing drove the foreign policy of the 80s was peace through strength.

“In military power must be rebuilt to provide for the common defense is a primary duty of government under the constitution. Due to budget cuts and the sequester because of the dysfunction in Washington, we are on the path of only spending two and a half percent of GDP on defense by the end of this decade. This is really dangerous.

“The president should call on leaders of both parties to fix the budget and to address the short falls in our defense spending. He should show leadership and a commitment to solving this problem. And the next president should launch a strategic review of our military strategy so that we meet 21st century needs with a 21st century defense capability. Then we should fund that strategy, rather than the other way around.

“Our military is not a discretionary expense. It is an essential asset to keep the homeland safe and for the world to be a more secure place. After all the use of military power is one of the most serious decision as president has to make. Having a military that is equal to any threat is not only essential for the commander in chief, it’s also makes it less likely that we’ll need to put our men and women in uniform in harm’s way.

“Because I believe fundamentally, weakness invites war; strength encouraging peace.

“The 4th principal is an engaged America that needs to strengthen the alliances and relationships that fosters security in the world. In the post-World War II era, we’ve relied on these alliances in ways that have been understated perhaps for the American people, but they have been a huge part of the reason why there has been a peaceful world where people have had a chance to rise up.

“America again needs to lead and we can’t do it along we need to strengthen NATO. Our relationship with Asian and Pacific allies like Japan and Korea and Australia as well as the Asian countries, and rebuild stronger ties, as I’ve mentioned, in our own neighborhood, particularly with Mexico and Canada.

“We have to rebuild our relationships with allies and key relationships in the Middle East, including the Persian Gulf states and of course Egypt. We will not be successful unless we invest in the much needed coalitions and partnerships and develop the personal relationships that make it possible to garner worldwide support for the great threats that we face today, most particularly radical Islamic terrorism around the world.

“Ultimately the goal should be this: Others should want America as a friend. There should be no comfort, no success and no future standing against the United States in alliance with people that believe in freedom.

“Fifth, while certain nations will always seek to challenge our country, we must be prepared to address the new asymmetric non-state sponsored threats that now kind of consume the news but more importantly have emerged as perhaps the greatest security threat that we now to face for our own homeland.

“These threats as I — as we see come nearly every day, they come in the form of some of the most evil and horrific barbaric acts on innocent life. Passengers on an airplane or a subway, office workers, shoppers at a grocery market or congregates at a synagogue, children at a school, cartoonists at their drafting tables, or Christians simply practicing their faith. Al Qaeda, ISIS, Taliban and others set their sights on the softest of targets, exploiting the freedoms of the West to attack western life.

“We must be prepared for a long-term commitment to fight this battle. These attacks require response on many levels, but most of all we should focus on preventing them.  That requires responsible intelligence gathering and analysis, including the NSA metadata program, which contributes to awareness of potential terror cells and interdiction efforts on a global scale.

“For the life of me, I don’t understand the debate has gotten off track where we’re not understanding and protecting — we do protect our civil liberties but this is a hugely important program to use these technologies to keep us safe.

“It requires close coordination with allies and a rigorous homeland effort including border security. The threats of the 21st century will not be the same as the threats of the 20th and it is critical that we adapt to this challenge.

“Finally, I believe our foreign policy must be routed in a critical principal. Let’s call it the liberty — let’s call it liberty diplomacy. America at it’s founding declared that the power in our country rested with the individual and not the other way around. And that individual’s liberty was natural and self-evident.

“We enshrined the idea of free speech, of free press, free markets, and the inalienable right of religious freedom. America’s experience affirms the power of human liberty. Not just because America has thrived, but because the world has thrived from it as well.

“I think of the example of Dr. Ho-Wang Lee of Korea. In the midst of the Korean War, in the 1950s, he fled the North to fight alongside American troops for the South.

“When the war was concluded, he studied medicine and set his life to the exploration of human disease and cures. And he succeeded. His work led him to identify and isolate Hantavirus, and then develop a vaccine for the disease.

“America’s defense of Korea was not without sacrifice. The war some historians say ended in a draw. But don’t tell that to Dr. Lee, and don’t tell that to the millions of Koreans whose freedom is assured because of America’s commitment even today.

“In 60 years, America, Korean has gone to perhaps the most desolate poorest country on the face of the earth to being a first world country with no illiteracy rate, and rising income, and world class businesses that have embraced Korean technologies to make them global competitors.

“Look, the stakes should not — could not be clearer. And for those who doubt me, just consider the testimony of the very few people who escape the moderate concentration camps of North Korean.  Our commitment to Korea will bear fruit for generations. And Dr. Lee’s work — the lives he saved, and the potential of millions like him all over the world, in Europe, in Africa, in Asia, tens of millions of people can tell their own story of American goodness, of a life saved, of a life liberated, of a life of freedom.

“Because America chose to lead. America chose to sacrifice. And America chose to be freedom’s greatest defender.

“We do this work for others and we also do it for ourselves because time and time again we have learned that if we withdraw from the defense of liberty elsewhere, the battle of eventually comes to us anyway.

“In our cities and our streets and in our skies, the enemies of freedom will never be content to live in our — in their own dark corner of the global. They must eventually strike out at America, and they often do.

“America does not have the luxury of withdrawing from the world our security and/or prosperity, and our values demand that we remain engaged and involved in often distance places.

“We have no reason to apologize for our leadership, or our interest in serving the cause of global security, global peace and human freedom.

“Nothing and no one can replace strong American leadership.

“Thank you all very much. I appreciate the chance to be here.”

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