Presidential hopeful Jeb Bush made sure his foreign policy included a plan to defeat ISIS, but also found a way to blame President Obama and the Clinton administration for the terrorist group’s existence in the process.
The brother of former president George W. Bush spoke to supporters at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library this week to share his take on foreign policy. Bush revealed his plans to embed more U.S. troops into the Iraqi force, end President Bashar al-Assad’s regime, and impose a no-fly zone in Syria, a move that has already been attempted by the Obama administration.
Calling the president’s approaches “short-sighted,” Bush said his plan will work to keep the regime on their toes and end senseless deaths at the hands of ISIS. CNN reports:
The Republican presidential candidate also sharpened his attacks on President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for supporting the withdrawal of U.S. combat troops from Iraq, a decision that he said was made out of “blind haste.”
“So eager to be the history-makers, they failed to be the peacemakers,” Bush said. “Rushing away from danger can be every bit as unwise as rushing into danger, and the costs have been grievous.”
“Defeating ISIS requires defeating Assad, but we have to make sure that his regime is not replaced by something as bad or worse,” he said, adding that he would “draw the moderates together and back them up as one force.”
The idea of a no-fly zone, or a “safe zone,” for the Turkish-Syrian border has been around since 2013. President Vladimir Putin repeatedly rebuffed the tactic, concerned with retaliation from ISIS. Russian lawmakers also called the move a “disrespect for international law.”
In July, there were reports of a no-fly zone or safe zone in the area, but they were quickly shot down. John Allen, the retired U.S. general in charge of anti-jihadist plans, addressed the alleged zones on July 23, when he announced American planes would be in use at Turkey’s Incirlik Air Base to defend attacks from Syria and Iraq. His announcement was misconstrued along with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu’s statements about “natural” safe zones in the area.
Bush’s ideas have been compared to those of his brother and father, George Sr. But in a foreign policy speech in February before he announced his presidency plans, Jeb assured the audience and critics he was his “own man.”
When it comes to blaming ISIS on the Bill Clinton administration, Jake Sullivan, a former top advisor for Clinton, called Bush’s move a way to rewrite history.
In a call with reporters, Sullivan tied the roots of ISIS back to the Bush administration and said the group did not grow “out of a vacuum” but rather out of al Qaeda in Iraq, which sprung up because of the Bush administration’s invasion of Iraq and subsequent mistakes, like disbanding the Iraqi army and banishing Sunnis who later became insurgents, he said.
Bush has tried to separate himself from his brother’s legacy by explaining his foreign policy will not mirror that of George W. After struggling with criticism, Jeb recently admitted he wouldn’t have invaded Iraq, calling it a mistake.