An economic jumpstart, a military review and more intelligence collection were among the proposals that former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush put forth in a speech on foreign policy on Wednesday in Chicago. Speaking for about 30 minutes, the potential 2016 GOP candidate referenced his political history but made sure to distance himself from the other Bushes who have held the nation's top office. "I love my brother, I love my dad, I actually love my mother as well -- I hope that's OK -- and I admire their service to the nation and the difficult decisions they had to make," he said. "But I'm my own man."
Steeped in current events, Bush's speech took aim at the Islamic State group, al Qaeda, Boko Haram and the Taliban, among other international extremist groups. The United States has to develop a global plan to "take them out," Bush said, according to NBC News. His speech referenced the Jan. 7 attack on Paris satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, ISIS beheading videos and cyber warfare as further reasons to take action. "Everywhere you look you see the world slipping out of control," Bush said. In order to fix it, he said, the U.S. must restore its leadership.
This starts at home with efforts to expand the economy, he said. If the U.S. economy saw a four percent growth, Bush predicted the middle class could see higher incomes and more opportunities for their children. To achieve those goals, Bush said, Congress should give President Barack Obama the trade promotion authority to negotiate agreements. If the country makes the right moves, he said it could join the so-called BRIC group of economic powers -- Brazil, Russia, India and China. At the same time, Bush said, officials should work to repair relationships with nations like those in the Persian Gulf. "Other countries should want America as a friend," he added.
In dealing with issues like Iran's nuclear capabilities, USA Today reported that Bush said any message out of the U.S. needs to be backed up with sanctions and armed force. He criticized Obama's decision to open relations with Cuba, calling it "the wrong thing to do," and recommended the U.S.'s power be rebuilt through a review of military strategies. "Weakness invites war. Strength encourages peace," Bush said.
He identified another path to safety through data intelligence. Bush came out in favor of the National Security Administration's metadata collection program, which he said gives insight into terrorist activity. To stay safe and prosperous, Bush said the U.S. must stay "engaged and involved" abroad. He also urged bipartisanship in foreign policy focused around what he called liberty diplomacy. "We have no reason to apologize for our leadership and our interest in serving the cause of global security, global peace and human freedom," he said.
Bush recently assembled a 21-person foreign policy advisory team, according to the Washington Post. It includes James Baker and George Shultz, both former secretaries of state, as well as two CIA directors. A Venn diagram highlighting the overlaps between Bush's list and those of his dad, brother and former President Ronald Reagan was circulating Wednesday.