Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

'I Am My Own Man' on Foreign Policy, Jeb Bush Says - Not His Father or Brother

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

'I Am My Own Man' on Foreign Policy, Jeb Bush Says - Not His Father or Brother

Article excerpt

Jeb Bush used his first major foreign-policy speech Wednesday to underscore how he would do almost everything differently from the current resident of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

No surprise there.

But what stood out in the former Florida governor's speech and question-and-answer session at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs was an energetic defense of immigration - and the role he sees it playing in delivering the prosperity that will allow America to remain a force for progress and democratic values in the 21st century.

In the much-anticipated talk, the not-yet-declared 2016 hopeful was to deliver his worldview and offer a glimpse of how he sees America's role in the world. Mr. Bush said America was the one developed democracy with the prospect of being "young and dynamic" and leading from a state of prosperity and optimism - in large part because it is a nation of immigrants.

Immigration is a "catalyst for growth," Bush said, as he described economic prosperity at home as a prerequisite for America leading abroad.

Representatives of the Chicago Council said the Bush speech appeared to attract the largest audience ever for an event sponsored by the foreign-affairs organization. The big topic before Bush spoke was how he would handle the question of his father's and brother's foreign policies, and Jeb Bush did not shy away from the public interest.

He declared himself "lucky" to have family members who have "shaped America's foreign policy from the Oval Office." But, he added, "I am my own man, and my views are shaped by my own thinking and own experiences."

Bush described how his views on national prosperity and democracy had been shaped by the period when he lived with his young family in Caracas, Venezuela, and by his extensive travel overseas in the years since, particularly to Asia.

As if anticipating the questions that would arise in a presidential campaign concerning his brother's unpopular Iraq War, Bush said that no doubt "mistakes were made." But he also lauded the "highly successful" surge strategy of his brother's second term and laid Iraq's subsequent deterioration at the feet of the current president for having pulled US troops out of Iraq too soon. …

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