Jeb Bush's Tough Talk on Foreign Policy

Praises famous father and brother, but says "I am my own man."
31:16 | 02/18/15

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Transcript for Jeb Bush's Tough Talk on Foreign Policy
And you are watching live an event in Chicago there in just a few moments the spotlight will be on former governor Jeb Bush who will lay out his foreign policy platform should. He went for president next year why he is saying quote I. And my own man. Good afternoon everyone analyst at her in New York bush confronting what could be eye shadow hanging over his chances. If Hugh bonds for president speaking to the Chicago council. On global affairs and while we continue to monitor that event let's first check in with ABC's political. And I understand he's taken this podium now let's head back to Chicago. Thank you correct thank you very much it is a joy to be here I was expecting to have a hundred people come. It's a little intimidating or friends from the press as well but that Klum and I are delighted to be here. Ambassador daalder thank you for the invite. Sector it also 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 a 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 in 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 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 principle. Has been a benefit to the world. In the post World War II 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 re popped 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've had 35 years of experience with Iran excuse me Iran. 35 years experience with the rams rulers they have attacked the United States and American troops directly and through their circuits. They have used terror as a tool of intimidation. Today. For world capitals are now heavily influenced by Iran and its proxies. Baghdad. Damascus Beirut and sonong. A rans ambitions are clear in its capabilities are growing. For many years they have been developing long range missile capabilities. And their own nuclear weapon program. And during those years America has proposals 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 nearly to regulated. Prevention of nuclear weapons. In Iran was once a unifying issue with them win in American foreign policy. Leaders of both parties agree to it. When he launched his negotiations President Obama said that that was the goal stop a rams nuclear program. Now we're told the goal has changed. And the point of these negotiations isn't to solve the problem. Is to manages. Rans intent is clear its leaders have openly expressed. A call for the annihilation of the State of Israel. This is an existential threat to Israel and to the world including the United States. We could face large scale liberation issues throughout the region. If ran couldn't it has the ability to launch a nuclear weapon rants neighbors will want their own nuclear capability because of this X substantial threat. No wonder some Democrats in congress have lost confidence in this administration's efforts as a 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 crisis folk who are from 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 on video in the burning alive who would of a Jordanian pilot. Some of the worst violence is for perpetrated by radical Muslims against other Muslims. Weaver sat with Russia and 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 as someone who came to office promising greater engagement. With the world has left America less influential. In the world. The work to restore America's leadership in the world will take a concerted effort. The commitment of new leaders in a sure sense that America is often at its best when it's tested. The United States. Hasn't owned diminished ability to shape events and build alliances a free people. We can project power in enforce peaceful stability and for all areas of the globe. To do so I believe we need to root our foreign policy in a set of priorities and principles. Of course we must look to the challenges of specific regions and nations each situation require its own approach. But we must not lose sight of the bigger picture. Today I want to outline those principles which will make that possible and help America return to the responsibilities that come. Well being the world's leading power. Our come to these issues with a great deal of thought and experience. One of my book most formative experiences when my wife bloom and I at the age of 24. We've accepted the responsibility of opening up a rep office in Texas commerce bank and raucous when a swell. We had an eighteen month old now George P. Bush Lang commissioner George P. Bush. And no well and we went down there and Caracas was this booming place and we lived overseas we lived outside of our beloved country. We learn how to. How to use something that mark or our parents use diapers because Pampers cost of dollar pamper believe it or not and I didn't make enough money at the time to be able to. To provide for that that was the that was okay except we got water. One hour like three times a day and so while we have 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 nations movement. And I represented the bank in the Indian pact countries and many of them were pulling away as well. I lived overseas in the Carter era. Where we saw firsthand how what it was like. The scene the United States this incredible country lose respect of countries because of a weak and vacillating foreign policy. Later on as governor. I had the chance to lead fifteen trade missions. And given Florida's footprint in Western Hemisphere. I was actively involved in trade immigration and security issues in the region. We love the largest delegations for example of any state in. In from the United States to Mexico were 500 people participated. Or Brazil or Argentina. I've visited I've visited Israel five times. And in those them in those meetings I've had the incredible joy of seeing the spirit of Israel. All my highlight real life whenever it's complete I will have. They trade agreements signed by the secretary or commerce of the state of Florida Jeb Bush. And Ariel seraw. It was one of the greatest joys of my life to do that I've seen the extraordinary technology of of art 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'm sure have you see the incredible geography. Geography we take for granted here big countries with we've 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 arm have never even accepted Israel's right to exist. Since leaving office as governor had the chance to travel. A lot more in fact I forced myself to go visit Asia four times a year to Lauren 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. They turned it into a uniquely Asian experience and get our allies in the region watched with anticipation. Because of a black of consistent American engagement in that region as well in the rise of the Chinese. Ambitions are seen firsthand the difference. A power. And power of American commerce American leadership in American values. As you might know I've also been fortunate to have a father and a brother who helped shape America's foreign policy from the Oval Office. I recognize it 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 theirs. Look just for the record or more time I love my brother. I love my dad. Actually love my mother is well that's okay. And I admired their service to the nation in the difficult decisions that they had to make. But I'm my own man in my views are shaped by my own thinking in my own experiences. Each president learns from those who came before. Their principles. Their adjustments. One thing we know is this every president inherits a changing world and changing circumstances. In ninety 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 neither Twitter or crisis existed. New circumstances. Require new approaches. Song wanna sure with you my own sense of the approaches that I think are necessary today. These are the principles I believe will be critical to put America back on the path of firm global leadership. First. America Canty a force for peace and security in the world our economy doesn't grow over the long haul. Our aspiration should be 4% growth fours off for as long as CI NC imagine a country. That would be growing at 4%. 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. Then what they had. In if we fix a few big complex things we can do that in fact one of the only countries in the developed world that could make that assertion and exit 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 as this system and turning it into an economic catalytic converter for sustained economic growth. How we transform our education system and how we make sure that that we are we move our training programs into the 21 century all of these things are important. Fixing our entitlement system. Which will overwhelm all of long term spending that is so important to sustain economic growth infrastructure and research and development. Will never be able to get back to 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 principle of economic vitality in our country. Congress should give the president Trade Promotion Authority. As he completes the trans Pacific partnership in the trans Atlantic partnership and investment transatlantic trade and investment partnership. The good news is 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 in emerging again. Whoever created the terminology. Of Brecht would have to change the name. Because the United States would be in that category we got this right. And are rolling confidence then of of being a a power for peace and security. Would be sustained over the long haul. One other thing about our economic progress that are the directly ties the foreign policy. In armored enormous 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 American 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'd also have the lowest cost source of energy for consumers. The lowest cost source of energy to re industrialized the country. And 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. In lesson there are other economic might. Whether it's Venezuela or ran or or Russia. Bye bye. Focusing on this economic strategy modernizing. The oil economy of Mexico. Making sure that we have that we don't stifle the energy revolution in our own country and coordinating all this with our strongest trading partner Canada. Will yield a 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 the democracy that'd that underpins 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'll bring about a more peaceful world. The second principle that I believe in is that 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 be no gap there. This administration talks. But the words fade. They drawl red lines. In the race. With Randy our city they announced resets. And then just to gauge. 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 crisis the junior varsity. Four days after they took Fallujah. And when they comprise a fighting force of more than 200000. Battle tested now. Pres Obama dismissed Russia. As merely a regional Power One month after they fomented in participated actively in the violent take take over of eastern Ukraine. And his administration has lobbed leaks and personal insults. To prime minister Netanyahu and his cabinet with incredible regular. And all of these actions we see a careless disregard to the long term interests of America in the world. Instead what we 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 I'm really eager to hear what he has to say. Israel is not at the negotiation table with Iran but it has a lot at stake. I don't blame him for wanting to share his views and in fact I think it will be important to the American people to get the perspective of our closest ally in the region. I'm surprised that the administration is upset to hear from a close and valuable I'll allies on such a sense of the 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 over commit or over promise but always strive to deliver. The third principle is that the president and 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 eighties where I got to watch Ronald Reagan and in my dad. With incredible people serving by their side in a bipartisan fashion I might add. In the slogan that that I think drove up the foreign policy of the eighties was pieces through strengths. And 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 sequester because of the dysfunction in Washington. More on the path of only spending two and a half percent of GDP. On on defense it 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 shortfalls 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 meat when he first century needs. With H when he first 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's via Morse more secure place. After all the use of military cars one of the most serious decisions the president estimate. 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 will need to put our men and women. In uniform in harm's way. Because I believe fundamentally. Weakness. Invites war. Strength. Encourages peace. The fourth principle is an engaged America. That needs to strengthen the alliances and relationships that Foster 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 is beyond a peaceful world war where people had a chance to rise a and America again needs to lead and we can't do it alone. We need to strengthen NATO our relationship with. Asian and Pacific allies like Japan and Korea and Australia as well as the Osce on countries. And rebuilt stronger ties as I've mentioned in our own neighborhood particularly with Mexico and Canada. We have to rebuild our relationships with allies in 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. Eight that 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 per prepared to address the new a symmetric non state sponsored threats that now. Gonna consume the news but more importantly are or have emerged as perhaps the greatest security threat that we now face for our own homeland. These threats. As I as we see come nearly every day they come in the form of so the most evil and horrific and barbaric acts on innocent life. Passengers on on a airplane or a subway office workers. Shoppers at a Kosher market or congregants at a synagogue. Children at a school. Cartoonists. At their drafting tables. Or Christians. Simply practicing their faith. Al-Qaeda crisis 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 meta data program. Which contributes to awareness a potential threat potential terror cells in 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. Any rigorous homeland in effort including border security. The threats of the 21 century will not be the same as the threats of the twentieth and it is critical that we adapt to this challenge. Finally I believe our foreign policy must be rooted in a critical principle let's call the liberty. Pistol at liberty diplomacy. America at its 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 enshrine the idea free speech. A free press free markets. In the inalienable right of religious freedom. America's experience a firm months 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 doctor ho wing 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. In set his life to the exploration. Of human disease and fewer words and he succeeded. His work led him to identify and isolate hanta virus. 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 doctor Lee. And don't tell that to the millions of Koreans whose freedom is assured because of America's commitment even today. In sixty years America Korea has gone from perhaps the most desolate porous 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 clear. And for those who doubt me just consider the testimony of the very few people who escaped the modern concentration camps of North Korea. Our commitment to Korea will bear fruit for generations in doctor Lee's work. He lived the lives he saved in the potential of millions like him all over the world. In Europe and Africa in Asia. Tens of millions of people can tell their own story of American goodness of life of a life saved. A life liberated. Of a life of freedom because America chose to lead. America chose to sacrifice. In 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 eventually comes to us anyway. In our cities in our streets. And in our skies. The enemies of freedom will never be content to live in the door in our own in their own dark corner of the globe 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 our prosperity. And our values demand that we remain engaged and involved. In an off and often distant places. We have no reason to apologize for 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 appreciate the chance to be here. Talking foreign policy before the Chicago council on global up Beers be understandable now. You following this with a mini Q in a session but now let's check in with ABC's political director Rick Klein who is joining us live from Washington. Now Rick it. No surprise here with his speech bush wasted no time blasting President Obama and not holding back. Now heap praise to his family his famous father and brother but they said quote I am my own man read between that line there for us. This is the single biggest challenge the Jeb Bush is likely to face including in the Republican primary. The fact that we have this living memory of the two other presidents bush the fact that both of those presidents engaged in a war in Iraq with some mixed very famously mixed results. Jeb Bush is going to be compared to his father and to his brother just about anywhere you caught it and the same time that he is declaring his independence. His campaign or his campaign waiting releasing a list of twenty. Aides and advisors on foreign policy that includes some of the bold face names of both bush administration's everyone from George Schulz and James Baker. Up through Paul Wolfowitz so a lot of old bush names still part of the circle. And Jeb Bush whether he likes it or not going to have to answer for a whole lot doubled his dad and his brother did as president. And Rick and that speech obviously foreign policy was the main topic but is it just me or did he can't jump all over the plea can try to squeeze in a little bit of everything without taking a breath. Wouldn't you take away from this. This seemed more like an op Ed that was being read aloud rather than a speech and I think Jeb Bush is probably spend some time. Working on his speech delivery for awhile people of cover for a long I have always said. He's better in a one on one or Q&A format that he is delivering a formal speech he's got a lot of time to work on this but it did not seem like there were many passionate lines in the air one thing I noticed a term that he appears to have appropriated here called liberty diplomacy. I have a feeling we're here that again a lot not entirely her from the speech what it means in terms of its foreign policy. He's gonna have time to flesh these things out but is debuts go I'd say this was less than smashing. And it also today his office unveiling his foreign policy advisors there are twenty names on that list. I'm sure you've had a chance to go over that list from that list what names stand up to you. Well as I just mentioned the fact that you go back to the George H. W. Bush years and George Schultz is now at age 94 war. I James Baker the former secretary of state. A lot of the old hands of the Republican foreign policy. Establishment what there Dick Cheney's former chief of staff and then again Paul Wolfowitz witches and in a lot of people underlining it certainly in this he was an architect of the neo conservative policy that let us into the Iraq War. Back in 20022003. So I think it's an attempt by Jeb Bush did to bridge. Both schools of thought the neo conservatives is mad as as well as the folks were associated. With his father's time in office and to say he's looking for a different path but a lot of those names are also lightning rods and people are making the point. That's not yet you can state it that your your own man but he's still talking to a being advised by a lot of the friends that that are that are very close to his father and his brother so. I think it's going to be a difficulty for him to swear and then add to that the fact that just about anyone has anybody. In Republican foreign affairs has worked for one of the president's bush if you're over the agency 35 pretty much our definition you would have worked for him if you were involved or one of them if you were involved in this world so Jeb Bush. Obviously benefits a lot from the family he can be a drag it times people he's surrounding himself. Early on very familiar names. And last question for you as you noted quite a few obstacles will this issue be a tough sell for him at the end of the day voters have the last say. The Americans believe and in 2016. No doubt outlook even at or even in the Republican primary. The bush name means a lot to Republican presidential. Electors voters people that are in the primary caucus is is no question the bush may mean something doesn't mean something good now. A lot of folks remember that Iraq War they remember the foreign policy. Missteps they also remember the economic missteps in the fact that we have the worst economic crisis since the depression under his Brothers time in office so. Jeb Bush is benefiting in the sense of of him being the next guy up all the big fund raisers the big donors the big thinkers that are part of his campaign in waiting now. But he is going to be judged by the records of his dad and his brother in the cases rather a one of the main arguments against them will be it's just too soon we just had another bush we know that. Barbara Bush his Mother's Day just. Flip flopped on the questions as there there might be room for another bush but it's not clear that Republican. And primary voters or general electorate are making the same decision. Thank you so much ABC's political director Rick Klein in Washington think you for your insight. And of course you can keep up would this story in real time by downloading the ABC news happened starring this story. For exclusive updates. Long ago for now analyst at her. In New York.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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