The junior senator from Florida keeps rising in the polls, but despite his shot in the spotlight, the boy wonder still has yet to strike a reverberating chord when it comes to foreign policy. Posturing from the Rubio camp has inflated a makeshift foreign policy puppet that masquerades as Reagan-ology, back to reclaim American exceptionalism. In reality, the “Rubio Doctrine” is little more than a pedagogical turn on the heels of American exasperation in the face of seemingly endless pomp and circumstance. An unhealthy ignorance, inherent in Rubio’s and other Republicans’ campaigns, festers under the assumption that American greatness can be dredged up with old slogans and party playbooks. While seeking to emulate the prowess of Reagan, Rubio has embraced the lucrative narrative of exponential military growth as the end-all, be-all for international qualms and conflicts.
Back in August, John Ellis Bush gave a speech at the Reagan Presidential Library where he addressed foreign policy and the growing threat of terror from ISIS. The language was cushy, and focused on “support,” “international aid,” and “diplomacy” as solutions to halt ISIS and remove Assad. Apart from a few fun memes about ISIS recruiters on Twitter, and the tragic thought of ISIS’ black flag rising from Iraqi cities where American soldiers once died, the speech was an utter bore, which seems to be Bush’s norm: boring, boring, boring. In one of the United States’ most predictable (and fascinating, depending on how you look at it, and depending on whether Russ Baker’s book is factual) first-families, Jeb somehow finds a way to be the worst of the entire lot.
With a father and brother whose administrations were primarily defined by an obsession with all things IRAQ, Jeb seeks to straddle two drifting positions. On the one hand, family ties and allegiance to neo-conservative hawks encourages delicate caressing of the IRAQ invasion, and the expansion of U.S. interest abroad. On the other hand, Bush seeks a Reagan-man reinvention in the hopes that he will be seen as a peace-broker: someone to tear down walls and bring about international calm — “peace through strength; trust but verify.” With unanimity across parties on the failure of the Iraq War, Jeb acts like there is little left in the Bush foreign policy coffers, when the polls say something quite different.