Few individuals have done as much damage to this state as Governor Jeb Bush and few families have done as much damage to this country and the global order as the Bush family. Yet in this Trump era, Jeb Bush and his brother, former President George W. Bush as sounding strangely reasonable. Bush’s latest shots at Trump were delivered yesterday in New York and while he claims he isn’t a candidate he sounds an awful lot like one.
Bush’s commentary on Trump and Russia seems to dovetail with that of other neoconservatives like William Kristol, Jonah Goldberg and David Frum (among others). The same cabal of influences who enabled Bush’s brother’s Iraq adventure a war of choice that worsened the geopolitical situation. Iraq was after all a war where close to 4,500 American soldiers were confirmed dead, almost 3,500 American contractors died in the war and tens of thousands of Americans were wounded, some with life-crippling injuries. That’s not to mention the hundreds of thousands of Iraqi’s that died. Thus far we’ve only had one American death in combat on President Trump’s watch but the neoconservative wing of the GOP has decided to make war on the current occupant of the White House.
It’s not that Bush or Frum or Kristol are wrong about Trump – they are not. In fact their arguments about Trump are often more logical, intellectual, sharper and generally less hysterical than the “Trump sneezed and could spread disease, blame the Russians!” type refrain coming from many Democrats and CNN. But one has to think the neoconservative disappointment after hoping to elevate Bush or Florida Junior Senator Marco Rubio to the White House is the major factor in the Trump critiques. The hope of neoconservatives has been to create the type of conflict with Russia that we had during the Cold War, and to scorn Russian allies like the current Syrian government and Iran. President Obama despite taking a hard line on Russia’s invasion of Eastern Ukraine (an ethnically Russian area it must be pointed out) and annexation of Crimea, made attempt to work with the Russians on mollifying Iran’s nuclear program (successfully) and North Korea. Oliver Stone’s remarkable Putin Interviews that aired on Showtime last month reveal a lens into the Russian leader that indicates he had an open line to President Obama where they could discuss matters of importance as “partners” (Putin’s term).
The neoconservative desire to create conflicts with Russia and to intervene militarily in Syria. Through Trump authorized one minor air strike against Syria, it’s obvious now he’s pulling back from confronting the Russian there and that is of concern to the neoconservative wing of the GOP. Therefore it is little coincidence Jeb Bush is trying to appear as a senior statesman either in an attempt to position himself for another Presidential run in 2020 when the field will be cleared of younger aspirants and he’d presumably get Trump one-on-one in the GOP primaries or to articulate the neoconservative critiques of Trump with some sort of “moral authority” ascribed to him in order to weaken Trump’s foreign policy.
Trump very well might be impeached and removed from office. He also more likely will serve a full four years. Right now with the explosive situation in Syria and continued trouble with North Korea, it’s critical Trump and his administration keep an opening to Russia, regardless of how nefarious previous interaction between Trump and the Russians have been. After all Trump might be crazy but he probably wants to avoid a conflict where thousands of Americans got killed on an ideological crusade based on publicly articulated lies. That alone makes him different than the neoconservatives. But Trump does need to be called out for his arrogance, authoritarian instincts, lack of respect for the rule of law and his unwillingness to embrace common decorum.
Jeb Bush might sound logical and like he’s making sense on Trump, but other motives are always at play with Florida’s former Governor. In no way can he be viewed as a credible, objective voice in the resistance toward Trump. From where I sit, Trump is an embarrassment for the nation no doubt, but Tweets do a lot less damage in the long run than bullets and preemptive wars against non-threats that kill thousands of Americans needlessly. The later is the world view Bush and his allies built and continue to advocate for.