April 29, 2014 Special Dispatch No. 5723

Leading Saudi Daily 'Al-Sharq Al-Awsat': Jeb Bush Can Return The U.S. To A More Realistic Course

April 29, 2014
Saudi Arabia | Special Dispatch No. 5723

In an article titled "A New President from the Bush Clan" in the London-based daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, Saudi columnist Mamdouh Al-Muhaini supported former Florida governor Jeb Bush as the Republican candidate for the 2016 U.S. presidential elections, and detailed his reasons for supporting him.

The following are excerpts: [1]

"[Former U.S.] president George Bush Jr. relates that, when he decided to run for governor of Texas, he phoned his mother to tell her the good news, and she said: 'Don't try, you can't win.' This unsupportive mother said the same thing in response to reports that her [younger] son, Jeb Bush, may run for president [of the United States]. Again she said that there are other families except the Bush family that can produce political leaders.

"Not a single Republican takes her negative views seriously. In an attempt to minimize her effect on the voters some [Republicans] have described her as having a tendency to put her foot in her mouth. The truth is that Jeb Bush (61) seems to be the leading candidate among the Republicans, who seek to win back the White House and put an end to the Obama era, which has been painful for them. Jeb seems, more than others, to be the strong man who can take on the Democrats and defeat them. Senior Republicans experienced in political campaigns have rallied around him, realizing his ability to compete and win.

"Why this Republican desire to push him forward? There is more than one reason. He exceeds others in his ability to collect funds and donations that will play a large role in the success of his election campaign and will give him momentum and vitality for the long haul. Recently, prominent donors and fundraisers came together to declare their support for him... According to the Washington Post, the top 100 figures who backed [Rebublican candidate Mitt] Romney [in the previous presidential elections] have declared their support for Jeb Bush. Clearly, the reason is the prestige and power of the Bush family, its clout within the Republican party and its far-reaching influential connections. This is why Jeb Bush's name has become prominent, despite his mother's opinon.

"But Jeb Bush is respected by a wide range of Republicans, as well as Democrats, because he represents a moderate line within the Republican party, distant from all those rigid and fanatical [Republican] demagogues who appear in the media and the social networks. Renowned [former U.S.] foreign minister [Henry] Kissinger describes him as an experienced and moderate figure. Let me add that he has experience governing the large and important state of Florida. This is a great advantage which many people note, [especially] after the Obama era. One of the big problems that emerged regarding President [Obama] was that he lacked experience and had never dirtied his hands in the mud of politics and all the quarrels and bargaining this entails. Obama used his considerable powers of rhetoric and his family history to win the presidency. But these are the qualifications of a television star or a preacher, not of the president of the most powerful nation on the globe. One of the central claims made against Ted Cruz, one of the Republicans' [rising] stars, is that he aims to repeat the Obama scenario. That is, run for Congress and use his tongue to win popularity that will swiftly carry him to the White House, without any real knowledge and experience to give him ability and finesse.

"Jeb has this important experience, as well as an understanding of foreign affairs. This is an important advantage the voters will look for in the next elections. Today everyone realizes there has been a significant decline in America's power outside its borders. The shock [of this decline] did not hit the American public after the Assad regime [in Syria] stepped over the red lines drawn by [Obama] several times, but only after the Russian occupation of Crimea. Even people who for years had defended the [Obama] administration's foreign policy [had to] admit its weakness when they saw the Russian tanks rolling across the Ukrainian border.

"Putin, nearly everyone agrees, is stronger and more wily than Obama, not only in his statements and body language but in his actions. A hesitant and apologetic president is intolerable in the eyes of the typical American, who wants a strong and confident president who does not hesitate to [fight] tooth and nail in the defense of America and its interests around the world. Jeb is capable of fulfilling this role. His father [George Bush Sr.] did, and his brother [Goerge Bush Jr.] fulfilled it to excess, according to his critics.

"Jeb [Bush] thus seems stronger than Hillary Clinton, who can only be defeated from this angle. The world is currently in a state of anarchy and needs a strong president to put it in order. America has lost its interests and angered its allies. It needs an experienced president who will restore its influence and appease its friends. [This] makes Jeb the [candidate] with the greatest chances [of winning], even more than Republican [rising] star [Chris] Christie, the governor of New Jersey. Despite his advantages and charisma, [Christie] is not a member of the Bush family and does not have the ability to run against it, nor does he have any experience in foreign relations or any apparent interest [in this field].

"Obama promised [to usher in] a new era in the world, an imagined multi-polar era without wars, in which everyone would speak the language of economic interests, capital and numbers. [But] Putin, Bashar Al-Assad, Hizbullah, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, Jabhat Al-Nusra, the Muslim Brotherhood, and others have shattered this illusion. At this stage, Jeb Bush looks like the only [candidate] who can return the U.S. administration to the real world instead of the world of theories and sweet dreams."


[1] Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (London), April 26, 2014.

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